Last week we wrapped up our second and very unique RGG EDU Community Assignment. The assignment was to retouch a RAW file provided to our Facebook group by RGG EDU instructor, Dani Diamond.
We were overwhelmed with over 100 submissions, each with a unique style and approach to the image. We narrowed submissions down to our favorite 15 and left the final decision up to Dani Diamond himself. Dani replied,
"I like Rizz Raza's edit the most. The dodge and burn and frequency separation is flawless and natural. There's great detail left in the skin and the toning is natural and pleasing to look at. I also like the slight crop."
To stand out in a pool of over 100 submissions and be chosen by Dani himself was a major feat. We caught up with Rizz Raza to learn more about his submission:
Tell us about yourself and the work you do. Are you primarily a photographer, retoucher, or both?
My name is Muhammad Raza and I'm from Melbourne Australia. I'm primarily a photographer who loves retouching. In the past couple of years I've invested a lot of time improving my retouching workflow to take my photography to next level. Since I've come across RGG EDU tutorials, I've explored different genres of photography, fashion, portraits and also a bit of fitness. But I've been primarily focusing on fashion photography, however I also shoot weddings and documentaries on the side.
How long have you been photographing/retouching?
I started back in 2006 as a photo retoucher in a photo lab in a small city of Pakistan, my hometown Quetta. For almost two years I colorized black and white photos before I started composites and designing wedding albums which eventually led me to shooting weddings. After moving to Australia in 2009, I started exploring new learning resources and genres of photography which grew my interest in fashion photography.
What brought you to RGG EDU and which tutorials have you watched?
I came across RGG EDU tutorials while attending a Peter Coulson workshop in 2015. So I started with Peter’s Black and White Photography, then Natural Light Portraiture & Retouching With Dani Diamond. Commercial Retouching Workflow with Sef McCullough is next on my list to purchase.
Talk us through retouching this image. What was your vision? What was the process? What did your workflow look like?
I wanted to keep the edit as natural looking as possible, especially on the skin. Since the model had freckles I wanted to preserve that aesthetic. I also wanted to achieve the slightly tanned skin tone that Dani typically has in his images.
I started off in Lightroom by slightly adjusting the whites and blacks and then moved to Photoshop. After removing blemishes and hair from her face, I followed Peter Coulson's editing workflow for dodge & burn and sculpting the face. I then used Dani Diamond's workflow to color grade the image. I finished with Jake Hicks’ technique of enhancing the highlights and sharpening the overall image which works very well for most of my edits.
What does your workstation look like?
I edit on a 15" MacBook Pro with a medium-size Wacom Pro tablet. For this image I used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC.
Did you learn anything new working on this image?
Retouching Dani's image taught me to have a clear vision of the final edit before clicking the shutter. Often I'm distracted by the direction of light, background, etc. while shooting. Keeping it simple and natural during a shoot and retouching is what I learned from retouching this image.
What are you currently working on? What are your goals for 2018?
After 9 years away, I will be traveling to my home country of Pakistan next month. I'm planning a few workshops to teach photography and retouching basics to those back home not fortunate enough to have access to the learning resources and contents we have in Australia.
I will also be working on a project photographing people from my community in a series of portraits to tell their stories and the isolation they live in. My goal is to establish myself as a professional fashion and portrait photographer by the end of this year.
Where can we see more of your work?