Cover shoot for Magpie Darling Magazine; Photographer: Sarah Fountain; Retoucher: Pearl Studios
Pearl Studios is an England-based retouching studio. Robyn, the founder of Pearl Studios, has a clean and natural style which is eminent throughout her portfolio. With publications in magazines like Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, Prestige HK and many more, the young talent takes the retouching world by storm. Read about Robyn’s journey in the interview below:
HOW I STARTED
As a child I loved to paint but would always tear my work up and start from scratch. My parents, both graphic designers, introduced me to Photoshop and this helped me express my artistic side without having to throw away any of my work.
My parents taught me the basics of retouching and Photoshop and I started practicing on family photos. When I was 16 I started modelling and this led to forming friendships with various photographers I would work with on set. I began offering my retouching services to them so I could practice on professional images and start building a portfolio. Modelling was also a great way to build relationships within the industry which helped me massively when switching to retouching full time.
So far my favorite publication is the editorial I retouched for the cover of Prestige Magazine HK, photographed by the amazing photographer Mike Ruiz.
ME AND MY CLIENTS
When I first started retouching, I had the small client base I had build through modelling. To expand on that, I used Model Mayhem to respond to casting calls and advertize my portfolio. Soon after that I made a website and began contacting some of my favorite photographers.
I am lucky enough to have numerous long term clients whom I have been working with from the beginning. I believe the reason I have been able to maintain long term relationships is because I work very hard to have a fast response and turn around time. This has been very important to me from day one – I strive to make sure I never let anyone down and always meet the set deadlines.
One of the artists who inspire me the most is the high-end retoucher and photographer Michael Woloszynowicz – his work and YouTube tutorials are incredible!
I am also very inspired by the talented photographer Fiona Quinn. I have been lucky enough to retouch for her for several years now, her images are such a pleasure to work on. I admire the skill involved in her photography.
ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS
Drawing upon my own experience in the retouching industry, I am going to share a few pieces of advice for all the beginners out there.
First of all – be tenacious. Building your client base can be a slow process, but you need to persevere and it will happen eventually. Always be professional and polite to your clients.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a quick turn-around time. It’s a HUGE factor when trying to maintain clients, so I have learnt to work fast whilst still maintaining the quality that the client deserves. If you do not meet a deadline it is most likely that you will not hear back from that client again so you MUST be reliable at all times.
Most of all, the best advice that I could give, is do not be afraid to ask…
When I first started I reached out to my favorite photographers, just asking them kindly for images to help me build my portfolio. Many people are usually too afraid to do this, however the responses in my experience are very positive more often than not. Photographers want to work with retouchers who are passionate and determined, so sending out a message expressing that passion and determination will only bring you positivity.