Working With Colors: Examining The Testino Look

examing the look of testino photographs

In advertising photography, one of the greatest tools in a retoucher’s repertoire is a developed and professional understanding and use of color. With it you can guide the eye and create a stunning and impactful piece of art that compels the viewer to take notice not just of the ad, but of the product.

One of the best ways the beginner (and indeed the more advanced) retoucher can develop their eye for an exquisite use of color is to study the masters. By technically breaking down a great piece of work, we can understand what those masters did and learn over time not just to emulate, but to bring our own sense of mastery to our work.

© Campari, Mario Testino

This a classic complementary colour scheme, where opposites on the colour wheel provide a pleasing psychological contrast. Note that location, makeup and props have all been selected accordingly.

One of those masters is photographer Mario Testino. In this article from retouchingtutorials.net, I break down the choices made for this particular shoot, (Jessica Alba for Campari), explore the fundamental technical reasons that it’s such a successful ad, and even spoke briefly to one of the agency retouchers involved with the post-production.

With each of the shot elements chosen and arranged to adhere to a strict complementary scheme, it seems likely that those elements were masked and ‘tied together’ in post-production; the skin tones are uniform, the reds are all on-brand, and the harmony of the sea/sky all suggest gradient mapping or similar.

© Campari, Mario Testino

There is so much to be gained from studying the stand-out professionals in the industry, and I always highly recommend that one of any retoucher’s first investments is in a subscription to a major fashion magazine, particularly one with a lot of high quality, high end full-page ads. After all, if you’re aiming to be amongst the best, you need to be studying the people who are already there.

Read the full article at retouchingtutorials.net

 

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