Neeraj Agnihotri is Delhi based Fashion Photographer & High End Reotucher. This blog is about his life behind the camera. From photography to ukulele strumming, and from high end retouching to writing, and various other topics; this blog has everything. In Short, The Life Of An Artist.

How to Make a Perfect Coffee for Retouching?

A RETOUCHER’S GUIDE TO A PERFECT COFFEE

You have put your pen tablet on right, the computer is plugged on, photoshop (Gimp ) is running. Soft music coming from the speakers around you, and you are about to remove the first blemish.

And yes, you have done it. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. A celebration is on your mind, stretching your hand to pick up the coffee mug that’s been luring you for so long. Finally taking a relieving sip, and then saying the three words of despair.

 

“What the hell is this?”

 

As a retoucher, you have to spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, that too truly is a blessing. Especially for people who are related to graphics and digital photography. The only kind of desk job I love. Once, I am done with a shoot, it actually is quite relaxing to sit and glance at the picture, or make a pattern of how the editing will be done.

 

There is a part of my job where I have always lagged behind. Yes, you have guessed it right. It’s how to make a perfect cup of coffee. Because as a caffeine addict – this needs to be done.

 

There are basically three types of Coffee in this world.

1- WTF Coffee

2- Normal Coffee

3- Dream Coffee

After so many years of experience as a WTF coffee maker, I was nearly proficient in it. I had the alchemy of turning a Dream coffee into a WTF one, only with the touch of my hand. The farthest I could go was to accidentally make Normal Coffee some days. And because of this, I was losing my obsessive grip over it.

 

Before I waste more time mentioning the topics that are not even minutely related to this post, let’s go ahead.

I was doing numerous mistakes while making Coffee. I realized that Making Coffee is a mixture of science and art.

 

How to get started-

 

A 10 minute warm up, followed by 100 pushups, 30 chin-ups, and 100 crunches. I know I have literally made this blog cheesy. God help me!

 

Water Should be Hot not Boiled

1)- First you need hot water. It should be between 91 to 96 degree Celsius, anything above 96 will burn coffee and it will start to taste like drinking coffee made up of ash. Anything, that goes below the 91 marks will give it a perfect depth and blend.

 

Boiling water will burn the Coffee

This is the one mistake that I have always made, I had to go through the internet to look for the mistake and was happy to know what I have been doing wrong. It’s all about the right amount!

And then adding coffee in the hot water, I prefer adding 1.5 gram of coffee in a small cup. But that’s just me, some people would add 10 grams, and some would like to snort it directly through the nose and then drink a small cup of milk.

The journey is completed if you like drinking coffee without milk and sugar. Continue ahead if you want to add milk.

 

Sweet Spot of Milk

Finally adding milk. Perfect amount of milk is the key – directly responsible for the perfection.

 

Funny Coffe quote by Sun Tzu

“Add less milk and the coffee would taste bitter, add too much and it will taste like milk.”

Sun Tzu – The Art of War of making a Coffee.

 

Journeys like these exclusively dependent on the taste of an individual. Some love bitter and some like mild. I like the knob in between. I don’t add sugar.  But I am sure it’s just like adding milk and then looking for the sweet spot. And, this is how, my friend, you will get a perfect retoucher’s cup of coffee.

 

But can I also make the same way if I am not a retoucher, Please?

Certainly, you can, I was just told by my Marketing and Seo manager, that happens to be my sister, to use the word ‘retouching and photography’, in your blog. So I am just following to work in a pattern. I guess you will even like my new blog. “How to enjoy your life? As a retoucher.”

Or “How to know if your child is a born retoucher?” or, one more, “Are retoucher safe to date?” Okay, this will be the last one, “How to spot a retoucher by his clothes?”

 

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E-Commerce Retouching for Brands

E-Commerce Retouching for Brands
Retouching for Webvixxen Design
California Retouching Agency, Venice retouching,

If I look back, till now- June 2018, I have edited more than thousands of pictures for e-commerce usages, and I can very confidently say that the images do not require an extreme amount of editing at all. E-commerce retouching is more about selling a product. So, when retouching, that one thing that needs the most attention. Detailing and enhancement of a product.

E-commerce Retouching  Helps in Selling

Keeping in mind, if the product has extreme retouching it will be returned by the buyer claiming that, ‘It is not even close to what I bought’.  It has also become one of the most common reasons for a refund. Also mentioned in nearly all the e-commerce websites that I have used till now. Apart from that, I have a good experience even dealing with people who wanted to make their product look superficially good, so that the product will look so good on the screen and then the buyer will be tempted to buy it. And in most care, utterly disappointed when the product reaches him/her.

