Retouching. I can has it – sort of.

My job needed some nice-ish pictures of Heineken bottles for a project we’re working on, so I went and picked up a six-pack and photographed them in a variety of positions (“Okay, lean a little in, nice, smile a bit, good…”) in a conference room while my co-worker held up a large white piece of paper behind them. When I finished, I realized that unretouched photos, even ones of bottles, look, well, not great. So I spent the five hours makin’ ’em look purty. Take into account that I don’t really know how to retouch things, so I was making it up as I went along.

First of all, retouching is really hard. Every time you fix something, you notice something else that doesn’t look right. It’s an ouroboros of annoying. The main problem I came across (aside from having to edit out dirt flecks and light flares for what seemed like forever) is that Heineken’s bottle is darkish green and their beer is tea-colored. However, they like to give the impression that their bottle is bright green and their beer is golden and lit from the inside with a heavenly light, like an angel accidentally dropped a halo into it. I’m not going to get that effect taking photos in a conference room with natural light. So I did the best I could lightening and greening-up the beer, while not modifying the label or the cap, which didn’t need greening. I reiterate, a colossal pain in the patoot. Mad props to my retouching friends who do this for a living. My hat goes off to you.

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