Based in Manchester, Katie Nattrass is a professional retoucher with an innovative eye for image retouching. Recently featured in Professional Photographer Magazine, Katie’s background in photography strengthens her ability to connect with the needs of clients and photographers. From editorial, fashion and beauty to products and commercial images, she has worked with an impressive array of clients such as Boohoo, Puma, Nike, JD Sports Fashion, Blacks Outdoor Retail and Boots UK. Katie was able to share with us some very valuable insights into post production as well as a quick lesson in Photoshop.
Working for global brands, Katie Nattrass is responsible for perfecting the final images for fashion campaigns using Photoshop. We asked Katie; how did you come to work in this industry?
“I started working as a photography assistant for a top commercial photographer called Matthew Seed; he said I was the strangest assistant he had ever had because I had no desire to get behind the camera. He taught me so much about the industry and business that after three years assisting I flew the nest and became a fully-fledged retoucher. I then went on to work with some amazing clients and work on global campaigns.”
You must sometimes have to work with challenging material. What are the most common mistakes photographers make?
“From a technical aspect I don’t really have to deal with too many ‘mistakes’ as I’m lucky enough now to be working with top end photographers who know what they are doing and what they want. When I first started out retouching I’d spend a lot of time correcting lighting, or emailing photographers explaining that they had lit their models so much that they had blown out any detail in their faces and left nothing but floating eyes. I found that people would literally point four lights at the model and start from there, rather than using one light and knowing what that’s doing first. This just showed a lack of control and a lake of understanding as to what their lights were actually lighting.”
So what does retouching an image involve? We asked Katie to take us through a typical example. Katie has chosen a beautiful image from Boohoo’s spring campaign;
“This image was shot on location in Lanzarote by our Head of Studio and Photography Graham Reid. The composition of the image was beautiful; the horizon line fell completely level behind the models, giving a fantastic balance of sky and the volcanic sands.
The first stage was to extend the frame as I knew this was going to be used for outdoor media, rather than crop into the image and loose visibility of the product it makes sense to expand out.
The next stage is the general clean-up of the shot, removing any distracting blemishes, and then sharpening to make it look really eye-catching and crisp.
Then it’s all about achieving the right colour temperature, there is no right or wrong answer here; it’s down to knowing your message and audience. In this case, I wanted to capture the landscape of Lanzarote and story of our shoot, making the image really warm – it’s as if you can feel the sun coming from the billboard. Bringing out the colour of the red sand was also important to give it some depth and make the metallic dress look almost space-like…they could almost be on Mars.
The final two stages are about the contrast and saturation. If you’re using the auto setting in Photoshop then stop right now – retouching is an art and by using auto you’re giving up your creative licence. This part can make or break a shot; you have to show control and watch what you’re doing with every area of the image”.
For more examples of Katie’s work, take a look at her website http://katienattrass.com/