Retouchup Blog

16
Apr
Chrome 42 and Java Plugin

Chrome has recently released their latest version of Chrome – Version 42.  This update makes a very major change in how they handle plugins within the browser.

With this update, they have disabled a system called “Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI)”.  This system is what allowed a lot of programs to run within chrome – such as Silverlight, Quicktime, and Java – without being restricted to browser limitations.

You can re-enable NPAPI for a few months, by typing or copy/pasting the following into your chrome browser address bar:

chrome://flags/#enable-npapi

You will see a section that looks like:

Enable NPAPI Mac, Windows
Enables the use of NPAPI plugins. #enable-npapi
Enable

Click the “Enable” link to turn it back on.  This will work only until September 2015 when Chrome 45 comes out.  At that time, Chrome will remove everything about NPAPI from the browser – and it will not be re-enablable.

JAVA 8.0 UPDATE 45

You will also need to ensure that you have updated to the latest version of Java – which came out a couple of days before Chrome 42 was updated.  The latest version at the time of this post is Java 8.0 Update 45.  You can download the latest Java from http://www.java.com/

LONG TERM SOLUTIONS

After chrome 45, if you need to use Java, you will have to use an alternative browser.  There are currently no known plans for Safari, Internet Explorer, or Firefox to remove NPAPI support.

Chrome supports an alternative system called PPAPI.  However, this system does not allow plugins access to files on your computer.  We would not be able to see your folder structure to take photos from, nor will we be able to see your harddrive so we can save photos after they are completed.

We will still support Chrome for non-Java interactions.

WHY DOES RETOUCHUP.COM STILL USE JAVA?

Retouchup.com has been working very hard to move away from Java as much as possible.  However, there are some things that a browser does not allow us to do yet.

  • Browsers don’t let us see a relative path of the file you are uploading without using Java.  We don’t know if you are uploading a whole folder, or just a single image.  We can’t return photos back to you keeping a folder structure if you do not upload using Java.
  • We also cannot return a mass number of files to you.  A browser takes control of the download and for a large number of users, will just save the file in your “download” folder by default.  Likewise, you have to download each file individually, as there is no way to queue up 60 photos to download to a folder of your choice.

Java gives us the ability to overcome these browser limitations, and do so for both Mac and Windows machines.

EASY UPLOADER

We have tools in place to allow uploads to our system without any Java at all.  It is our default upload tool now.  Most of our clients are OK with not keeping a folder structure.  The only times this becomes important, is when you upload multiple files with the same file name into one order, or your system needs the photos to be in a certain folder – and you would like Retouchup to return it back to you automatically.

ZIP FILE DOWNLOAD

We also have the ability for you to download all of your photos as a zip file.  This feature is only available for orders with 50 photos or below.  Over 90% of our orders are 50 photos or less, and this is a great way to download all your photos as one file without the use of Java.  You will still have to extract the file after it is finished downloading, but OSX and Windows have built in zip extractor tools.

 

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25
Mar
Every Picture Has a Story

By Gary Poole

 

Sally Watts

 

The wedding day has finally arrived.  You are prepared. You brought extra memory cards, extra cameras, duplicate flashes even bottled water to keep you cool. You are confident that you have the shot list almost memorized so you are all set. 

There will be inevitable additions, deletions and changes to those pictures the families have requested. Often confusion and misunderstanding can occur in the hectic activity of the wedding day.

Such was the case for Sally Watts, Charleston, S.C. based wedding photographer. I would like to thank her for allowing us to share her story. 

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28
Feb
Happy 25th Birthday Photoshop – Also WPPI next week.

By Gary Poole

snow queen

Kelly O’Keefe has graciously allowed us to show you a recent image she had us to create for her. This is a Special Services level retouch at only $10.00. The client had seen an image that really impressed her and came to Kelly to see if it could be duplicated.  The client needed a portfolio image and wanted to be on a horse with a snow scene in the background while holding a hawk. By combining the original image of the model on the horse and images of a snow scene and a hawk we created this stunning portfolio image for this model.

