Category Archives: fashion photography

fashion photography

Retouching photos

A colleague of mine says that the real shooting starts when you finish the photo session. The processing of pictures is extremely important in this industry. We don’t give the photo back to the client, until we finish with its processing. The question is: when should you stop with the retouching?

Every photographer has his way of working. Personally, I don’t like excessively deep retouching, but sometimes it is necessary. When a photo has been retouched too much, the client stops seeing the picture as photography. He doesn’t perceive it as a living thing, which had been shot. For the client, this is now something artificial and unreal. Thus, you lose the trust of the customers to the product, which is being advertised. (Of course, this is my personal opinion)

Retouch exists since the dawn of photography. The photographers were like artists. They were like drawing directly on the photographic plates. They were applying details and obliterating others, in order to make the customers like their work. We do the same now too, but we use the help of Photoshop.

Retouching photos - before
Retouching photos after

Some of my colleagues like to show models with pimples, moles and shadows under the eyes. I will show you a perfect model. The first photo you will see is without any adjustments, or retouching. Everything else is the work of the retouch. Its task is to choose:

* The correct framing and composition. You choose the composition during the shooting itself, but because of a number of restrictions, you have to do this at the processing stage too.

* White balance and color temperature. Here, I avoided the correct white balance and I gave colder and pinker tones. The jewel in the picture itself is called “The ice queen”.

* With the help of software, we consolidate the dynamic range of the picture, and other adjustments of the optics. Deliberately, the lighting had been set one idea under the right exposure, in order to not make the “white” out of the dynamic range. And the shadows on the dress and the jewelry had been deepened intentionally. This is a way of increasing the sentiment for volume.

* After that follows the corrections of cosmetic defects on the face. Here, I have smoothed the wrinkles under the eyes.

* Next follows the selection and strengthening the contrast in certain places – in this case, the eyes, the hair, the lips, and of course, the beautiful jewel of our client.

Generally, this is very hard work of identical operations, which wear out the eyes. And it is often overlooked by the clients as importance and prime cost. This is the “invisible” part, which is the reason for this magic, called photography.

Colors and fashion photography

color tableA very common problem with pictures for catalogues and online stores is the discrepancy between the colors on the photo, and the colors of the pictured garment, sample, or object.

What do you lose from the lack of correct colors? The main problem is that the clients won’t know what they are buying. Most of our customers do their shopping from tablets and Smartphones. They, unlike PCs, are consummated product, and are factory calibrated. This advantage gives to the customers’ very decent and accurate colors, correct white balance, and a good range of color reproduction. Clients are becoming much more exigent and they insist on knowing what exactly are they going to buy. This especially concerns the fashion industry.

Why do discrepancies of the colors appear? The answer is very simple. Just like we use a tailoring meter to measure a meter of cloth, we have to use templates to determine the correct colors. In view of the fact that in other genres of photography there is no such need for correct color reproduction, and color management, these techniques are not well-known, and they are often being overlooked. We are using the so-called color tables. They represent templates of specifically defined colors, with which special software does recalculations and corrections of the colors. As with every other color scheme, a picture of the specific table is being done, and the so-called color profile is being generated by the camera. The majority of RAW converters offer standard color profiles, which are very far from the real colors. The generated new profile is being inserted into the RAW converter, and it indicates to replace the standard profile.

Another important standard in photography is the so-called grey card. It gives us a neutral color with 18% of grey. Why neutral and why 18% you may ask. Neutral is the color whose components are the same. For example, in 127, 127, 127. When we are shooting with such card and we show the converter that this is a grey card, then it will recalculate all colors. This is called – white balance setting. You have probably seen photos, which look green or yellow. The reason for this is the incorrect definition of the white balance.

Why 18% of grey? It had been found that this color is exactly half of the dynamic range, or if it is correctly illuminated, it will give us a color 127, 127, 127. In this way, we can determine whether we have the right exposure or not.

The picture on the left is with a corrected, defined with a color table and a color profile, and corrected with a grey card, white balance. On the right, you can see a standard Adobe profile and auto white balance.


All this applies to the correctly defined exposure. Another very important tool for correct color management is the flash meter, although it doesn’t have a direct relation to the colors. All standards – grey card and color card, must be shot at the correct exposure. The wrong assessment of the exposure will lead to

distortion of the perception of colors. For example, dark green could be perceived as light green, which will definitely confuse the customer’s choice. Especially critical are the differences in the borders of the dynamic range of the media (the lightest and darkest shades of the colors).

How do we select the models for your photo session

models for your photo sessionThe right choice of a model is extremely important for one successful advertising photo session, or photos for an online store, or catalogue. What qualities should a woman or a man possess, in order to become a model?

Many people think that being a model is an easy job. At some point, they may be right – you stand in front of the camera and someone takes pictures of you. Everybody sees the final result, but they don’t consider some details from the kitchen of the photo session. Oftentimes, a session can last from 5-8 hours. And just like any other business, this one also has to be economically effective. Our fellow photographers, who hire the studio, find it cheaper to hire it for the entire day, rather than hiring it 2 days for 4 hours. The same applies to the make-up artists and hairdressers. That is why; I think that the most important qualities a model should possess are: discipline, responsibility, professional relation to the job, and teamwork skills, because this is a job, which depends on many people.

How important is to be photogenic if you are a model? I have been wondering for a long time what exactly this is, and why some people just always look good on pictures. I finally realized that the answer is actually very simple – a combination of symmetry and certain proportions of the face. Also, a lack of areas on the face, which create shadows (this doesn’t look good on pictures). If you look harder at photos of successful models, you will notice these signs. And if you see them live, you will find that they look quite different. I think that being photogenic is very important if you are a model. This means that no matter what lightning you use, they will look good. Should the model have a beautiful smile? Now I will depose a myth, and say – no! When they smile, they create shadows on their face, and this doesn’t look good on photos, especially if they’re having a photo session.

Does the height matter? No, it doesn’t. The most successful models were actually not tall. On the runway, it may matter, but when it comes to fashion photography, it doesn’t. We are not an agency for photo models, but we keep in contact with many, and we can help you choose the perfect one for your photo session.

Last but not least is the dilemma – should I use a photo model or a plastic mannequin? Personally, I don’t recommend anyone using plastic mannequins. My experience shows that you don’t save any money by choosing this way, because you anyways have to engage a person to dress and undress it, which takes much more time, than if you hire a model. The customers don’t trust such photos, because they don’t see the clothing on a real person, which makes them less inclined to make a purchase.