Retouching is one of the most commonly forgotten about jobs in the advertising post-production process. However, this is definitely not the case in France which has just this week passed a new law which requires that all digitally altered photos of models must be labelled as such. Back in England, this law has not even been discussed in parliament and it may seem for many English retouchers that their craft may be getting ignored. With knowledge of this we spoke we decided to sit down with Adam Howes, an experienced retoucher at Smoke and Mirrors about how he got into the craft, his favourite aspects of the job and some of the highlights of his career.
LBB> Hi Adam, how did you get into retouching?
Adam Howes> I have always enjoyed being creative which led me to Art School where I studied Graphic Design. The course was photography based, which is where I began starting to pick up the basic skills of Photoshop, but it was only after I graduated that I began assisting photographers and retouching professionally- eventually landing my first full time role at Spring Studios as an assistant. There, I got the opportunity to see some of the world’s top photographers in action. Slowly I went from tea-making to image-making when someone offered me my very first gig retouching for a fashion brand.
LBB> What’s your favourite part of your job?
AH> We have a great team here in the studio at Smoke so its always fun but I think I really enjoy going on set and putting things together there and then with the client and photographer, it’s great to be involved from the beginning where we can all work together to create something super.
Which recent project did you love being a part of and why?
AH> Channel 4’s ‘Electric Dreams’ campaign. I got to work closely with the client, we had a lot of time trying different things, playing with textures, colours and creating something from nothing. It wasn’t your normal retouch, involving a lot of manipulation and distortion to produce the finished image.
LBB> What advice would you give to someone starting out in retouching?
AH> Grasp onto and appreciate every opportunity you are given and never stop learning. I’ve been in the industry for ten years and the older I get, the more I realise there is to learn! That and the client is always right, unless it involves timings!
LBB> What’s your favourite anecdote or quote that you’ve heard uttered in your retouching suite?
AH> “It’s too red, too green and too blue”- You can’t please them all!