Archives for the month of: November, 2010

Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get your start as a Designer? Did you have any formal training or are you a self taught Designer?

I have always been interested in fabric, clothing and style. From my first sewing projects in high school, I was addicted to fabric and manipulating it to fit on the human form. For years I sewed without patterns, seeing the shape needed in my mind then fitting it to myself or models. I have always loved sparkle, glamor and femininity and have worked on achieving these things in my designs.

Originally, I am from Alaska. I left the state for college and have lived in many different places from New York to London since then. I received double degrees in Fashion Merchandising and Business from Baylor University. At the end of my time there, I really wished I had focused more on design. A year later, I applied and went to Parsons-The New School AAS program to get concentrated technical training in Design. There I learned technical patternmaking and draping and was inspired to start creating more designs. I now use a mixture of these techniques as well as creating without patterns.

I also have a love for accessory design and tend to also create headpieces, jewelry and hand painted shoes with my looks. I like to style to whole look from head to toe to create a concept, not just a garment.

picture1/2: Model – Anna Belanger, Photography – Cherry Blossom Photography, Make-Up & Hair – Ashley Baker
Do you think going to school for design is important to excel in the business later on?

Not Necessarily. I think that many things have to come together the right way to achieve success in the fashion industry. I have seen designers with no formal training create much better things than those with a formal education. However, school is definitely a way to hone your design skills and receive valuable feedback from talented artists. However, overall I think success in fashion depends on talent, motivation, networking and business savvy.

Did you always want to be a Designer or did stumble into it? Did you begin working with a company? When How did your freelance career begin?

I have always designed for fun. I prefer working freelance because it gives me the opportunity to be much more creative with my designs. After school, I have been working only freelance and have created one of a kind looks for different events, shows and editorial shoots.
A few years ago, I decided to officially name my designs and to start creating more cohesive ideas. For the name, since Ashley Baker doesn’t really have a designer ring to it, I decided to choose something that spoke of my heritage. Elizabeth is my first name and Roche was my grandmothers maiden name. She grew up in Paris and her mother was a wonderful clothing designer, so I chose to name my line Elizabeth Roche in honor of the family tradition of clothes making.

picture3: Models – Taylor Lee, Cheryl Day, Photography – Gil Monreal, Make-Up – Molly Hutchins, Hair – Sarah Sonnentag

Who or what inspired you to become a Designer?

Honestly, I don’t think it was one person or event. I have always had a love for fashion and the ability to understand shape and form in a way that comes together in design. I feel the need to create and fashion design is one of my outlets for this need.

What are your biggest challenges?

Time is my biggest challenge. I work a full time job in marketing and therefore have very little time to devote to fashion design.

How do you work? What is your process?

Many designers sketch and them create. I am the opposite. I am completely inspired by the fabric. Once I find a fabric I love then I let it speak to me, most of the time, the design almost creates itself out of the fabric. I know that if I am working to hard to ‘make it work’ then it isn’t right and I start over. I mostly drape fabric, then go back and pattern make the pieces I need to be precise.

picture4: Model – Natalie Travis, Photography – Cherry Blossom Photography, Make-Up – Tess Weaver

What other projects are you working on?

I am collaborating on ideas for a couple of books, I am working on some digital art pieces and I am working on creating more designs for editorial submissions.

Elizabeth Roche

Model Mayhem

Where do you call home?

I grew up in Kansas City and moved to NY after graduating. I also lived in Germany for 2 years and Haiti for 11 years, but I came back to NYC, which is where I currently hang my hat and where I feel most ‘at home’.

How did you get your start in retouching? Is there any formal training in your background? How did your interest in retouching begin?

I have a BFA in Painting from The Kansas City Art Institute, so I have a traditional background in art. I would have laughed if anyone would have told me I’d go digital, but in the 90’s a photographer friend of mine in Haiti started using Illustrator and I started peeking over his shoulder as he worked. Soon after I moved back to the US and discovered Photoshop. I don’t know what happened, I just couldn’t leave it alone and dropped everything to teach myself everything Photoshop. I didn’t know for sure what I was going to do with it, but then I found retouching and thankfully stumbled upon a retouching position at a Photo Lab and got hired. It was a hard strict job requiring long hours, but that’s where I honed my craft. Later I learned more upscale retouching, but fixing mistakes by lower end photographers at that lab was what sharpened and challenged both my artistic and technical skills.

When it comes to equipment what are you using in regards to monitor etc?

I work on a Mac Pro quad core and swear by my CG211 Eizo Monitor. The larger monitors have issues, so I use the 211 and have a second monitor to keep my Photoshop panels open.

What is your opinion on the current trends of retouching?

I like most of the trends as of late; more natural skin, less plastic. We used to always “over” saturate images, I never liked that, now the trend is a little ‘de’ saturated, which feels more modern and ‘cool’. I still appreciate very artsy retouching, advertising is an art form, I don’t want to see ads that have no conceptual artistic thought and effort attached to it.

Do you have a favorite image that you’ve retouched?

Of course! But that always changes as I get and retouch new images. I have favorite photographers and favorite jobs, Some jobs are more generic and less artsy/edgy. I like the jobs I am challenged by, and given artistic freedom on.

