5 Tips to Immediately Improve Your Retouching

Retouching is a labor of love. It takes time, focus, and the right mindset to turn good images into great ones. All of that time in front of the computer can drive anyone crazy, so we asked world-renowned retoucher Pratik Naik for his tips for staying loose and producing consistently beautiful final images.

(To hear more tips from Pratik, tune into his course, The Art & Business of High-End Retouching, on CreativeLive).

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Photo captured by Joey L and retouched by Pratik Naik

1. Take Breaks

For every hour that you work, take a five minute break. Use this time to get a glass of water, stare into the distance, or simply get some rest. It will recalibrate your system. Ultimately, you will be able to see anything you’ve been doing wrong without going too far. How many times do you come back to an image the next day only to dislike it? This will help prevent that from happening. It’s amazing how your eyes tend to get accustomed to what you’re looking at, no matter how bad it starts looking.

2. Make a Game Plan

Before diving right in at 100 percent, make a game plan of what you want to retouch. Stick to those boundaries and it will stop you from getting side tracked when you retouch endlessly for hours on end. You’ll be able to focus on the most important areas without overdoing the image. It will allow you to set a good workflow for what you want to truly accomplish. Getting sidetracked is an expensive habit that will charge you in time.

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Photo captured by Joey L and retouched by Pratik Naik

3. Keep Zooming Back Out

Continuing on the same thought, be sure to keep zooming back out. How many times have you worked on an area, only to realize you didn’t make that big of a difference when you see the before and after while zoomed out? Keep zooming out to get a sense of perspective. You’ll prevent yourself from spending unnecessary time going through the image. This will allow you to see what areas still need work without spending time on areas that don’t really matter. It will stop you from overdoing particular areas.

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Photo captured by Lara Jade and retouched by Pratik Naik

4. Use a Graphic Tablet

If you’re still using a mouse to retouch, I would highly recommend giving a Wacom tablet a try. It may be hard at first, but you will never go back once you get used to it. Your lines will be smoother and more accurate. Your results will show for it and you’ll spend less time! Think of it like learning how to ride a bike, except for your fingers.

factice-portrait

Photo captured by Lara Jade and retouched by Pratik Naik

5. Watch Your Posture

This is a point that may not seem important, but it is one that may be the most important. I’ve visited many studios and places where photographers work. The chairs they use are setting themselves up for some serious issues. Get a good chair, and set your tablet and keyboard in places that promote good posture. Retouching comfortably will allow you to retouch longer without making it feel like a chore. Have a chair with good back support and you’ll look forward to retouching no matter how long your next session is!

(To hear more tips from Pratik, tune into his course, The Art & Business of High-End Retouching, on CreativeLive).

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One Comment

  1. Lois Bryan says:

    Amen on the watch your posture … I froze a shoulder a few years back. Excellent list of reminders … thank you!!

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