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11
Feb
Color Correction Division

By Gary Poole Color Division manager

 

K and Rob b4 aft

If you have never used our color correction division let me give you some reasons to consider using this convenient and time saving service.

Nearly every image we take, even in the best lighting conditions, can be improved through some kind of post capture color editing. Our reputation is on the line with every session we deliver so the images we show should be of pleasing natural color and exposure.

Excellence in color rendition will set us apart from the casual shooter and show our clients that we are serious about our craft.

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08
Jan
Braces Removal

 Do you remember the day that braces on a high school senior almost guaranteed a small order with a promise to return after they had been removed?  Braces are no longer a problem thanks to the magic of digital retouching. For only $5.00 you can have those braces removed to reveal a beautiful natural smile.

jimmy150

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27
Aug
The Benefits of Shooting RAW
by Gary Poole, Color Division Manager

raw vs jpeg (1)

RAW versus JPEG is an ongoing debate among professional photographers. The discussion can get as emotional as disputing Ford versus Chevy, Yankees versus Dodgers or Nikon versus Canon.  The truth is in some situations JPEG is perfectly fine while in other situations shooting RAW is the better option.  While many people argue that RAW files take up so much room on a card or a hard drive it would be wise to put this in proper perspective.

Image storage has never been cheaper. Consider that a 3 TB external hard drive that can hold countless thousands of RAW plus JPEG images is less than $100.00 and that a 32 GIG CF card is also less than $100.00 and both still cost less than the typical price of 20 rolls of professional film. For me file size is a very minor consideration.

As a color editor I would like to concentrate on the superior ability we have to properly color balance RAW files as well as the flexibility to recover highlight details that are overexposed. JPEGS contain less data than the RAW file and overexposure of more than 1/3 stop and incorrect white balance cannot always be adjusted to a natural color and texture.

In photo 1 the white point of this RAW image is extremely yellow. If the only file saved was a JPEG it would be unusable as a normal portrait. See the adjusted JPEG file compared to the corrected RAW file (I had both files).

Photo 1 (1)

In photo 2 the original RAW file was a bit overexposed and there is loss of detail in the whites and the background area. The corrected RAW file shows good detail in both regions while the adjusted JPEG is still blocked up lacking any texture and detail.  Also note how the flesh tone is blotchy in the adjusted JPEG.     

Photo 2

We created the Color Correction Division over 2 years ago to offer a low cost option for your RAW conversion with fast turnaround time, usually 36 hours or less. Since very few labs offer a RAW file conversion service this is a very economical way to get the best color and exposure possible from your RAW files. We return HI-RES jpegs or .xmp files on request.

Imagine the benefits of having color corrected files. You can create a new retouching order right from these JPEGS. There is even a way to create a new order in our system without even having to download the new files.  You can also use multiple labs for different products and have color and density that is a virtual match. Also most labs give a substantial price break for pre-corrected color.

We realize that color preference is very personal so we created a unique color profile system that allows us to have your images and a description of your preferences stored in our database. See Photo 3. You can select this color profile each time you upload a color correction order. This way your color tone and exposure stay more consistent no matter which color artist is working on your order.

Photo 3

If you have never used our color correction service you have 25 FREE corrections in your account automatically. We invite you to test us out. If you have never shot RAW you may want to consider this option.

If you have any specific questions regarding our color correction service or about RAW files or how we can help you integrate color correction into your workflow, please contact me directly.

Thanks so much for using RetouchUp.com

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22
Aug
R-E-T-O-U-C-H-U-P!

