|photo by Kristyna Archer|
I am so lucky to know some of the most creative people ever on this planet!! One of those creative people is my good friend Brian York. We met last year at a APA/ASMP Bar night and have been like peas and carrots ever since. I talk to Brian a lot about personal, fun, living it up in the big city types of things, but I recently had the opportunity to speak with him about his business. Brian is a creative retoucher and he rocks! I wanted to share the interview with you.
If you are interested in retouching as a career or working with a creative retoucher then I think you will enjoy this interview.
Feel free to share your comments and thoughts!
Hey Brian!! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me!
No problem! Happy to do it
I know you started out in photography and that is what your degree is in, how did you get into retouching?
I had always done some more extensive retouching work on my own imagery as well as for a few other photographers I knew personally. During my first year in Chicago I realized there were three things I enjoyed; photography, painting and working for myself. Then I had an epiphany; I could do retouching full time and enjoy all of these things at the same time. Turned out to be the right decision, it is so much fun to work with great photographers, art directors and creative directors to create work that just WOWs everyone.
What is the future of retouching?
That’s a difficult question for most anything these days. I feel the future of retouching and still post production will continue along the course it has been taking, going even further down the road of pushing the boundaries of compositing and integrating high end CGI work with photography. Retouching has allowed photography to push boundaries never possible before and allows CGI to blend in with photography. I see the years to come as retouching being more and more of a crucial aspect of photography and selection of the retoucher used being just as crucial as picking a photographer for a given campaign.
What is your process when working with clients?
What do you think about the common used phrase heard on set “Oh we’ll just have the retoucher clean it up?”
I see zeros being put on the right side of the total cost! Haha, but seriously that statement needs to be considered in poor taste if it is easily fixed. If the landscape is perfect aside from a power line running through the middle … it can be taken out in post. A candy bar wrapper on the grass … go pick it up, or a string on some clothing, cut it off. If it is hair; stop and fix it regardless. Hair is much like a nest of hornets in regards to retouching, when you start messing with it you have to be prepared to go the whole mile! I think the general rule of thumb should be, if it will take less than 15 minutes to fix then do it on the shoot.
Where do you see the future of photography going?
I don’t see CGI taking over the photography industry as every photographer fears, but I do see a mix of photography, CGI and retouching all used equally for many years to come. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but combined there is no limit to what can be created.
Photographers would be better served to start thinking of themselves as image directors as opposed to the traditional photographer. Similar to video directors, create regardless of the means of getting there.
How much of your business comes directly from photographers? Do you work with photographers on portfolio pieces and personal work or is most of your work coming from agencies?
It is about equal between photographers and agencies but I get a lot of referrals from the photographers I work with, so in the end most may indirectly come from those relationships with photographers, but not all.
I absolutely work with photographers on portfolio pieces, it’s necessary for the photographer and for myself. I especially like working with photographers on portfolio work, we can form a working and visual relationship.
What seems to work well about photographer / retoucher formed relationships, besides two creative minds coming together is that when the advertising work comes in we already have a repertoire for working together and understand how each other works. This helps things come together so we are both happy, the work gets done faster and better in the end as a bonus.
I use retouchers most of the time for my work, but what do you think about photographers that do their own retouching. What is the skillset that you have that makes folks want to come to you instead of doing it themselves?
Photographers should really spend more of their time shooting and running their business than sitting in front of a computer spending countless hours doing photoshop work, right? Aside from all the technical knowhow, speed and compositing skills, it really boils down to the creative collaboration that adds the value. I tend to be a pretty strong force in that way, usually before the camera is even taken out of the case. I have found that some photographers don’t handle another creative well and others thrive on it. I prefer the latter exclusively, the rewards always seem better.
I also feel that for a photographer seeking higher end advertising work needs to work with a retoucher consistently for portfolio, small and big jobs alike. The ongoing relationship will create a consistently higher quality and completeness to your work that will make a better impact and land better jobs.
May I also add … and this is a big one because it happens almost every time, I’m the one there to get the images finished when you have back to back shoots!
Awesome!! Thanks so much for taking the time Brian!
I am so blessed to be able to wake up every morning and do what I love, inspire and create, especially for clients. I came across this blog post from one of my favorite blogs Guerilla Freelancing. There are some great tips here about how to INSTANTLY make your clients happy! INSTANTLY!! Now i didnt post this because I think that you are handling your clients horribly or anything like that so dont get offended. I have just found that its always great to read articles like that to keep yourself on track.. This artticle even inspited a few ideas that I can use in my business. So I posted a link to the article for you to check out youself! I would love to hear how you make your clients happy! So feel free to share below in the comments or with me on Facebook or Twitter.
7 Ways to Instantly Make Your Clients Happy