This post is a bit of a sidestep away from what we usually get up to here at Two Bears Studio. This particular post relates to some aviation retouching that we have done for Matthew St Clair recently. Matt is a photographer over in the United States that specializes in photographing private jets and knows his onions when it comes to photographing the new ‘must haves’ for the rich and famous.
From a retouching point of view there's not a huge amount that changes from editing a photograph of an interior for a residential building to retouching the interior of a private jet. The same workflow, logic and problems which you need to solve are all there but because the spaces on jets are so narrow and fairly pocketed it forces the compositions to always fill the frame and that means the retouching is under a lot more scrutiny - or at least that how it feels. It could also be the fact that the companies who makes these planes seem to have an unabiding love of highly reflective surfaces and leather - which makes for some challenging edits.
Thankfully though, it was around this time that I had found a bit of time in my schedule to do some R&D and had been wanting to revisit frequency separation and how I could pull it into our architecture and interiors retouching workflow. I had dabbled in the past with frequency separation mainly in the context of beauty photography and knew there was potential there but wasn't 100% sure how I could translate it across. Thankfully I came across Earth Olivers tutorial over on Pro Edu and he was able to put me on the straight and narrow. There are a few points over the course of my retouching career where there have been a few ‘game changers’ which have either raised the bar on the quality of what I do, massively sped up my ability to do things, or indeed allowed me to do things that I haven't been able to before without wanting to drop kick my iMac out of the window. One instance was the switch to a Wacom tablet from a mouse which if you are considering doing, do it now and get it done - you can thank me later. I think the speed at which I can work has probably doubled by making that move. Anyway, going back to frequency separation 2.0 as Earth calls it, is definitely one of those ‘game changer’ moments. It transforms how you approach imagery and this aviation retouching for Matt it allowed me to tackle some traditionally extremely challenging edits like the wear and tear on the leather, the floor, glare in the wood, etc by separating the image into tone and texture and allowing me to address the two areas separately - making the task frankly pretty easy.