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Video Tutorial: Photo Retouching And Color Grading

By Peter North



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If you don’t know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish within a photograph, you could spend many hours in Photoshop trying filters, masks, adjustment layers, and other tools, and you could still end up with no improvements. In fact, you might even end up with a lesser image than you started with. Photo retouching is a very subtle craft that requires not only Photoshop expertise, but also a more general attention to detail and an eye for color and contrast.

In part 1 of “Photo Retouching and Color Grading,” Mike Pecci of McFarland & Pecci shows several techniques (as well as his thought process) during the retouching on one of these photographs. He uses the healing tool and the blending of layers to add some subtle improvements to his carefully composed image. Rather than polishing away all of the human imperfections of the model, Mike uses methods that preserve the authenticity of the image while making careful augmentations to color, contrast, and tone.

For photography gear, Mike uses Nikon products, Sekonic light meters, and Zacuto rigs. Follow Mike and ask any questions on twitter:

Do you use similar masks and techniques for your imagery? Do you sharpen your images and emphasize color contrasts using similar techniques to Mike’s? Or, do you use different techniques altogether?

Part 2 of “Photo Retouching and Color Grading” is available here.

Peter is Chief Digital Officer of CuriosityStream, a multi-platform nonfiction streaming service by the founder of Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Animal Planet, etc.). Peter is also Co-Founder of True North, a management consulting firm and digital marketing agency with clientele that includes WebMD and Salesforce.

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