LTR! Podcast Episode #36

Natalia Fadejeva and her journey of becoming a world-class retoucher

Natalia Fadejeva who is retouching for magazines like Vogue, ELLE and known Makeup Brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills talks about her journey of becoming a retoucher, the struggles of studying arts at university, and gives valuable insights into real-world retouching scenarios.

Picture of <span style="font-size:1rem;font-weight:200">In this Podcast:</span> <br>Natalia Fadejeva

In this Podcast:
Natalia Fadejeva

My name is Natalia Fadejeva and I am a freelance retoucher and owner of NATLYF Retouching. I specialize in Fashion, Beauty and Commercial retouching. My clients include such as ELLE, Schön Magazine, One Magazine, Woman's Health, Glamour, L'Officiel, and known makeup brands such as Anastasia Beverly Hills

Guest Website

Natalia’s Path of becoming a Retoucher

Daniel Hager

So, when was the time that you pushed through being a student and becoming a working Retoucher; was that during university or was it after university for you?

 Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, I think it was during university. As I said, I graduated 2015 and I remember registering myself as a self-employed.

In 2014 I also remember. I mean it’s great to have amazing friends and me and Shannon were sitting in.

And we’re writing an essay for work and then from one of the photographers that I’ve been kind of trying. And you know.

You know?

Building my experience with he had a.

Potentially endorse editorial thing for Cosmopolitan, and I was like, oh crap, I have this essay to Ryans like I don’t know if I’m going to make it like deadline is and there’s this amazing opportunity and I will have to say no.

So the Sienna supporting me. She’s like, don’t worry and she’s like you tell me I’ll see you next to you, right?

And I will help you like finish writing you. You just need to talk to me and you can like we talked. You don’t choose. So don’t miss this opportunity to take it. And so I did and then.

And since then, yeah, I’ve been. I’ve been trying to take as many opportunities as I can. I still to this day take free work and I know a lot of people told.

Daniel Hager

Oh, don’t say that you’re gonna get a lot of rich.

Natalia Fadejeva

Oh well, it’s fine. Like you too you I still like doing it especially I have so much commercial work coming in. I sometimes get so tired of it so.

Just for the sake of doing something different and fun, I still take free work and I still think there’s so much for me to learn.

So I do. I mean it’s not hindering me.

Daniel Hager

Which is incredible to notice for someone who has worked on covers for ELLE, think VOGUE as well.

Natalia Fadejeva

I think.

Yeah, I just haven’t put it out. Yeah so so bad, sorry.

Daniel Hager

So yeah, I mean you have worked on covers for vogue, cosmopolitan as you said, obviously a Russian magazine.

You’ve done beauty campaigns and stuff. There’s still something to be said about someone who has done that saying.

Oh, there’s still so much for me to learn.

Natalia Fadejeva

There is and I can’t stress this enough and you know, we know the main approach. Retouching skin, cleaning the gebran, color correction, blah blah blah.

But there are certain things, these little tweaks not in technique, but approach how people may use the same curves to do something else.

Unlike all, it’s actually so good. For example, before when I used to masks, I only knew how to do with pencil.

But then I discovered channels and then in channels you would draw another guy. So you have to be so meticulous.

But then I saw someone.

You say you know the torch and burn the tool itself.

To use that in masking to perfect the mosque that’s speed up. It’s those little things that people don’t sometimes mentioned.

 Forget to mention that they’re using or. It’s somewhere in another tutorial you don’t think about each thinker. That’s how I’ve been masking everything you know. Keep doing it with those little things that change or even problem solving, which is.

 Keep doing it.

 Kind of my favorite. The most I have now.

And retouching is problem solving for client. I won’t lie if I can’t do something, especially the beginning. If I didn’t know something I said I would experiment and I think I have an idea how to do and I’ll come back to you. And you usually have worked out, and if it didn’t work out.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, but then there’s also this. If you are confronted with editing a series and there’s something you haven’t figured out yet, there are people who might just go on doing the thing that that they’ve always done, and it might even take them quite some time to get it finished, or you might start testing what you could do differently and once you have figured it out, it’s going to save you so much, not only for that series, but maybe in the future. Because you have this one new approach, or one new tool added to your toolbox.

Natalia Fadejeva

Definitely, and that’s how we have gathered the most valuable no snippets and skills or even like approach of thinking about a problem or a certain.

Seeing in retouching is is that problem solving everything from?

Oh this. They put too much product on the eyebrow so this now it looks too heavy. How to make it look less like you can’t remove the actual may come from everyone so it’s applied.

But how to make it look as if it’s less heavy? How to do all these little things? How to?

I can’t even think like so much input, but problem solving is probably the best learning.

That would have helped me to progress quicker is problem solving for a client or.

My own images. Then I felt something with width.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, and as you said it, it requires you to ask questions to yourself like how do I make the makeup lighter? How do I make the skin look more moist and how does this translate to something technical I can do to the image, right?

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, definitely. And also if wanting a good stress, if it doesn’t work to like that day that you’re trying to do it and you’re getting more stressed out.