What aspects of photo retouching do you find the most challenging?

Color is always the most challenging. Structure is easy; you’ll always eventually get there, but color is subjective. I’ve spent an entire day color correcting a eyeshadow compact. OK, ok, it was a cake with a raise design in the middle that had an iridescent over-spray, which never captures in the shot, so I had to create the iridescence, but still it too all day for 4 cakes. Color and shape/contrast moves are what I spend most of my time on.

I should mention redoing the hairstyles of certain shots can be pretty challenging.

How much direction do you typically receive from the client?

My answer to that is; Every client is different. Some give lots of direction and others rely on my discretion. I learn the preferences of each client and usually know how far to go. I sometimes have to go farther and sometimes have to put back something I’ve removed.

How much time do you typically spend on an image? What’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent?

I can spend as little as 3 or 4 hours on an image to 60 hours or more. An editorial that just needs a little clean up and overall color move won’t take long, whereas a Beauty spread that has a beauty shot (the head shot), products, a lifestyle (full body shot) and a compiled background may take weeks. It’s hard to say how long exactly since the file goes back to the client for further corrections from 4 to 15 times on a big job.

If anything, what won’t you do to an image that a client might ask for?

I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t try to make happen if I was asked, unless perhaps if I thought it would make the image look bad or ridiculous. I’ve had some of my best successes when my clients pushed me to do the impossible!

How has digital photography changed your job or how you approach retouching?

The only change for me is that I get my files in digital RAW format and haven’t had to scan an image in years!

Any advice for other people who want to make retouching their career?

Practice, practice, practice.

To view more of Carrie’s please follow these links:

Also watch out for Carrie’s New book:

Real Retouching
A Professional Step- By – Step Guide

Publication Date:
March 15, 2011

Description (source Focal press)

From the perfect glossy pages of a magazine to the larger-than-life images floating on a billboard in the sky, image retouching has become a key component of today’s digital photography world. So popular, in fact, that the sheer act of retouching has become its own verb as we often ask ourselves, “I wonder if this image was Photoshopped?” Sometimes controversial but widely accepted, and even expected, excellent retouching skills are crucial to finding success in the field of digital imaging. As you work through the clear step-by-step instructions in the book using the images provided on the bonus CD, you’ll learn how to do real retouching jobs from start to finish, including each and every technical step along the way. You’ll also get behind the scenes advice for talking to clients and establishing a workflow to ensure that your client gets the results they are looking for. If you’re a student or aspiring professional just starting out in the world of retouching, the information found in this book can help you find work in the advertising/retouching industry. If you’re already a working photographer, you’ll be able to add retouching to your repertoire as an additional offering to your clients. Carrie Beene is a professional retoucher and educator who has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious companies, including Revlon, MAC, and L’Oreal, and has contributed imagery to such renowned publications as the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Vanity Fair. In this excellent new book, she’ll share the techniques she has learned and developed over the years to help you navigate the often mysterious world of image retouching.

*Offers insider advice through never before published retouching secrets to give you a leg up on the competition
*Includes practical and thorough coverage of exactly how to fix real life problems that you can apply to any retouching job, so that you can present yourself and your work like a professional
*The only book of its kind that focuses solely on retouching for the aspiring retoucher or working professional

Stella Kramer is giving a great summery of some of the speeches hold at the pdn conference this past week! Read and enjoy

also there is a great Note writen by Allegra Wilde

“Yeah, But I Have To Make Money….”

Portfolio Reviews, Marketing Consultation + Visual Strategies for Photographers, Agents, and the rest of the Professional Photography Community

(And other ways to ignore the reason you became a professional photographer)

When you are in the business of selling something subjective like photography, there is no standard formula which will tell you who is going to connect with what you do, any more than it is possible to predict who is likely to fall in love with you.

Following what’s hot right now; doing what you have been seeing out there already – imitating the same content, styles, or processes as everybody else is going to be futile in the end.

If you make and show images with the intention of speaking the language of potential clients (and that is what most people do)…you will just end up looking like most people. You will wind up moving away from yourself.

“Yeah but I have to make money”.

And you may, for a while. However, your career will ultimately suffer.

And so will your heart.

The answer: Make work that is made entirely of… You.

Your life, and your passions.

The things that no one else can appropriate.

If you do that, (and get past your fears about whether it will work), you will have less, or even no competition. And that is always safer and more profitable than being part of the crowd.

The strongest part of you, is the honest you, and that remains true regardless of the economy, technology, or the weather report.

The connection between a photographer and a person who is in a position to hire them and collaborate with them, begins with chemistry. And chemistry begins with honesty.

But that is not the whole story.

You will never have a career being the best-kept secret in photography.

The formula for success? It starts here:

Show yourself in your images, and stand by them no matter what. Show your work to people who can hire you. All of them. EVERYWHERE. Mass market and send your photographs far and wide.

Those who see your pictures and are moved by them will understand you. Will want to be around you. Work with you.

Isn’t that your ultimate goal? Isn’t that why you chose this career in the first place?

Allegra Wilde