For eCommerce, advertising campaigns, or editorial features, retouching is an essential part of every creative production process. Both photography and retouching go hand-in-hand to create the most beautiful and compelling imagery to a reflect a product, a brand, and a creative vision. We’ve met with Katie Ryan, Account Director at retouching and CG super-boutique, Impact Digital*, to learn more about their workflow—and how they integrate globaledit into the retouching process.
At Impact Digital, we’re constantly against the clock producing hundreds upon thousands of images for clients. And when you’re retouching for top international brands and photographers, you have to ensure every photo is of the highest caliber. This is why we have a refined, tried and tested process to produce excellent images.
1. Creative kick-off
Before we even touch the photos, it’s important that we sit down with the client and explore his or her vision of the shoot. What ‘story’ do they want to tell? Do they have any reference pictures? We ask these questions to get the images right from the start—saving the client time and reducing the amount of retouching rounds down the line.
2. Processing and organizing
Organizing hundreds of reference images, RAWs, JPEGs, and metadata can be very tricky at times. We use globaledit to centralize all our assets right at intake. This simple step can be a life-saver when a client wants to shift conceptual directions or when we’re creating composite shots. Rather than digging through folders or hard drives for the right images, our retouchers can pull them from the cloud into Photoshop straight away.
3. Initial retouching
Prior to presenting to the client, we actually prefer to have several internal rounds of retouching in-house. During the rounds, the account manager, production manager, and the retouchers get together to assess if the image correctly matches the client’s vision. In the visual world of retouching, it’s all about first impression!
4. Client presentation
This is where we present first round of retouched images to the client and receive constructive feedback. Whenever possible, we also like to have in-person meetings to facilitate healthy discussion about the photos. Sometimes a client might say “make this element pop more,” but this might actually mean “up the saturation” in Photoshop lingo. Having our account and production managers present really helps when translating the feedback to our retouchers.
5. External rounds
After our initial meeting, we then enter a cycle of external retouching rounds. We retouch the image again, send them through a lightbox, a virtual folder that we create and share via globaledit, and then eventually receive new feedback from the client directly in globaledit. Clients can review, leave notes and comments, and mark images with the Markup Editor. This phase can take some time depending on the number of images we are retouching or possible changes in the client’s vision, but using the right digital collaborative tools make it so much faster! It considerably reduces the number of emails you have to track in your inbox and eliminates miscommunication.
6. Q&A and proofing
Once the final image is approved, our whole team thoroughly inspects for errors and hard lines for maximum visual integrity. For photos that need to be printed, our prepress department processes the images and creates proofs for the client. This ensures that colors remain accurate across web and print ads. We share the finalized files with the client via a secure lightbox, to prevent any leaks from happening. If they themselves have a globaledit account, they can decide where to store it in their library, and how to share the final files with their team (asset and user permissions, watermark, etc.).
At this point, our images have finally reached the end of their little journey, and the client is happy. We begin to see our work in magazines, posters, or on the web—a moment that’s always amazing.
*Impact Digital and globaledit are sister divisions and part of Industrial Color Brands, a family of integrated creative production companies.