Just go to sleep and for me it was worked. I went to sleep next day I figured out then well without fault.

Daniel Hager

Your brain has figured it out overnight.

There’s also in terms of learning. I know your brain, this process or one’s brain does process so much information throughout sleep.

Natalia Fadejeva

Definitely. I mean the amount of.

Compositing that I had to do in some beauty retouching and speak around. Like trying to replace this with matted hair and trying to figure out where to take it from and how to fix this and that problem and how to fix this and that makeup issue.

It actually got a little fun sometimes because we.

I mean I love.

Beautiful images where makeup is just right and the skin is glossy and glowy. Everything is perfect, you just need to do a little bit of retouching because.

You know, sometimes those images.

There’s just so much makeup, and I what I also learned is your clients idea of natural retouching is actually may be very different to what you think that naturally is.

But yeah, sometimes the problem solving is fun.

Daniel Hager

But client communication has the big one right? How we communicate our expectations because as you said, I also had a lot of time when they say, oh, just retouch a little bit.

Beautiful Retouching – That does this mean?

It has to look natural and then you do what you think looks natural and really keep it natural and they’re like have you even done something to the image? Yeah or?

Natalia Fadejeva


Daniel Hager

They are asking to you have it look natural and then you you give it to them and they say it’s over, retouched already so there is this wide variety of expectations.

Natalia Fadejeva

The new seizure language.

Yeah, for me it’s usually the first one. I I didn’t catch on there like let’s remove this grease. Let’s remove this.

This one is crazy. This is like second one thing. It’s going to be too much and sometimes they want to keep it natural initial file and the makeup is there’s so much to fix that so that you can keep initial like.

You have to like you have to do professional. You have to. There’s still be a little work to do because there’s so much to fix in order to make it.

Look reasonable.

Daniel Hager

I think some photographers or clients they don’t understand is that we fix and Polish a lot of things and it takes time even though you don’t necessarily see that in an end result as something that has been touched.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, definitely. Especially when a client comes like oh, his skin is really good so I’m no longer touching me. This half of water stuff that doesn’t need to be.

That’s neat.


My favorite is when you fix crappy makeup and then you see.

They they make makeup artist. I’m not trying to be rude like I’m happy for them. I do understand there’s time limits.

I’m not trying to be.

Sometimes you have to do quickly. It’s no time to perfect. It’s all about putting it on, but is before I just laugh about it. I’m I’m not angry or anything. It’s funny.

Like oh, I saw this image and you straight away it was your work. Like I know this. This lip line was janky as hell.

Daniel Hager

And then on Instagram, people are commenting like crazy. Oh, this is so perfect. This is so perfect and.

Thinking like oh, if you guys knew what was done to the image to make it look like this. And yeah, as you said the reality is onset sometimes obviously some the application is limited and I also when I take like once a year and we’re doing makeup I always communicate this like hey.

But yeah.

Daniel Hager

If you’re trying to do this, don’t because it’s much easier, much more consistent for me to do this to her skin instead of you trying to fix it with makeup, but then as a retoucher, you’re not usually on set, so you can’t communicate. It’s like, yeah.

But the reality is like sometimes they as a makeup artist. They they see something in the skin. They try to fix and then obviously there are limits in how.

How they can apply something to the skin? Because they can’t necessarily go back in history like we can in Photoshop.

They can’t zoom in and zoom out to make the image and the face or anything work. How how your hand works they have to work with what they have and sometimes you.

Apply like glossy stuff that is or dripping stuff that you are so limited and it’s so time sensitive. How how it holds on the skin.

That obviously mistakes are happening and you can hardly ever get like the perfect time and something you haven’t seen in the image or on the face. While while they were shooting.

So yeah.

I also sometimes wish like we could be on set and saying hey well I can do this.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, we’re going to be most painting and ask like people like this will be take, but you know, but also no one that you have the fresh makeup.

No one really uses. Usually their first 100 pictures you know photographer needs to get into the groove, so there’s the module.

We need.

Like Walmart, but that time makes already starting to melt, but so no one you don’t usually get fresh, fresh, fresh makeup and also.

For me, what I’ve noticed is that the rise of Instagram is the heavy makeup.

Makeup, so I I had a project where they had this makeup artist who she who does.

Stunning makeup.

Looks pretty amazing in safari.

But it’s so heavy, so heavy, and those high definition images. The provision script I had to I wanted to touch it lightly, but there was no way there was so much cracking and dryness to move because.

The revisions get coming back. We need to smooth this Akinci powder and well, I have two research to help then I guess to make the client happy.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, sure, I mean obviously.

Yeah, your client is paying the bills basically, and as long as they are happy. But yeah, it it is a trend of having very heavy application of makeup and that’s how they kind of try to stand out because obviously if you put nude.

Makeup or very little stuff on Instagram with. Yeah, very detailed. Very skilled application of makeup. It’s not going to be recognized right? So makeup companies, especially are trying to push that and trying to get attention with it.

And obviously, I personally I wouldn’t like that that much, but then I’m not in the market of buying their makeup and applying it anyways.

