Adorama TV Hosts Take Mark’s Retouching Challenge: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace


I'm Gavin Hoey and today I'm going

to be making one of Mark's photos much,

much better...

I don't actually do a lot of

retouching in my own work,

but I'm gonna give this a go,

and see if we can have

some fun with it.

To me... this is done.

All right so here's the thing...

when I ended up sitting down and

editing I got all types of distracted.

In this episode... I'll be joined by some very

special guests to talk about their

approach to retouching photos.

Hi everybody,

welcome to another episode

of Exploring Photography right here on Adorama TV.

I'm Mark Wallace, and you can

tell that I am in a hotel room, that's

because I'm in quarantine in Buenos

Aires Argentina.

The whole city's on lockdown,

and so I've set up sort of a

makeshift studio here, because I am

determined to create no matter what..

and so in this episode I want to talk to you

about photo retouching, and specifically

the approach that I take to figuring out

which photos I want to retouch, and then

how I begin and figure out how I'm gonna

make those come out in the end, and

because this is something that is done

differently by different people, I've

asked other Adorama TV hosts, and a

special guest to join me to explain

their approach to photo retouching.

It's gonna be sort of fun, so stick around

for that, well I think we can talk about this

in terms of well this apple, I think this

apple can teach us some things about

retouching photos, now if I got this

apple off a tree or in the supermarket I

could eat it just like it is and it's

gonna be delicious, but I could also

slice this up put some peanut butter on

those slices and that's gonna be pretty

yummy too, I could make this into an

apple pie, or maybe you make some apple

cider or apple juice, all of them are

good, there is no right or wrong there

are just different ways to eat and enjoy

this apple, now photography is the same

way, we can work in the studio or on

location to make sure that we get the

images just right in camera,

so that when we pick them, they're ready

to eat just like this apple right off the tree,

or we can think ahead and think you know what,

I don't want to just have an apple that

I eat, I want to make this into an apple

pie, I want to take an a photo in the

studio that I know that I'm going to do

some retouching too, and then I'm going

to expose and do some different things

because of the technique I'm going t

apply later, and both things are

fun, and both things are right,

there's no right or wrong way to do this.

Now this conversation came up because

of the last episode that I published,

and that was one lighting setup that had many

different looks, and in that video I went

straight from the stuff that was in

camera that I was showing and

went straight to the published photos

which were radically different, them

people said hey what the heck happened

here you showed us pictures that were

sort of underexposed to now all the

sudden they're beautiful, how did you get

from one to the other, well it has to do

with the approach I took to retouching

those images, so I want to show you sort

of my philosophy and then we're going to

jump over and have some other Adorama TV hosts

show us their philosophies, so let me

first show you the images from that

photo shoot.

So I've selected a six of

these photos because they basically fall

into two different categories, and so

what I did was I had a lighting setup

where I intentionally underexposed

things, because I knew what I was going

to be doing in post-production would

make these beautiful, so here is one, two,

three images that were all underexposed,

and then I have this image here... very,

very high contrast, so I'm thinking ahead

in the studio, this is something I

probably want to convert to black and

white, and then I had some more high-key

images that I shot that I knew that

would be more traditionally retouched

images, so let me just walk you through

one of these images, so I'm going to show

you how I got from this image, to this

image, to this image, they're all the same

image, so we'll begin with this middle

image here, this is the virtual copy,

these are the adjustments that I made in

lightroom, and you can see I didn't do a

lot to this, all I did was I changed the

white balance, I changed the exposure

just a bit, and then I changed the

highlights, shadows, whites and blacks to

make sure that those were tonality was

really really nice, then I also went down

here, and I desaturated the orange just a

little bit, I could have stopped right


This looks pretty good, but I wanted to

do some more things to that, so I took

this photo and I opened it in Photoshop

so we'll just zip over there.

Here's the image in Photoshop, what I did here is I

took this layer and I went to Filter Nik

Collection Analog Effects Pro, and just

hopped right in there now in Analog

Effects Pro, we can take a look here, I

only did some very basic things,

I did some basic adjustments,

so I could get a little more contrast,

and brightness out of this, the really

significant thing,

though was adding this bokeh, so some

artificial bokeh when I created this

where I could move this around, so I

could repeat process on the other images,

and you can see that makes the her body her

shoulders sort of fade out and gets sort

of soft, and then I also added a film

type, now this film type changes the

tonality, so it went from sort of a

normal traditional look here, to more of

this greenish blue, and that I really

like that, so this is the image right

here after that is applied, and then I

went in here, and I did some corrections

to her skin, so you can see I turned this

layer off and on, there's some very, very

minor correction, she's got great skin so

I didn't have to do much, the only other

thing I did was she has this finger here

that when I cropped the image in

Lightroom I noticed it was just too

bright, it was distracting and so I made

another layer and I took the tonality of

that finger down, alright so once that

was done I saved that, and then in

Lightroom I have the image that go to

the develop module I then applied the

crop in Lightroom, and you can see it's

just a beautiful crop when you get in

really, really close, and I did that

because I wanted to go fullscreen, and

really show a beautiful beautiful image.

