Un-Retouched Photos from Texas Learning Lab

We just finished the wonderful weeklong workshop in Texas, called “Texas School.” And aside from speaking and shooting all week, on Thursday night there was a special program called the Learning Labs where I did a 30 minute public shoot for a group of photographers who weren’t in my full week-long program.

I was given a very tight area, a basic setup (white paper and two studio ProFoto lights with medium sized soft boxes) and two models (a girl and a guy that I hadn’t met), and five minutes to setup to make something amazing.

I talked about creativity and making what you’re given work. It’s up to the artist to make any situation work. I talked about my thinking process on making the space work, deciding how to use my two lights for the situation, and began my first shoot of the female model.

I talked (very quickly) on how to get perfect skin tones and exposures while also lighting eyes and skin perfectly as well. And I also talked about never shooting the same image twice, always refining or changing something.

From there I did a really fast shoot of both models while explaining everything that I was doing. And I promised to post the images so everyone could see the final results.

Note that these are un-retouched, un-enhanced. So no color correction, no exposure or contrast adjustments, and no corrections of any kind. They are literally straight images, and that’s a good thing. That means any digital work I do will be minimal and it means that I can show my clients their images without doing any work prior to meeting with them for the sales appointment.

It also means that any retouching or enhancements will be quick and fast. For instance, all I’ll do to any of these is perhaps clean up the white background a bit. But notice that the model has great skin tones, perfect catch lights in her eyes, and there is a variety of looks and expressions — no two images the same. All I have to do is look at them and quickly pick my favorite based on emotion.


I’m just picked two images while sitting here eating fried fish and listening to blues music at Flying Fish while I wait for my flight home. I retouched each image using the trackpad on my laptop doing what I call my “1 minute retouch.” I don’t use filters, I don’t use extra plugins. I simply fixed a few blemishes in her skin, cleaned up the background, and added a tad bit of contrast and called it good. Everything else like her eyes are real.

Now at home, I’d never retouch on my laptop or my trackpad. But it’s the perfect example of how great lighting and some technical know-how can save you hours of time later. All I had to do was to focus on expression.


To see the entire un-retouched images, view below….


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Thanks, and until next time, America.