But yeah, it’s something we have to remember compared to being in the arts field. We are here to help to sell their products.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, I just try to make suggestions when I see it’s necessary to the client, but it’s up to them if they want to take it out and try to push my ideas because.

I obviously like doing lesser touching and a certain type of skin and the way it’s been treated and makeup, but if the client had their own vision, who I am to take it away from them?

Daniel Hager

Yeah, sure I mean, so that’s also fine. Line is how how you give feedback on stuff that’s very complicated as a service provider, right?

So what’s your preference? If if you were to retouch the images so I can assume it’s it’s not heavy makeup, but you still like, figure out the beauty images, right?

Natalia Fadejeva

You know what? I actually didn’t favor any of this. I wasn’t pretty. I did like fashion and beauty by somehow.

Fell into beauty most heavily and that’s where.

Majority my clientele is.

Then fashion is just kinda happened that way.

I still would say the same. I do like both. I really do like both I.

If I do too much without ever touching beauty, I want to do some fashion. Too much fashion and want to go back to beauty. I like both of them equally and would like to have more of a healthy balance.

Doing both of them since beauty is taking majority of my time.

Daniel Hager

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with liking 2 fields. I mean there are so many more and there’s a reason why why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Product Retouching and Frequency separation

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, to be fair I would love to explore to go into product retouching. Just want something to try.

Daniel Hager

By more frequent deceleration I mean.

I mean with Products you have a lot of similar surfaces, so the issue I have with frequency separation on skinners because the texture is constantly changing.

An object that is either one or the other material usually doesn’t change, so then frequency separation is actually quite easy to use.

Exactly, that’s why it’s really interesting when people learn researching like how do I do this, or how do I do this? Like something specific and and that’s why when?

I used to teach her so you have to think of what kind of problem is is a color problem is a texture problem.

Natalia Fadejeva

Is there a light problem or is it like all over above? So when I teach what’s interesting to me is when people come and ask or how do I?

Removes or retouch this particular thing.

What I try to teach is you need to think of what kind of problem is. It could be a problem in a texture or of color or luminosity, or we could build all of these three things above, because I don’t specifically know how to approach a specific area when I problems.

I just look at it. I try to deconstruct it and see what tools are having forced upon. How can I push to fix it?

Is a 2 string needs to be fixed on match? Is that you need to make the lighter or darker is the color is mismatching because we need to construct it’s easier to.

Fixing a replicator adjustment.

Anything from lashes to clothing to head.

You name it.

Daniel Hager

Well, it’s it’s a fundamental thing here that you that you touched. There are tons of especially free tutorials on stuff like how to retouch eyes, how to brighten eyes and stuff. But here’s this really the right question to ask, right?

Natalia Fadejeva


Exactly, and that’s what I felt. Uh, is missing in all of the tutorials is they go to select to remove armpit crease or how to?

Remove this, but I think in every of that question, even if the person will look specifically for that, you need to talk broader.

As you said.

Daniel Hager

The other question is that when there is a tutorial, how to brighten eyes, is that actually what professionals are doing to images?

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, why are you doing this? What’s the reason for that? Why do you need to brighten while you’re trying to achieve? For the sake of?


Or is it something that will add to the image?

Daniel Hager

Yeah, because then when when people are learning and they seem to terrorists like OK, how to do this? How do you do this? They get our assumption of this has to be done to every image.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, definitely I also, it’s it’s exciting you come and you discover for a shop and it’s exciting. But that’s why I think a lot of people who I hear suffered for a shop like me.

They start with photo manipulation and changing backgrounds and putting and drawing stuff on top of it because it’s exciting. It’s only eventually.

Like it comes down and it’s small refinements and adjustments.

Then you do to make it looking professional, more cohesive together.

But yeah, and it’s also to do with training your eye.

You just don’t see because I look at my old images and I still look at my some images for a couple months back and I just don’t understand why I did what I did.

Daniel Hager

But that’s the artistry is like never being satisfied and never being good enough.

Natalia Fadejeva

You could also think it’s you progress.


Because we we have that everything in our life, you look at your old images of yourself you like Jesus.

What the hell was I thinking? We saw that like purple hair was OK or like this jeans where like it is OK but you know, like you thought something that was amazing like I remember as a girl I discovered black eyeliner and I saw smashing it.

Daniel Hager

Well, who said purple hair wasn’t OK?

Natalia Fadejeva


All over my eyes half hazardly was made me look literally like the best thing ever or a look back and just Jesus but you know it’s progress you taste change so it’s the same with photography.

Yes, it’s an artist in you. In you have to look at your work vertically, but at the same time.

Your eye has developed. You see stuff differently.

And then.

Current Industry trends in makeup and retouching

Daniel Hager

Yeah, but also did trends are changing so maybe that was the current trend to use heavy makeup. Now it’s the trend again to use heavy makeup and you as a retouch I have to you.

Follow what’s going on anyway, so that alone.

Might change and.

There’s the aspect of you have a personal preference, but then there is a trend that you as a professional have to follow so and they might not align, they might converge.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, definitely. Also, I notice you were talking about changing makeup trends.

