Brock McFadzean is a visual communicator who currently resides in Sydney, Australia. He uses photography as a medium to express his ideas and thought processes visually. His work is a mix of highly graphical architectural elements and simplistic yet emotive images between Portraiture, Fashion and Architecture. He is continually challenging and pushing the creative and technical boundaries within his work. Through his ever growing desire to learn, Brock has had the opportunity to travel internationally in post production and assisting other photographers on their projects.
Photoshopping The McFadzean Way
Brock is a multimedia multi-talent from Australia. He works as a photographer and retoucher but also gets to join big productions as the digital assistant and develops digital workflows for photographers or agencies to set them up for the future.
He got introduced to Photoshop and retouching years ago while he was studying and lucky to meet an Adobe Evangelist. He helped him understand workflows, working consistency with multiple images and gain a more fundamental understanding of Photoshop.
Two Approaches To Working On Images
Retouching to him is either a way of processing an image to shape and craft an image into a direction you want it to go or, as he states, can be the more hands-on approach on retouching. It can be commercial, composite work, beauty retouching,…
Noone really wants to put their hand up and say they enjoy retouching beauty images.
That said, Brock enjoys all sorts of retouching but rather likes the change of topics for him not to get bored and frustrated having to do the same thing over and over again.
What It Means To Work In Advertising
With years of experience, Brock shares some valuable insights on what’s going on behind the scenes during the production of advertising campaigns.
Working in advertising is a whole other world. You have to be prepared for clients’ way to communicate, multiple rounds of revisions, having the whole concept change throughout the course of productions, dealing with all sorts of demands and very time-critical deadlines as most commercial jobs are left up until the last minute.
A lot of photographers I know won’t do their own retouching because it is not controlled by them, it is controlled by the advertising agency.
On the other hand, while he was studying, Learning about photoshop and retouching was not really a part of the curriculum. Brock is convinced he was just lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time as for most people who get a formal photography education will have a hard time accumulating this amount of knowledge during the times of their studies. Thus, most people’s first point of call is youtube. We look for “how is this done, how is that done?”
However, we are both convinced there needs to be a proper implementation in formal education as retouching, over the years, has become a fundamental part of the production chain. As of now, there is tons of material out there but mostly not structured. There needs to be some sort of structured training on digital post-production.
We might say this again and again. Learning about retouching is not about “How do I do XYZ”. It’s the how, not the why!
What Is Retouching?
Retouching is problem solving. You envision where you want to end uo and then you decide for the tools you are trying to use to get you there. Ideally in the fastest way possible. Brock adds, it also is not just about the knowledge but allso its application. Investing the time to learn de hands-on is more important than knowing all the theory.
Photoshop has not fundamentally changed for the past few years, so having learned the basics, the concepts and having established a solid workflow can get you much further than knowing every feature but not having any struckture as of how you approach working on images.
Don’t Follow The Hype
We are referring to frequency separation as a totally hyped and often misused technique. When learning a technique we also have to evaluate how it fits into our workflow along with other techniques and see it for what it is. Does it acutally help our work, what are the downsides of the techniqes and when is it appropriate to use a certain technique and when might it be better to stay away from it for it’s flaws. One aspect which should ring a bell if a technique is proclaimed as the ultimate technique: Better, quicker, can do it all,….
Cutting down time is great but for a worse outcome. Many strive for quick results and sacrifice quality. Most just don’t know any better and the quick solution is much easier to sell than proper education.
There is potential beyond Frequency Separation
You Have To Evolve!
Over the past few years the quality of cameras has improved, the quality of images they can produce and so has the approch on how we retouch images. Quality has been risen, the bar and expectations are higher than ever before. What once was acceptable as retouching images and skin might not be acceptable anymore. This means, you have to be evolving constantly and question your approach as you go. You have to step away from your work being good just for the time and effort invested. The outcome is what is important. Not the tool, not your habits, not your workflow….solving the problem, keeping up with trends and a solid foundation of how you go over doing business.
Don’t be overwhealmed with change!