For those who don't regularly subscribe to Professional Photographer magazine, its worth picking up this month as yours truly has a 3 page feature in it. Woohoo!
It's funny sometimes how things work out, as this article happened quiet by accident. I recently got in contact with a professional retoucher in Manchester - Katie Nattrass and we exchanged a few tweets on Twitter. I wanted to send a polished image to one of my larger clients as I know they'd like to see some images taken to the next level, but weren't sure what they could expect. I was keen to see what Katie could do with a selection of images I'd shot in Finland.
Final Retouched file
How did the shot come about?
At the time I was on a commercial tyre shoot for International tyre company GT Radial in Finland featured in this previous post.
I'd imagined a dramatic close up, with an almost panoramic scene involving the sweep of the ice and snow track to show the viewer the difficult and treacherous route ahead. I wanted to provide impact and to leave room for the usual advertising text to be dropped in. This would have been fine, but the angles involved to keep the tyre from barrelling with the fish eye and for it still to have a wide panoramic feel just didn't match up. As I recall I was belly down in the snow with and the track was pretty busy, so I didn't have much time to get it absolutely perfect. There's always competition on any shoot between the amount of time available and the shoot list.
I've learnt that you hardly ever get 'perfect' conditions on location, so you have to work with what you've got. And at the time, I had a nothing but ambient light and my camera. The sun was in the wrong position and was flaring badly, the tyre is black, the snow is white and the ice is highly reflective. Getting the right exposure was critical I might not have another chance to get this image again. I shot what I thought I needed and tried my best to squeeze off the shot as close as I could get it in-camera. In post-production and retouching, Katie was able to pull the other elements in and widen the shot out. She was also able to clean and buff the tyre, cranking in much more detail than I though was in the original file. Amazing.
Here's the raw elements she had to work with.
After working it up Katie suggested that it would make a good example for an article she was writing for Professional Photographer and would I agree to its use. Hell yer!
Once again thanks to Katie for her work on this one, she was able to deliver my vision. I look forward to working more closely with Katie in future.
For those that missed the feature, here is a low res version, but swing by your newsagents or subscribe online to Professional Photographer. It's a quality read.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about the retouching process, but until next time I hope you enjoy the blog post.