Throughout the years, definitely. It’s interesting to even look at like old campaigns from a specific fashion designer back then and how they use now. There’s definitely less retouching, but also it’s different, I feel.


So if I have a beauty client from another country, it’s one way or for example, if I have from LA.

Which is very social media influence. And there’s a lot of indie makeup companies. It’s way more heavy. The root touching is required to be heavier. Well, the client thing my natural is.


It’s not enough, and they naturally is not why I consider natural and the makeup is heavy and they were touching his hair because that’s what the client wants and this seems like everyone is in. Even though yeah, I try, I really try to.

Do it less but then.

The vision comes through like we.

Need more like Oh no.

She’s basically what I have.

No creases.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, but there’s just so much you can do and as we touch us we are at the end of the chain basically and we’re not influencing the trends so we can still try to push our not necessarily agenda so, but what we think is right and have you ever been confronted with something that was?

Natalia Fadejeva


Daniel Hager

Asked by client where he said it’s like no kind of a moral issue to go that far with an.

Image no I.

Natalia Fadejeva

Haven’t had anything like this happen to me, luckily.

Uh, my only had if it was a specific request and that was not possible to do in Photoshop because there’s limitations, but luckily no. I haven’t had anything too drastic.


Daniel Hager

But then you have your your own taste and with your client is saying how we demand more, you are like stepping back and saying, OK, you’re the client, you are giving your setting boundaries and I just step back and do what what I’m paid to do.

Natalia Fadejeva

So usually I do what my client asks.

I try to do somewhere in the middle I can show them and say look we could push slightly like this and if they don’t like it.

Well then I do what they want if they want all the creases completely gone then they have to go on.

I do someone, uh, halfway like look, if they completely remove is slightly reduced, it still looks a bit more perfect, but you know.

We still retaining this natural appearance to also try to to because client education is also very important. I learn a lot from my clients, but I think I need to show them as well because.

Come with me.

What’s possible and what I think could be better, and I constantly make some suggestions and sometimes they get completely wild. I’m completely fine with them like that’s not what she sees or he says.


Then I’m fine with it.

And I’m fine with it.

The business side of retouching

Daniel Hager

You mentioned in university you haven’t really been taught of how to run a business, so how has this changed for you?

You were asked to set up your business and had to figure out on your own how to do that. So how has that changed in what what we are kind of stepping stones?

You have to, yeah, overcome.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, you just try a lot of stuff and doesn’t work when you adjust. I started as a self employed and now nearly coming to a year. I have transitioned to being limited company my taxes used to be crying literally every year.

Not only I hate doing them, I just want to do everything right. I’m just waiting. I’m just so worried.

I’m scared I know HMRC is coming knocking at the door ’cause I’m like the worst person. I’m not trying to brag anything, but I don’t think anything but I’m just like scared of authority.

Need to do it from properly. Everything needs to be logged in and I hate it there and it’s stressing me out.

I would go on official website and read it and get three different meanings from one thing and I’m still learning this fan and I’m panicking from now on. I can sing song my it was my first day without crying. I don’t know why did I.

I don’t know why I did.

I haven’t got one before, so and then again.

Daniel Hager

Being a business owner is stressful, so there’s no way around that. I mean, in business there are ups and downs.

Currently we are in the Corona lockdown crisis and a lot of businesses are struggling, but we we always have times where things go more smoothly and especially when starting out, it’s not.

Easy, no matter what you are doing and sometimes there is this wishful thinking of how running a business would be. And then there’s the reality of it, which is not necessarily pretty all the time.

Natalia Fadejeva

Definitely, and it’s just, uh.

Then it’s basically putting out fires constantly. You have one problem rising in and you deal with that. I think each person has some sort of core values that they have and how they want to run their business so.

So I run mine basing my values that are more, I think right and so far it’s certainly really well.

But yeah, it’s just usually I. I don’t know like I genuinely do not know all of this stuff. I try to do a research where I can. I deal with it as I can and I learn on the go.

Because you look at any person who started business half the time, they say I don’t know no one for us. It’s not something that gets thrown in school. How to run business I don’t know.

And you don’t.

And even if you go on a course, it’s something in paper is not exactly the same. What happens in everyday basis?


If there’s a conflict between the client you deal with, and if there’s another problem you deal with it, I’m spending more time now finances and looking.

Into how to invest back into the business and.

Yeah, I’m just learning as everyone Allison.

Just one day at a time.

I know it’s not in this inspiring way.

Daniel Hager

It’s fine, I mean obviously we have to get work done and retouching.

I mean the obvious.

Hasn’t it? Isn’t as the retouching wasn’t time consuming, it can be so as a business owner not having someone take care of your finances.

Natalia Fadejeva


Daniel Hager

So you have to do it yourself, and obviously you have to manage your time. The work you have to get done and in the business side of running a business obviously takes time too and then goes a lot of figuring out how to make sides work for you.

Is there something that helped you on the way of running a business? Is there? Are there some tools that you are using that made it much easier now for you? Something like that?

Natalia Fadejeva

So business wise I use Google Calendar.

I sometimes slip off when it gets during busy periods, but usually I I block out my entire day and what I want to do.

