Do you think what you see is what you get when you see a photo in a catalog, magazine or ad? Not always.
Expert retoucher Sharon Daniels shares some profrssional retouching tips on what happens behind the scenes on a commercial campaign that uses mostly “real people” instead of fashion models. — S.H.
My partner and I recently retouched the images below for the Lindsay Phillips fall campaign for SwitchFlops. Before we began retouching the images Lindsay’s creative director expressed that conceptually they were interested in keeping the images realistic and appearing spontaneous. The models in the shots included Lindsay Phillips herself, some of her friends, and one professional model.
My retouching work for most clients typically involves perfecting faces and sculpting bodies. The Lindsay Phillips campaign was pleasingly different and exciting.
Most of the images involved “everyday people”, not professional models, and also children. I was able to step away from the “standard” advertising retouching practices and kept the retouching to a minimum. My goal for this campaign was to maintain everyone’s natural beauty. When it came to retouching the images of the children, it was important not to take away from their delicate features. It was actually fun to let them keep the gaps in their teeth! I did not need to make them look like contestants from Toddlers & Tiaras.
This was really a job where subtlety was key.
The basic retouching for the campaign involved eliminating blemishes, cleaning up flyaway hairs, applying slight “tweaks” to the clothing where needed, and color correcting. It was also important to make the balloon in the kid’s photo match Lindsay Phillips brand color. I chatted with Lindsay about her fall advertising campaign and she communicated her unique perspective on the influence of advertising on young women.
Question: You obviously love what you do. What initially drew you to the fashion industry?
Answer: I have always had a love for fashion and design. Growing up I always believed that getting dressed was a form of art and would always seem to come up with creative and fun ways of expressing myself. It was a hobby at first but my first real step into the fashion world was during my senior year of high school when I interned for Ralph Lauren‘s leather-good division in NYC!
Question: What is the concept behind SwitchFlops?
Answer: Switchflops are the first interchangeable flip flops that allow you to change out your straps to match any outfit or mood you might be in! My favorite items are the new grey and blue ballet flats that are interchangeable.
Question: I think it is refreshing that you yourself are featured in your ads. How did that come about?
Answer: It was kind of an organic process. The first go around I was not the main focus but it really just feels right for our brand. After all it is all about the Lindsay Phillips lifestyle. I am a very approachable person and I want my consumers to know this. Also, people always tend to like my story and this really takes it to the next level.
Question: Why did you decide to use your friends for this campaign instead of booking the standard industry models?
Answer: I think it is fun including my friends in the shoots. It brings a fresh look to the industry and it is easy to work with people you have grown up with. I feel as though true colors come out when you are working with people you feel comfortable around. Plus, they are also pretty cute!
Question: Do you feel it is important for young women to see realistic images in the media as opposed to extremely retouched images?
Answer: Yes, I think it is important to see realistic images. As girls we all have our flaws and things we don’t like about our bodies…However, when we look at the magazines some girls think that they can really look like the airbrushed models. It is an unrealistic reality.
Question: Do you have any fall fashion tips for the readers of Focus on Style?
Answer: The hot colors for Fall are: grey, blue, purple, green and goldLeather jackets are a must have and a big new trend is faux fur.Chunky knits are in as well.My number 1 fashion tip is if a trend does not look good on your body type don’t do it just because it is in style. Wear items that work on your body. This fall I will be avoiding the trend of menswear bottoms. These will not work on my 5ft tall frame! — Sharon Daniels, The Skin Perfecter
Photo credit: Alan Cresto