Alright that's what I did to this image,

but what I wanted to do was challenge

some of my fellow Adorama TV hosts and a

good friend of mine Martin Higgs to do

this for themselves, and so what I did

was I selected eight images, so here are

the eight images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6, 7, 8

and I told them, I put this out on a folder

on a Dropbox folder,

and I told everybody, I said hey here are

the rules, you can do anything you want

to these images, there are no

restrictions, you can crop, you can use

any editing software you want, you can

convert to black and white, you can over

saturate, you can do compositing,

I don't care, do whatever you want, but you have

to do two things for us...

Number 1..

explain why you chose the photo that you

chose, and then show us at a very,

very high level, what you did to that photo,

and the results are pretty spectacular,

and so we're going to begin with a

photographer who I absolutely love, his

post post-processing, his name is Martin

Higgs, he does this really high fashion,

mostly hair photography, and just some

amazing stuff, so his Instagram feed is

in the description of this video, you

really want to check that out, and so

Martin, without further ado...

Show us what you did?

Hi Mark, it's Martin from the

UK here, I've accepted your challenge and

picked image 7, reason I picked this

was I really like the composition, and

the lighting, and I think I'm gonna make

there's a nice black and white image, so

let's go through and get rid of any

blemishes in the background, getting rid

of some cotton, as I can see hanging from

the top, then I'll do with a bit of skin

blemish removal, just a quick one, nothing

in Photoshop today, this is Lightroom,

and I go off into my beauty editing software,

this is, just makes life really quick for me,

so it's portrait Pro Studio 19, I'm just

going through, and I'm brightening up the

eyes, adding a little bit makeup,

softening the skin just a little,

there we go, then I'm going into Silver

Effects Pro 2, pick my black and white,

course there's millions of different

combinations here, I just go with what i

feel at the time.

There we go, adding a vignette in a second,

here we go,

and then just checking that the whites

have got plenty of detail in them, still

there's still lots of texture in the top.

Applying some tone differences, and

there's the final image, which took eight minutes.

Hey Vanessa Joy here with Adorama,

well you know that because this

is Mark's video, so let's get editing.

Now normally i would have chosen to edit in

Capture One, I actually prefer editing in

Capture One, but because these photos are

of someone's face and I didn't really

feel like going into Photoshop because

Lightroom is just faster, and I can

retouch in Lightroom,

I decided to use Lightroom for this.

The first thing I did

was just apply an import setting or a

preset that I typically use called

Joyfully Simple...

Now Joyfully Simple just

has a few settings that I know, I like a

little bit of contrast, a little bit

crunching the blacks really cleans it up,

lowers the clarity to help smooth the

skin out, but no preset is really going

to get your image to the final spot you

want it to be, so use a preset if you

want to to get you started off, and then

do some moving around.

Moving on from there I went into my local

adjustment brushes,

and here's where I just decided

to clean up some of the shine a little

bit under the eyes, some of the

imperfections, don't even want to say

imperfections because you know what this

girl's gorgeous,

Oh it's just some of the things that we

wanted to smooth out, and

you can do that right there in Lightroom.

And from there I just decided to play

around, you know when it comes to editing

photos, especially someone else's photos.

Sometimes I use presets to get a

different feel of base point and

something will pop out at me,

and like, oh yeah, that's how I want to edit that.

I don't do it much for weddings because

weddings, they need to create something

consistent you know from start to

over the course of 800, 900, 1,000 or

more images, so I'm not doing that for

weddings, but for something like this,

hey might as well have a little bit of fun.

So here are my images,

and you know the whole process

I went through to get there, and get it

done, and now I'm kind of excited to see

everyone else's.

Hey Mark, I chose this image because I

love the warmth and contrast of it, so

because of that I'm just gonna basically

amplify that...

Again, I love the way it looks,

so what I'm gonna do is #1 though,

I am gonna do a quick crop on it,

I think being a little tighter will

benefit this one, it'll work a little bit

nicer for me, in addition to that I'm

basically it's gonna grab the levels,

this is my go-to for most times where I

want to add some contrast.

I'm just gonna kind of what I'd call crunch,

the, the blacks in to make it a little darker.

I'm gonna bring the lights up,

that's in contrast and the I am going to

tweak my mids to get it

basically where I like it.

Aow it looks really nice, one thing that

you will find though when you push me,

when you crunch the blacks a lot, is that

you will end up with kind of an

oversaturated image, and because of that

I'm just gonna drop the overall

saturation a little bit, and yeah I mean

that is basically all I would do here.

I think, it's a nice clean image out of

camera, it works for me, there's kind of like

super bright highlights, but I love that,

so to me this is done.