RETOUCHUP_02-01

R-E-T-O-U-C-H-U-P 
Find out what it means to me! 
-RTU Customer 
*sung to the tune of Respect by Aretha Franklin

We want to find out exactly what R-E-T-O-U-C-H-U-P means to you! RetouchUp.com offers 3 retouching levels: Complete Retouch, Complete Plus and Special Services. 99% of our work falls under ‘Complete Retouch’ which covers anything that is extremely typical with portraits and wedding photography: Stray hairs, facial shine, blemishes, whitening of teeth or eyes, bags under eyes, sensor dust, chipped props, etc. Although all of those issues are covered under the Complete Retouch, we know that every photographer and studio has their own sense of improvements they would like to see on their images. So we rely on you to let us know what RETOUCHUP means to you, so we can tailor our service, as much as possible to your specific studio preferences.

After upload you will find an option under Workflow Tools called ‘Default Retouch Notes’ which lets you specify your retouching preferences one time and automatically list what you want for each order. It can then be edited for a specific order if one of your regular preference doesn’t apply.

Happy Uploading! If you have any questions on any RTU services let us know. We are here to help!

 

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12
Aug
Tips on Giving Retouching Instructions

RetouchUp.com is a family owned, multi-cultural company with headquarters located in American Fork, Utah and retouchers located in Lima, Peru. We also serve pro photographers from around the world! With that in mind we wanted to post some tips for retouching instructions that can help our retouchers better understand your needs and in return provide you with the best service possible!

r e t o u c h u p . c o m

Use as few words as possible to convey the message. By being short and specific, the instructions will be easier to understand and follow.

Example: The mother was not very happy with her daughter Sarah that day, and she feels that her expression does not look natural in image 21, so she requested that we use the girls head from image 23 where she is sitting next to her grandpa.

Better: Use #21 as the main image. Swap head from little girl in pink from image #23.

Avoid using language that is not universally known. Descriptive words can mean different things to different people.

Example: Saying “Remove the fizzy spots” can translate to something else and the retoucher might not understand what “fizzy” means to you.

Better: Saying “Remove spots from clothing.”

When referring to a person or object in photo that might have a lot going on in it, indicate “Photograph Right” or “Photograph Left” This way the artist knows it’s their right not the subjects right.

Example: Please remove the groomsman on the right.

Better: Please remove the groomsman on photograph right.

Consider if a reference photo is needed. 

For instance: Please remove the ring bearer from in front of the bride so we can see detail in the gown. In this case without a photo of the gown we wouldn’t be able to fill this request.

Consider the feasibility of the request. 

Sometimes photos come in with requests that us just being shy of magicians, we aren’t able to fix or retouch. We want to… we really want to! But we simply can’t.

For instance: Please turn the grandmother’s head 90 degrees so she is looking at the group. Also we know she is in the shade but can you make it look she is in studio light. And if you could change her apron to the one she used to have. (sorry no photo available.)

 

We love working with you and appreciate your business. We hope these retouching instruction tips help insure that the upload process is easier and faster for you as well as helping our retouchers give you the best service possible!

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29
Jul
RTU Tutorial: How to Mark a Reference Photo

Win a tour of the (1)

When it comes to retouching, while you may regularly send in one unretouched image and need one retouched image in return, occasionally you will need to send in reference photos for head/body swaps, or sample photos to show a particular effect you want. In these cases, you need a way to mark a photo as “Reference Only”.

To send reference photos, simply upload them along with the rest of your order using the regular order process. Once all photos have been uploaded, click “Refresh Uploaded Images”. You will then see the thumbnails for all uploaded images. You can then mark a photo as a reference photo by toggling the green “Retouch” button below any reference photos to say “Reference Only” (it will then change to red).

The Reference Photo Tool makes it easy for you to use RetouchUp.com for head swaps, adding or removing people, or even changing background. (RetouchUp.com charges just $5.00 for head swaps, which INCLUDES a complete portrait retouch. Adding/removing people or background changes are just $10.00).

If you need additional assistance or have questions on your orders please feel free to contact us via email customerservice@retouchup.com or by phone 1-888-700-3686.