I see.

Try to do by a week, but Jesus eats. I never know. It changes constantly. It changes constantly. I think this how my week is and I’m still bad with I over estimate how much I can get done.

I’m just overly enthusiastic like I’ll be able to do this and this and then squeeze another one in here.

Forgetting that actually needs to eat and sleep as well. But yeah, I just I, just that been really good because usually.

It’s normal to do this, which I still do when I get really crazy busy and I don’t have time to do the calendar.

The problem with you doing this is.

Like I don’t have time to live to do this.

I don’t have to squeeze this in, but if you broke out the entire calendar, you do certainly still have an hour here.

Or now there where you can see that you’re spending too long time on specific task where it doesn’t need to be just because you’re daydreaming or getting distracted so it’s easier to see that you actually have time and you can’t really put it off. You have to.

Do uh?

But it’s something that happens to a lot of people to get lost in terms of not figuring out how to be time efficient, and it happens to us during retouching tools. Sometimes, as you have phases where.

I don’t know, you’re just a little bit slower and you’re not as focused, and you’re not as critical with yourself off keeping to your time schedule, and that’s very difficult sometimes as a retention.

Definitely some days are better and sometimes I’m trying to become better to myself, not to.

Me so strict with myself because I can’t expect myself to constantly perform 100% or it’s just not realistic.

Not all days are good days and I take my work really seriously, but some days it’s just very difficult to stay concentrated and annoy the lack of sleep or something happening somewhere else.

And there’s just no matter why, you just keep constantly getting the structure and your mind is wandering somewhere else. And instead of taking this much time, you still sitting in the same dimensions.

Dragging your heels with it.

So, but calendar really helps and another thing is terms of financing. So I use accounting software O.

But ordinary bag let me think I don’t think I use anything else in terms of business running so so from a business I have a list of stuff that I would like to get achieved in my business or would like to do. They don’t have a specific time.


Kind of so whenever I figure something out or just, I feel like I have a little epiphany moment, something that I started it when I used to do one on one, and there’s certain ways I thought of something that could be easier to explain to someone.

Or to do I put it there so it’s little like one line sentences? Or this is this? Or I notice something that could be done differently in a corner?

What to do?

And I’ve put screenshots and now writing like or. I discovered if I use this, this was better and quicker or had better outcome and stuff like that and keep like complicities maybe eventually to turn because I would love to go back into social media and maybe put some educational material.

Out there with little tips and if it will help anyone.

That would be amazing.


Let me start at least posting so people know that I exist.

Daniel Hager

Can force ourselves to both. You forced me to do it and I felt the need to do it.

Natalia Fadejeva

To be fair, yeah, because I had one other photographers like just send me your password. I’m going to start posting for use like waiting for you.

Just you have to wait him an excuse and look. But no, I’m like I’m so busy it’s all crap. I do have time, it’s just more like anxiety and.

All this stuff couple notes. Our social media To Do List.

Daniel Hager

So you have a social media To Do List, but getting anything done is OK.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, I know, I know, I know.

But certain stuff were ticked off. I’m just gonna run in June like the social media and this I you have different profiles like you can have website.

You can have LinkedIn. You can have baby hands or Instagram, Facebook and it’s stuff like update their website. Pull the latest stuff of remove relevant information. Delete all profiles.

Retouching Tools And Retouching Workflows

In my productivity improvements, it’s another noise I have is like certain stuff that I wanted to do. For example morning he is.

When I switched to working capture one.

I I took as awards but eventually I have decluttered there. After using it for a while. You know which panels and which sliders or which parts of capture one use.

So I have decluttered it and kept only the stuff that you saw against a streamlined process to make it quicker to only keeping the stuff that I need to make sure.

Like I have my workspace backed up, I have my brushes, favorite brushes that I use that backed up.

Daniel Hager

Especially with Photoshop, sometimes it. Sometimes there’s an update, it just messes everything and you lose all your workspace and your actions, and then I remember back in the day they advertised, so we now have the cloud and you can back up your settings and your keyboard shortcuts and all of that stuff into the cloud.

 Natalia Fadejeva

It is.

Oh my God.

Daniel Hager

And then there was a new major update and they said, oh, we’re scratching that feature off the cloud. We don’t save that stuff. I have to rebuild everything.

Natalia Fadejeva

But tell me about it, I’m only for 2017.

Natalia Fadejeva

Still I did the 2020 then it was a major update started by gaining hours mid campaign trying to retouch it and got freaking angry when about 2017 still best version for me and love it.

Daniel Hager

I got very angry about how they messed with the healing brush tool, but Speaking of tools, so how? How does he set up look like?

How do you? I mean you you said already in terms of software using capture one, then obviously Photoshop or what? What else are you using?

Natalia Fadejeva

So my physical tab in the desk is very simple. I keep everything very clean, barely anything on there. On a desk there’s only keyboard, mouse, tablets and screen.

Icon on the same around the house, he has to be working or otherwise I get irritated and unconstrained. I feel like there’s so much going in there for a short that everything else for me. Needs to be very basic and simple so and I don’t get distracted.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, you’re using a welcome tablet.