Too Much Retouching is a Mistake

In 2017, I received a query from a startup brand that was dealing with lingeries for online sale. From the list of changes, improving the quality of the fabric was also there. When I first send them the retouched images, this is what I received from them?

“Can I make you improve the texture of the fabric so that it looks elite?” So I did as they wished.

However, the difference between the first and the final product was massive? It was not even close to what It was before. I have had numerous incidents like this before. And it has taught me the importance of not manipulating the product too much.

Product Return Rate due to Retouching

According to online return rates articles. (Data from www.invespcro.com/)

  Product Return Rate retouching, ecommerce retouching rate According to another website that also showcased the same data, claimed that 22% of the returns were because of the product images, it was because the product looked very different in person, whereas in pictures it was entirely different. Having great-looking pictures for any product will surely bloom the sales. But when it intersects with an extreme form of editing manipulation, it creates a massive difference between the actual product the digital images. Greatly retouching images might look great for some people why they indeed are a disappointment for a buyer. Anyway, I haven’t heard about that company again. Intact, their website is not active, and the other sections of e-commerce websites where they were listed contains no items. Last update on Instagram was in 2017, and the previous blog was written on 12th April 2016. My only attempt here is to shed light on the competition in the e-commerce industry, and how retouching plays an essential part of it.  

Views on ‘Best E-Commerce Retouching’

E-commerce retouching is something that should be used for enhancing the product. If I have to be honest here, e-commerce retouching is not a very complicated form of retouching though it does require a good amount of knowledge. Anyone who is experienced for a year or so can do it. But the fine line between, where the image starts to look cooked is something that only an experienced person can maintain. Earlier in my retouching days, I used to spend so much time on fixings different elements of the pictures, but now I feel, ‘Why not use the same efforts of retouching and think like how you will be able to sell? It indeed is the most important element.  

Share your Views

If you would like to share about how retouching boosted your sales or any experience related to retouching of a product, please share in the comments below. You can also write me at info@neerajagnihotri.com, and I would love to write back.  
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10 Beauty retouching problems that are holding you back!

I have been doing retouching for the past seven years. During this phase, I was able to find some beauty retouching problems that I was making, and that hindered me from getting a perfect retouched image.

In 2011, when I first started retouching, using pictures from my own collection, there were a lot of different techniques that I used  like – dodging and burning, frequency separation, curves etc. As I was a beginner at that time, sometimes it  even took me more than 15 days in processing of one image to get the desired touch.

But only because of all these several unsatisfactory editing results, I was able to learn the correct way. So, I hope this article will be useful for people who are starting out, or who are stuck somewhere in the middle while retouching. These are the ten ways that can help you a lot –

1-         Be patient with dodging and burning & frequency separation
Take your time learning dodging and burning as this is not a technique that can be mastered in few days or even in few months. It took me several years to master this skill, so even you will get better with time and practise. However, you can always play with ‘opacity’ in Photoshop to get an image of your desire.

2-         Every image requires different retouching
One size doesn’t fit all.  Earlier I used to save all my retouching techniques and repeat the action on other images. I realized that every image is unique and would require different changes, unless the image is from a series. Although, you are free to experiment to get the image you want.

3-         Pay attention to fine details
When you are doing beauty retouching, you are playing with the pixels and thus, all the small changes you make will drive you towards perfection.

4-         Too much perfection is a mistake
I heard this line in a movie and till now I have always followed it. Don’t get too carried away by trying to correct all the blemishes. A fine tuning is always more important. Remember, flaws are acceptable. Moles, blemishes and even hair on skin  look great. Period.

5-         Set a time limit
With time I have learned that either giving too much or too little time can spoil your work, you have to set a time limit and stick to it.

6-         Give rest to your eyes.
You don’t have to continuously work on any image. Give break to your eyes in between. As tired eyes will start deceiving you and you will start seeing faults, those are not even there.

7-         Accept your retouching style
With time you will be able to find your own retouching style. When you do so, stick to it. Meanwhile, you can observe how other people retouch their images.

8-         Critically examine your own work
Don’t get carried away if someone says that you are not even close to the kind of retouching they are looking for, or you are a great retoucher.  Feel free to learn from the experts of this field. Whenever you are free, check out their work and take some time to absorb it. You should be able to criticize your own work and with time things will get clearer to you.

9-         Less retouching is more
You don’t need to apply all the techniques of Photoshop you learned on a single image. Too retouched images start to look overcooked and also lose their details.

10-    Retouching can not undo bad photography
One of the important reasons why you are not able to get a perfect image is because the image that you are working on is itself too flawed to be corrected. Retouching is used to enhance a good image to a great image.
 

If our article is able to solve your beauty retouching problems, let us know in comments.

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