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4.3 The Importance of Post-Production

In the industry of selling services and products through images, proper post-production is critical. Retouching for commercial work has a different set of requirements from other kinds of assignments. In this lesson we’ll define what exactly is required in a commercial image file, and how post-production can be an important part of making your style.

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4.3 The Importance of Post-Production

In the last lesson, we talked about finding your look and style as a commercial photographer. In this lesson, we're going to touch on the importance of retouching. This lesson is not going to be a course in retouching, but rather we're going to talk about the importance of retouching. Retouching in a commercial world is very, very important. In the noncommercial world, you can get away with not doing much of any retouching. When you're doing families or babies, there's not a lot of call to have that over-the-top produced style. If you're shooting for a magazine, if you're shooting celebrities, if you're shooting for a billboard, all of these things need to have an excellent level of retouching. Now retouching can fall into several different camps from very, very minimal. Some great examples of this are Joe McNally or Peter Hurley, or your retouching can be over the top in a fantastic style. Some great examples of this can be Joel Grimes or Erik Almas. Now whether you fall into the camp of super minimal retouching or that over the type fantasy retouching, either way retouching is incredibly important. Make sure you discuss with your clients so they know what kind of retouching is going to be involved. Always discuss before the project ever starts, how and when you're going to deliver the files and in what file format you're going to deliver the files. If you're working with a small business and chances are, you're going to have to do everything for them. You're going to have to create the final, finished JPEGs or tiffs, or however you decide to do it, that are ready to go to the print presses or online publications. You have to know how to do the color correction, and sharpening, and skin, getting that perfect skin color. If you don't have these skills, then there's several different options. One, you can always outsource this. There are companies that will do your retouching for you. Other thing you can do, is you can learn how to do it. There are tutorials here on Tuts Plus as well as many in person workshops and on the web workshops you can look at. Get your retouching skills up to snuff. But if you don't feel comfortable doing your own retouching, then remember retouching is very important. If you're working with a big business and they have their own inhouse team, if your skill aren't up to it, then it's actually better to just give over the raws. With a noncommercial client I would never ever give over a raw photo. But in the commercial world, if you don't know how to get ready for print press, then it is best to have their development and retouching team do that for you. Now if you do fall into the fantasy style camp like Joel Grimes or Erik Almas then remember the retouching is part of what they paid you for. And clearly at that point you know how to do retouching and you know how to get it ready for press and online publication. Either way, no matter what camp you fall into, whether you know everything about Photoshop or know nothing about Photoshop. Or you know everything about color calibration and Prints Press or whether you know nothing about it. Just make sure that someone, whether it's an outsourced company, you, yourself or whether they have an internal team that can do that re-touching and print prep for you. Just make sure someone is on top of it so you get the absolute best retouching that you can give your clients. In the next section, we're going to talk about how to price your work appropriately and create a budget for profitable business.

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