Yeah, I use a walking tablet. It is let me turn around and.


Yeah, so yeah I’m using this one. My first one was a bamboo pen. The only reason I have this into this one is I want it in a context when we’re touching so.

And I do like the pen. It’s been nice, but other than that.

Daniel Hager

Do you also use different pens or different nibs for it?

I do I. Initially I used the flex nib one.

Natalia Fadejeva

I think it’s like the one with the little white tip with the regular on end.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, I’m just saying I some people hate it, but I kind of like the feedback so.

Natalia Fadejeva

I really like as well.

That’s exactly.

Well, I want to ask you more about your fingers, so I notice how old my pen with so.


How do people usually hold their pen is between they thumb, index finger and middle finger?

Right, so so dependent rests on your middle finger.

Right, so I don’t do that. My pen rests on my ring finger. I don’t know why, because otherwise I guess strain. I’ve done that in all my life I’ve been.

Like a waiter doing this.

So, but anyway, talking with.

Daniel Hager

There’s another technique that I used in school sometimes to mix up the the way I hold the pen in general, and it’s even more drastic.

Instead of putting the band between your thumb and your index, you can put it between your index and your middle thing.

And then holding it basically with everything else. It takes some getting used to it, but it completely changes the way how you? Yeah, yeah, how your whole hand is, it’s worth it.

Natalia Fadejeva

Something to try on.

Daniel Hager

It’s a bit weird at the beginning, but sometimes just to mix things up and to make it easier on your on your hands and knuckles. Not good way to add to mix things.

Natalia Fadejeva

But that’s why I wanted to ask. So what I notice on my ring finger over the years of retouching is first I have like a.

Natalia Fadejeva

This weird dent on my nail plate that it has this formed over the years because of a constant pressure and also as a girl when I grow up my nails to be long like on my right hand side my nail.

Daniel Hager

It’s probably eating up your tablet, but what I also use this the they have these different grips for putting on the pen so I have. There’s a really thick.

Natalia Fadejeva


Daniel Hager

Grip to put on. I mean I can’t use the clicky buttons on it anymore because it doesn’t have a space.

For it but.

Natalia Fadejeva

Oh no, I can’t. I need my clicky buttons.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, but that also changes the way how how you hold it and how you apply pressure to the pen. I’d like to mix things up, have different pens, different different ways of holding it.

Natalia Fadejeva

Oh, do you have also what I call the touch, his elbow when one of your elbows looks super wet because it comes to lean on it.

Daniel Hager

And it’s not my not my elbow, but my shoulder. I get strains in my muscles underneath my shoulder blade and right arm.

Natalia Fadejeva

Isn’t it shorter?

Oh yeah, it’s interesting because for example, it’s so different because for me, my elbow, I rub material off the fabric.

Daniel Hager

Are you using the tablet in front of you or do you have it on the side where you usually would use the mouse?

Natalia Fadejeva

In front of me I tried on the side.

Daniel Hager

Now see, so that’s why you you are putting your elbow on the desk and then obviously you have to angle up so that puts more strain on it. And I put my tablet on the side so my elbow usually rests on my chairs arm rest.

Natalia Fadejeva

I try, I want it to work so bad I can’t. I only do it when I’m.

 Daniel Hager

Yeah, it’s it’s so Different, difficult to change that because it completely changes how you have to move your arm and your hand.

 Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, I only do when I work with my mobile setup when I’m traveling.

it’s different and then this space that is restricted then I.


If this space is restricted.

And you work from a laptop and it’s further away.

And then it’s kind of weird because I have to lean into it, so I put on the side and then I re map the active area, but at home, no, it’s not fun. I feel better eye to hand coordination when I’m with touching.

Daniel Hager

So you have a small tablet using it in front of you. Let’s go over like monitor and stuff because that’s the rest of your setup and how you connect to the actual image.

Natalia Fadejeva

So I was talking about and I have PC. I worked on Mac before. I had a laptop.

As my mobile working set up well Farmer might have a self built PC.

He was helping me to do all the research and everything and it was quite fun. A little project and really love it because my Mac book was buying everything was.

15 minutes just to apply or open like noise filtering. So I needed to.

Daniel Hager

Oh yeah, I mean yeah. Sometimes I mean time is money and also we get frustrated sitting and not working.

Oh yes.

Yes, exactly because it’s all about, you know when you’re touching is going good you you can’t in the in the zone you in the flow and it’s just going the time flies by.

And because it’s so difficult to re concentrate and that’s why it was difficult to work from home the first year after university, I went back to live with my parents.

Is late can I ask you for five minutes? Can I ask for five minutes and it feels like it’s nothing but first there’s five minutes add up and it’s difficult to bring your concentration back and be like OK where was I?


So yeah, I just have Windows based software PC.

Before it was needed to do because I wanted to work something that could handle my images open quickly and just do want to wait for it. My screen is it’s I so I we decided two years ago to invest into a professional screen.


The one with the little self calibrating thingy that comes out.


Because I wanted to do the job soon, he kind of raced every Monday.

