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Photography Insight and Tips from Photographer, Retoucher and Trainer- Glyn Dewis

Heath Robinson
June 27, 2013
Time to read:
9 Minutes

Glyn Dewis is a well-known photographer, retoucher, trainer, and lucky for us, also a fan of Topaz plug-ins.  Because of Glyn’s expertise, we wanted to pick his brain and share some of his wealth of knowledge with the Topaz Labs community.

Topaz: Can you give us a quick overview of your typical post-processing workflow?

Glyn: Sure thing. I work with both Lightroom and Photoshop so everything begins life in Lightroom and this is where I prepare the image for more detailed retouching in Photoshop. Lightroom has advanced so much in such a short space of time and I’m now finding that I do more with it at the start so things like working on eyes, removing blemishes, colour correction and so on are very quick.

I export images out from Lightroom as Smart Objects and then get to work in Photoshop for the more detailed retouching and for me the advantage doing this is that it makes my workflow nondestructive and incredibly flexible, meaning I can go back in and alter something later if I need to. I work in Adobe RGB and 16 Bit so I always start off with a RAW image as it gives me the most information to work with and the ability to make changes without damaging the file.

Topaz: You use Topaz plug-ins when processing many of your images, what is your best Topaz post-processing tip?

Glyn: The results that Topaz filters give me is quite unique and to a large degree something that would take considerable effort to replicate with Photoshop alone. For me, I have found that I get the best results by applying the effects/filters much stronger than I actually want them to be and then once back into Photoshop using the opacity on the layer to dial in what I want and also use Layer Masks to control how much of the effect I want in certain parts of my picture.

The GREAT thing is that Topaz works seamlessly as a Smart Object in Photoshop so I can dive back in and make changes just like applying any filter within Photoshop and that’s a BIG deal.

Topaz: You have a very distinct photographic style, how did you develop this?

Glyn: Style is something I’ve always been fascinated by. I mean, how do you get your own style? What I have learned is that you can’t force a style and I know this may sound a little heavy but I tend to believe that your style finds you.

I was once told that your style is very much a representation of your personality and yeah now we’re beginning to sound heavy right? But think about it, look closely at the work of others and you will see their likes and dislikes in there. You’ll never see me doing pictures of people jumping around with balloons on a white seamless background; my pictures tend to be much more darker and I guess you could say ‘moody’.

Now that doesn’t mean I’m moody obviously but it’s what I’m drawn to…does that make sense? Basically what I’m saying is keep doing what you’re doing and eventually your style will show itself as I guess it has for me. You can’t force your style just as you can’t force your personality.

Topaz: The lighting in your images is beautiful and almost other worldly; is this a result of your initial lighting, post-processing, or a combination of the two?

Glyn: Obviously the final look in my pictures is a combination of both the photography and Photoshop, but it all starts in the camera. I take my time to get the lighting exactly how I want it and I do also use a light meter these days so that as much as possible I can spend my time retouching being creative as opposed to corrective. I get a real buzz out of working the lighting so that once in Photoshop I can use the tools available to me to add to the mood and an overall feel

Topaz: Post-processing and retouching can be quite time consuming, do you have any time saving tips?

Glyn: Sure thing. I’m a big believer in planning and preparation. When I first started out I would be all excited about having a photo shoot, I’d take the photos, get them into Photoshop and then find myself scratching my head thinking “Now what?” I didn’t know what to do to the pictures, which direction to take them.

What turned things around for me was to take time beforehand planning exactly what it is I want the final picture to look like. I collect all kinds of pictures constantly from across the Internet, magazines and so on and create moodboards to help narrow down exactly what I want to do so that when it comes to the retouching, as soon as the image files are in the computer, I’m up and running because I know exactly what I want to create.

Taking the time to plan might seem like another thing to do when all we really want is to create new pictures but believe me, the time you save by planning everything out is incredible.

Topaz: Do you have any advice for photographers who are new to the world of post-processing and retouching?

Glyn: Absolutely…keep in the learning zone. Photoshop is such a massive tool and can at first be a little intimidating and confusing so the best advice I would give is to do little and often. Try to put aside just a little time each day to learn and practice. I’m not talking hours at a time but even 15 to 30 minutes a day is better than nothing. Set yourself a goal of learning a specific skill such as ‘enhancing eyes’ and only concentrate on that for a week.

Make notes too. There’s so much information out there to take in, it’s impossible to remember it all so make your own notes in your own notebooks…even if it’s a technique you’re learning from a book because in 6 months time when you need to remind yourself of a technique, you’ve then got to find the book or magazine you read it in out of countless other books and magazines.

About Glyn Dewis

Glyn is a photographer, retoucher, trainer and Photoshop World instructor currently based just outside of Oxford in the UK. He works both nationally and internationally with his main area of working being promotional and commercial material for industry professionals, physique athletes, musicians, bands and up and coming actors.

Glyn is an Adobe Community Professional and a Kelby Training Instructor, teaching workshops on Adobe Photoshop and advanced retouching techniques. He also offers private workshops and seminars on photography and Photoshop.

Website | YouTube | Facebook

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Heath Robinson