high fashion editorial | retouch & color grading
This image has been kindly provided by beauty and fashion photographer Ava Pivot.

final image

general idea / briefing

The main focus for the post production of this wonderful fashion editorial was, to bring all images of the series into one family. The models have been shot in various outdoor locations over the course of the day and the lighting situation and color temperature have changed naturally.

Therefore is has been essential to first create a master color grade, that Ava and me committed to prior to the retouching process of the whole series.

first step - raw conversion in Capture One Pro

As stated above, the main focus in CaptureOne was to create a master grade that brings together all eighteen images of the series to be one family. The mood chosen is a warm, contrasty color grade bringing out the details of the skin of the models and highlighting the fashion by Louis Vuitton (designed by Virgil Abloh) and Balmain.

second step - markup & notes

As you can see in the mark up and visual notes, these areas need to be retouched and adjusted. I wanted to remove the color cast in the fabrics, having them fairly neutral to pop out the scene. The face needs some partial blemish removal, dodging & burning and in general more punch enhancing the skin texture. 

In addition, the creases in the fabric needed to be smoothed and taken down. The finish of the retouch will be an additional complimenting color grade to enhance the mood even more and balance the images in the whole series.

third step - clean up and dodging & burning

The skin will be retouched in a very natural way, only taking out the texture, that is not smooth and roots in temporary imperfections. The creases have been removed by a non-destructive technique, making sure that parts that the client might want to recover will always be available. The skin has been cleaned and enhanced.

fourth step - color correction and color grading

In order to balance luminosity, colors and the color grade in the image and introduce a harmonic color scheme, I removed the color cast in the fabrics, having them fairly neutral to pop out the scene and give the viewers eye a neutral color point to rest the eyes - the collar shirt and cap of Louis Vuitton. 

The look of the image is finished by introducing a subtle additional complimenting color grade. This way the mood is enhanced even more and the additional grade gives me another tool to balance the color grade consistency of the whole series by applying it gradually.

fifth step - introducing a flexible and subtle grain finish

In order to make sure the final image has a natural and convincing look and feel, I love to introduce a very subtle and flexible grain layer, that adjusts automatically to any format change or crop desired. I use my grain patterns on individual adjustment layers, that I have extracted from original analogue film.

The final image can now be delivered to the photographer and magazine for further use.