Well, a good sleep it does its job so I don’t have to think about it. So it’s quite nice and I love the hood.

Daniel Hager

Oh yeah, reflections are a huge thing.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, a console everyone suddenly you sitting in the dark you gotta bring your eyes and like no sitting runs.

It’s correct level of ambiance for me, so my eyes are not tired so the order light doesn’t influence talking in which the light I. I also have little effect.


So it’s it’s like Philips Hue is something similar, so I’d like to use it because I can control how light is and control the the warm flight so it’s easier to control my surroundings.

The line.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, and then obviously you have the hood on the monitor and you minimize the reflections and not having the surroundings influence how you see the image too much.

And that’s yeah, that’s important. I mean people, they underestimate how eating the light in your room can influence how you see.

Or perceive the image right?

Natalia Fadejeva

Exactly and I did as well. I remember once back again home when I used to be just our university living in my parents.

My table used to stand just in front of the window and I remember one day I was editing an image.

And it was really sunny outside and edited the image and I looked at it in evening and the client client came back as like it’s so yellow and I looked in, you know, Jesus, it was so yellow.

But it’s so interesting, and that’s where I’ve been exploring, learning and then teaching. So how color perception happens in your brain? And that’s how that’s why it’s so.

Easy to fool your own brain or how you see it.

That’s why in controlling your environment is so important. That’s why when I travel this thing that I have discovered, so I bought it off.

Amazon is kind of like a blackout blind on suction cups, which is for actually for babies, so you know babies sleep during the day, so people use if they’re traveling.

They use those blackout such problems that attach the windows or baby can see.

So I use it in my temporary rented harm or when I travel because you could be somewhere else when you need to control how much light it is and not all curtains block out the light and you don’t want to see in complete darkness, but you want to kind of somewhat control it. So I would take that with me as well, which was really, really useful to again.

To control my environment to make it walkable, if I had to work when I go.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, that’s super interesting. I’ve never heard someone doing that, but it totally makes sense.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, it’s just that I find myself working quite long ago. Once I just bring my work constantly with me so.

Trying to find a work around to make comfortable as he said this, like squinting means everything is hurt and you’re getting more frustrated. And all these factors have glossy screens since he’s staying back.

Daniel Hager

It’s a nightmare, so I my laptop doesn’t have a glare screen, so it has a matte screen. I specifically it’s not the best screen in terms of color rendition, but I.

Opted for one that has a matte screen for because I hadn’t gone crazy with reflections. It’s one of my pet peeves.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, I didn’t think about it when it was my.

My PC screen is obviously and like man or Saturn, but the the laptop one is is glossy actually want to ask you how did you find working on 4K for retouching? Because I have specific.


Daniel Hager

I am not even using Folking so I have a 2K monitor but yeah.

Natalia Fadejeva


Yeah, because I have a sentic. It’s so different going from using a monitor to going a display device that you put in right in front of you because these you used to setting different zoom levels and stuff while you work and that changes with how big your monitors and how your resolution is.

So that might get, or it might take some getting used to.

Natalia Fadejeva

So the reason I’m asking is so big so it’s really interested in why you work on, because what I found is why I find everything so sharp. I end up over retouching images.

And I was just wondering if you know if people had the same old but like I don’t I could understand why people love it because I was like I just look at the images then back at my desktop workstation and it’s it’s so very touched because everything is so sharp and crisp and it looks amazing. But then I end up keep. I keep seeing stuff that needs to be fixed.

It actually doesn’t need to be fixed.

Daniel Hager

I think the biggest issue there might be that not only the resolution of the display, but also the the display is much smaller, so you tend to zoom in more for it.

That might be the reason, but that’s what I find the same with my small cintique that when I have that in front of me, I zoom in much further than I’m used to and I need help so much more and I.

It takes me much more time than using a regular tablet on my screen, so yeah, it’s it’s difficult jumping back and forth, but it’s the same with for me.

I get crazy working on my laptop because I have to control my lighting and or I might not even be able to control it the same way as on my workstation.


Yeah, there’s that to be said. I mean, it’s never easy to jump from two different.

Working environments or different devices from one to another and trying to be consistent because most of our consistency comes from working on the same setup again and again and again.

So what do you use to make sure your files are properly stored? And is there system you’re using for that?

Natalia Fadejeva

Just to go through the files, I use Adobe Bridge too. OK, wait, let me think some of us are organized now going deaf, so all my files organize, pay by year, end per month and then by client and project of that month.

Have you found through Adobe Bridge because before using a Mac based system and in back through the the explorer thing you you could see how PSD files look like but Windows doesn’t have a PSD codec so you have no clue how it looks like and I started using.

Bridge and it’s actually good.

Bridge and it’s actually.

Why you set it up the way you like? It’s so easy to browse files if everything is organized.

And then my, uh, my hard drive with work is backed up when we’re using Backblaze. It just goes into.

Hey external, somewhere cloud based system? Yeah, it’s just a backup system and then we might order years of files.

They are either in external hard drives that are in use and digesting coverage where they backed up to Backblaze as well, and I recognize them like every 30 days just to make sure they don’t delete them and then and then I have what you help me to set up is to set up their rate system in my computer from one of my current hard drives.