We are more than happy to help!

 

 

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24
Jul
Pro Photographer Spotlight: Ann Monteith

Ann Montieth (1).jpg

We recently have had the pleasure of getting to better know Ann Monteith who has so many wonderful accolades behind her name including being a past president of PPA, owning three successful photography studios and running workshops where she teaches fellow photographers the many ins and outs of successfully running a photography business.

Ann is truly an industry leader and we hope you enjoy getting to know Ann and pick up some great business wisdom like we did during our interview with her!

“Once upon time there was time.” Ann said when I asked her why it was so important that a photographer outsources to be able to grow as a business. She explained that a photographer traditionally thinks that because they work for them self they often think they need to do all the work by themselves and that there is just not enough time to do that. “Well, there is enough time…” She continued, “But if you do use your time like that, your photography business will simply not be profitable.”

Ann then filled me on her experience, where she started, how she struggled, and how she gained control of her photography business. In the 1980’s her and her husband started a portrait photography studio and enjoyed it very much. Soon they realized however that they were in debt, bills were piling up, and even though they had business coming in they were losing money. Ann and her husband didn’t understand how that could be, being that they were working so hard and her husband even had an MBA. “We soon realized that even though he had an MBA it was structured to support a person working for somebody else, not yourself.”

Ann began to search out for others in the photography world who could help, give advice and teach more about how to run your photography business as… a business. Learning from the greats like Bud Haines and Ken Whitemire, Ann could see how much other photographers would benefit from having more business education. After becoming president of PPA, Professional Photographers of America, Ann was really able to focus on providing all the business and financial management skills she had learned to others on a large scale, really turning around how studios viewed their profit making ability.

We then discussed how the film to digital change has impacted how studios thought of outsourcing all over again. She explained how back in the day a photographer only took 20 – 30 photos during a session, (another word of advice to being profitable these days says Ann, “Stop shooting so much!”) then they went back to their darkroom, developed the images, made prints, and then delivered them to the client.

From shooting to showing, the photographer had about 2 weeks to work, edit, create and learn.  But photographers soon realized that being stuck in a darkroom, processing and printing themselves was not profitable at all. They learned that the better solution was for them to keep shooting and outsource their darkroom work to photo labs. “You can’t be doing what someone else can do better and certainly more efficient if you intend to make money in this business.” Being stuck in a darkroom 20 years ago is now the equivalent of being stuck behind your computer. Then Ann commented, “It has the same outcome – you are losing aspects of success when you don’t outsource.”

We also discussed why some photographers are reluctant to outsource. As Ann travels across the country offering Business and Financial Management Workshops for photographers that very subject often comes up. Ann talked about how 95% of those that don’t think they should outsource are clinging to controlling everything in regards to their photographs. In reality, she concluded, they are controlling nothing. Others say why they don’t want a retouching service is because they don’t like “the photoshop” look. Ann learned what they really mean is they want a “natural, polished look” and they are afraid others won’t have the same eye or understanding.

Ann said, “It’s really important to understand when you are outsourcing your work to another in the industry, it’s not about you just giving them work, but you are now working with them.” She talked about how important it is to keep communicating instructions, ideas, and opinions as you work with one another to keep business moving forward and successful. Some photographers get hung up on outsourcing because they feel their clients expect them to handle everything from start to finish. “Clients should expect an excellent finished product, how we as photographers get there is unimportant. What is important is that our time needs to be used wisely. And wisely means it needs to be profitable.”

At the end of our conversation Ann said something that really stood out to us, “We call ourselves professional photographers not because it sounds great to the ears, but because this is a business. A professional business.” If you’re not profitable that doesn’t make your photography a hobby, but it does mean that with the right business and financial management along with outsourcing, you can be!

Thank you for your time Ann! We really appreciate all your insight on the photography business!

For more information on Ann Monteith and her “Get Down to Business” workshops click here!

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