There are numerous opportunities and specialization options when it comes to post-production work. However, many think that to succeed as a retoucher, you need to have outstanding skills in every aspect of post-production: CGI, 3D modeling, heavy photo compositions, and so on.
Although it doesn’t hurt to have some basic knowledge in every discipline, having in-depth knowledge and advanced skills in one particular area can make all the difference. If you try to be everything to everyone, you may end up being of little value to anyone.
During my two years of studying Further Qualification in Photography at Helsinki College of Technology, I noticed that having total control and knowledge of lighting did not help me create the photographs that I saw from other photographers.
I started to understand that in order to execute my vision and take my work to the next level, I also needed to know more about post-production. It was an obvious choice for me to start learning more about retouching beauty, fashion, and products because I had a huge passion for those subjects already. And the decision was one of the best I’ve made.
Finding your niche and pursuing your passion in a specific field of retouching or photography is essential. Many retouchers and photographers whom I admire have a clear and personal vision enhanced by a deep knowledge of their craft. Often those are the artists at the top of their craft, and the reason for that is simple: They believe in their work, have the necessary skill to execute their plans, and have chosen to specialize in just a few areas of their industry.
Top artists work hard to achieve their goals, so if you aim to be as good as or maybe even better than your idols, you need to practice — a lot!
Honing your craft takes time. Learning new things is not going to be fast or easy. That’s why you need to embrace knowledge by educating yourself constantly. Study and practice daily to become even better at what you do. It takes days, weeks, months — even years to become an expert at specific types of retouching, but I strongly believe that along the way, there will be people and clients who will notice and appreciate your skills.
You need to have passion for your work. Enjoying what you do is important, because that will help you to become even better. You already know that there isn’t a “one-click-fixes-all” button in Photoshop, so having patience, solid technical skills, and knowledge is vital.
But even if you know every detail of retouching and photography, it’s not much use professionally if you don’t attract clients, which is why you must also learn as much as possible about running a creative business!