In it.

Delete them.

My computer.

Where Muscone Worksets is basically deprecated and also backed up to Backblaze.

Daniel Hager

So for people who don’t know, so if they actually work, you’re doing on your computer is on a mirrored hard drive.

So if one hard drive fails, you still have your data and then you are backing up to external drives and to your cloud system. So consider needed something or your computer fails or anything. You will still have.

The hard drive in your place, and if you replace were to burn down on that hard drive failed, you still have your back.

This site backups.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, mostly black plays for the reasons of the older hard drives are usually mostly keep from my work for previous year like 2013, 2016 and suffered that and the most recent work is sits on my current PC because I need to access it because I need to access it more frequently, but that’s about it because.

I remember you were helping me the most.

Took whole thing for me to understand and was so daunting, but I knew it had to be done.

Hey Bob.

Because there’s so many options, I just didn’t know what to change.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, yeah, sure, but then better to get something done in instead of pushing it away until something happens. And then obviously it’s it’s too late to decide for something, so I mean, it might be complicated, but once you have set up a workflow.

For backing up things, that’s pretty much automated and you don’t have to.

Care about it for quite some time.

Natalia Fadejeva


I mean, I remember once and why don’t I still watch for my life book? I spoke to you in a mid campaign and was sitting, crying, drying it. I managed to.

I managed to make it work, but don’t drink tea while you wait, touching.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, electronics and liquids don’t mix well.

Natalia Fadejeva


Like my power button completely dies, so the only way I could make computer startup is to make sure it was connected to the main and from the back I would disconnect the battery from the motherboard and when we connect it back it would start up and make sure it never shuts down so professional.

Daniel Hager

Well, it worked.

Natalia Fadejeva

It it did work, I couldn’t afford anything else.

Daniel Hager

I mean your problems. All of us anyways as retouches so why not in other fields?

Natalia Fadejeva


Daniel Hager

We might come to an end here because we have been talking about so many things and it’s amazing how much insight you can deliver and I’m sure many people are very thankful to get insights from someone who’s actually working in the industry for quite some years and has seen quite some change.

So thanks for taking your time, but for people who are looking up to the work you’re doing and want to get there, so is there some IT wise?

What advice would you give to such people who are eager to get there? So what should they be looking out for or something?

Natalia Fadejeva

Oh, here will be very very generic one because it’s true. It’s always the most simple answers are the ones that you definitely have to practice their crazy diet.

As I stand by it, that’s where I got my most.

Knowledge form is by problem solving for client and new tasks and practicing. I mean right now on a monthly basis I would touch no less than 100 images per month.

And all of them are beauty ones.

So you guys are so much practicing under your belt, you have no other way to go. You won’t even go forward and keep advancing, and also.

Keep learning constantly. There could be this little thing that someone does differently that we could help you and ask questions.

You can always message me. I’m the person who believes like I will help you. I’ll tell you everything the way it is like I’m not hold anything back was available.

Daniel Hager

Oh, that’s nice to know. Speaking of website probably, which is.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, it’s a or not if is NATLYF or touching the comp and same on social media and may be slow to reply because I get busy, but I will reply eventually.

If you write a couple times.

Daniel Hager

I mean, people have to be patient, right?

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, definitely. I had an experience where I do work weekends by having experience when one particular breaking uh, I was out and a person wrote to me and I haven’t replied within two hours and was like OK then you know interested.

I do.

Daniel Hager

Oh jeez, yeah, sometimes we get these right but.

Natalia Fadejeva

I was out. I was like I didn’t see I didn’t even see where he.



Daniel Hager

Maybe at some point we should gather all these weird things that happen to us in business and client relation and put that into one source, which might be very funny to go through.

Natalia Fadejeva

True, actually it could be. Yeah, we know.

Daniel Hager

Anyway, no, I think it was very detailed podcast that we have recorded. We went into detail and so many things we got so many insights you gave advice what people should be looking out for. Practice, practice, practice. And yeah, maybe we can find you on your website on your Instagram.

Daniel Hager

I have to thank you again for spilling all that knowledge, sharing all that knowledge which.

Natalia Fadejeva

No problem, I’m really happy to help.

Daniel Hager

And I would like to sit down with you again, like maybe maybe in a year or something where we could go over like make a short every sort going over changes in the industry or something else.

Because like now people got to know you and it’s really great to have you put yourself out there, here. And yeah, share all of what?

You know, so it would be nice to have you back at some point.

Natalia Fadejeva

Yeah, no problem.

Daniel Hager


Natalia Fadejeva

You know how to get me.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, sure, I know.

Natalia Fadejeva

Just message me too anytime, so until I give up.

Daniel Hager

Yeah, I’m just going to message you like 100 times. I’m sending you cat images of my cat and perfect great.

Natalia Fadejeva

I’m happy.

Daniel Hager

So yeah, let’s wait until we can have you back and see you around. Thanks for sticking around. Thanks for taking the time and talk to you soon.

Natalia Fadejeva

Thank you.


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