Here's the thing - when I ended up sitting

down and editing,

I got all types of distracted, because I

started messing with my presets, and, and

then I ended up with three different

versions of what I thought I could edit

here, so I've got three different looks

but ultimately it's the same retouching,

just a different type of vibe.

I definitely have my favorite of all of

these, so that's my final submitted one,

but it's just interesting how easily we

can get side tracked, at least for me with

editing, and it tells me how important it

is to just have a style that you stick

to, that you become recognized by and not

to get lost in all the editing, because

really that can be absolutely endless.

So happy editing, and also I want to say

happy editing...

Hey Mark Wallace it's

David Bergman, thanks for bringing me

into this retouch challenge.

I don't actually do a lot of retouching in my

own work, but I'm gonna give this a go

and see if we can have some fun with it.

So these eight images you sent - this is

the one that really jumps out at me,

I just have facial expression, it's really

dramatic and it really draws me in so

let's go ahead and work with that, I'm

gonna bring it in to Capture One, which

is my RAW converter of choice, the main

thing I'm gonna do here is, I'm gonna

crop it dramatically, if I was shooting

this image myself I would have shot it a

lot tighter I would give myself options

so it shoot it both ways, but by doing

that it really draws you, and you're not

distracted, and then as far as other

things in the RAW conversion, really

all it needs I think is a vignette, which

the backgrounds really kind of flat, I

like vignettes in my images it draws

your eye right into the middle of the

frame where you want it to be, that's all

I'm gonna do in here.

So then I'm going to open it with portrait

professional which is an incredible

program for doing retouching for guys like

me who don't do a lot of this really

detailed work.

It gives me a good chance to just do it,

overall all you have to do is click the

nose and the chin.

The software's gonna find the face,

it does a really good job in that,

and then as soon as I get my presets up,

here you can go in and manually adjust

every single setting if you like,

but it's got some really great presets.

so I'm gonna use maximum

lighting and that's gonna clean up a lot

of things there especially on her skin,

I'm gonna turn off the face sculpt

thing, we don't need to change the shape

of her face, she looks beautiful as it is,

the only other thing I think I'm gonna

do here is bring out her eye color.

If I like brighten the Iris,

it really makes her eyes pop,

you can change the color of the eyes,

you can do all kinds of things here

if you want to, but I'm not gonna do any of

that, if we go back to what our original

looks like - here it is, there, and this

image here is our after, so quite a

dramatic difference Mark.

Thanks so much for bringing me in...

I'll see you soon buddy.

Hello I'm Gavin Hoey,

and today I'm gonna be making one of

Mark's photos much much better,

actually that's not what he asked

us to do, but nonetheless I've chosen

this picture because I love the symmetry

of it, and I think it's got some great potential.

With the current restrictions,

I can't bring people into my studio but

I can do it virtually, so my plan is

photograph my studio background.

Superimpose that onto the image Mark

sent m,e but I need to light the

background, and today I have a choice I

could use a magnum reflector, or a small

softbox but I want to do this like Mark

would, so which one of these two would be

one of Mark's favorite light modifiers...

and this magnum reflector right here - I

have a Magnum reflector here,

so this is a magnum reflector, so one of my favorite

light modifiers, this is a Profoto

Magna reflector, magnum reflector it is

then so what I've done in Photoshop is

I've put my studio background over the

top of the image Mark sent me,

use the overlay blending mode to sort of

merge them together, added a layer mask

and just masked away any texture from the

model skin, and put a bit of a background

blur, for a bit of depth of field effect too.

Then I thought maybe a little bit of

toning would work well, so I've used a

color lookup table to add a bit of green

and another one to add a bit of orange,

the whole thing just feels a little bit

out of balance after that,

so I've gone back into Camera Raw,

where I've added a bit of contrast,

knocked the colors back a

little bit, and also toned down the white

top that she's wearing,

and finally cropped it, so it's a more of

a nice horizontal rather than the

standard shot, for a bit more of a

cinematic look and feel, and with a

couple of tweaks and adjustments there it

is. Thats my final picture completed.

Alright well that was a ton of fun,

I love the different approaches different

people took to editing these photos.

Some people did that really really fast,

some people took a little bit longer,

some were black and white, some are

highly saturated, you get the idea the

thing is pick an image based on what

you're going to do to it, and then follow

that thought till the very end, and don't

be afraid to play because any image can

become really multiple different things,

and they all can be good just like our

apple, we can make a bunch of things,

they're all yummy, well I hope you

learned something, I certainly did, and

thank you so much for joining me for

this episode.

Don't forget to subscribe

to AdoramaTV,

because we're making new

videos every single day even during this

difficult time because again,

we are committed to 'create no matter what'

and to help you do the same.

I also encourage you to follow me on Instagram.

I'm always posting behind the scenes

photos and videos of what I'm up to.

You can ask me questions,

and we have a little dialogue

going on there, it's really a lot of fun.

Again thanks for joining me,

and I will see you again next time.