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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Compositing for Commercial Photography

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Next Lesson: Pre-Shoot Planning

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

(applause) Thank you, thank you very much. Thanks for having me back. Joining me for Compositing for Commercial Photography, and I'm gonna give a big shout out to Creative Live for this because what this class is gonna be is this class is very much a practical guide to compositing for retouching, and one of the things I think is lacking out there in the plethora of education is a lot of people talk about process, and let's just talk about Photoshop, and what channel to use, and what curve to use. Not many people spend time talking about business, and the business about why do you use this channel or this process, because it's costing you time, it's costing you money. And there's this huge practical side to Photoshop that is lacking out there, and shout out to Creative Live for letting us do this. So, thank you for joining me. I am primarily an entertainment ad retoucher, however, I do do a lot of product and commercial entertainment retouching as well, and product entertainment retou...

ching, which is a whole 'nother cup of tea. You can find me at I'm on Facebook, I'm on LinkedIn, and Behance, and what else can I tell you? Today, which is really exciting, and again, another shout-out to Creative Live, is this is gonna be a co-class today, and today Christina Peters, food photographer, is joining me. She is a longtime colleague of mine. I've known her, I don't wanna say how many years, 'cause we're clearly very young. She's an amazing food shooter, and we went to school together. We went to Art Center for Photography 25, 30 years ago, something ridiculous like that. And she's taken off, she's got this amazing career. She's got a food blog, she's got a subscription service all about food photography and product photography, so I'm really happy to have her expertise here to help, because one of the things I think you guys may experience is that need to be an expert at everything. You can't be an expert at everything. You can own your division, and when need be, you wanna engage experts in their area, and when you do that, and when you collaborate, you become so much better. You're better for it. You wear your hat but you let them wear their hat, if that makes sense. And let's be honest, I'm sure most people who are tuning in and most of y'all, you wanna make a living at this, don't you? This is not just fun, this is not a hobbyist thing. You wanna make a living, you wanna pay your rent, your mortgage, and that's business, and I have never worked on a business job by myself, ever. There's always a client, there's always an art director, there's a photographer, there's assistants, there's accountants, and so, with Creative Live, we get to do that together. So, I think you're gonna really enjoy her. She's awesome and she's full of energy and pep. All right, who's this class good for? We're doing a product shoot, right, and retouching? Retouchers. Obviously for retouchers, this is gonna be awesome. Photographers. More and more, I'm sure in the room, I know I got a bunch of shooters in here as well out there in addition, you guys have to do your own retouching sometimes. The budget doesn't allow for it, right? So, this class can be great for you 'cause we're gonna give you tips and tricks on this. A hidden one: photographers who have to hire retouchers. My kingdom for a photographer who knows what to ask for. Do you understand what I'm saying? Like, who knows in advance, hey, should I call you before the job is shot, or should I call you after the job is shot? And so, this class will help educate photographers on that. Designers. Why this is good for designers is you know what to ask for. Now, let me explain a little bit about job flow. I am often hired by a photographer to do a retouch for their client. The photographer is my client, and they go to the product producer, the big guy, so I'm at the tail end of the job. Occasionally I'm hired by the content producer, the bottle maker, the drink maker. They hire a photographer, I am not in contact with that photographer, and I'm on the tail end. Designers, it's the same thing. Some designers work for the agency and they don't get to meet the photographer. And if you're a designer, what I'm hoping this course will do for you is to know what to ask for in advance. Back plates cover the product without everything in there, and often designers, I gotta tell you, you don't know what to ask, and then you're doing the job and you're thinking, oh, why didn't they just shoot it without the glass? Do you understand what I'm saying? Excellent. So, that's who this class is gonna be good for. Here's the overview of the class. So, what we're gonna do is we're gonna talk about preshooting, planning. Is is, without doubt, the most important part of the job. Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, cut once, that is that section. And so, we're gonna talk about planning the shoot, making a shot list, what you're looking for, what is the client asking for, what should they have asked for. Oh, that's a really important one. What are they asking for, what should they have asked for, and a plan of attack. So, for me, when a photographer hires me, I come in and say, great, how are we gonna approach this? 'Cause it's all about time and money, and access. So, we're gonna talk about shooting when we're on the set, we're gonna talk about issues, and you're gonna wanna write some of this stuff down, you're gonna want to take note of the steps. So, on that, there's a coverage plan, there's worksheets for a job list, like how do you make a work sheet, what do you look for, what are the things you have to check off, and the big clue is that's what you use to ask your clients. You don't do it when you're on the job, you do it when you get the phone call from the client, and you look at your worksheet and you say, oh my goodness, I need to ask, are we switching out the background? Oh, what else are you gonna use this for? And that worksheet will actually give you clue questions or cue questions. Then we're gonna do, we're gonna shoot, we're gonna go through that process, then the next section we're gonna do retouching, and we're gonna walk through how I do this kind of job. Hopefully that'll give you some good ideas. We're gonna talk about approval process and we're gonna talk about delivery, file delivery. That's the thing that's missing in education too. Does anyone ever talk about getting a job to the client and what are issues? I like to spend time discussing what's going off the rail, okay? I think, here's my philosophy on these courses, that we want to show you absolutely everything perfect, and everything, and isn't this great, and isn't this awesome, and this is how it works. We know life doesn't work that way, so what happens when you're on a job, or you're learning Photoshop and you're in the wrong area? I'm gonna show you where you're gonna fall off and what the warning signs are on that kinda stuff.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Compositing Companion Handout
Delivery Worksheet
Estimating Shoot Worksheet
Retouch Checklist 1
Retouch Checklist 2
Solar-Curves Action

Ratings and Reviews


Super Lisa is the best teacher. She makes learning Photoshop fun. Great course. Lisa has a great teaching style. She mixes in a great speech cadence, great voice up and down and pausing, jokes, and is extremely knowledgeable and fun to watch. Awesome course. Learned a lot from the course.

Anne Dougherty

I love Lisa Carney’s classes! She is casual yet precise, and she thinks like I do! The workflow logic of her process is brilliant. Really brilliant. I started working in PS version 1.something, as the publisher I worked for was just computerizing their department, and I was a total novice. But right from our first day working digitally, we had to create images and files that our novice printers could successfully print from. Lisa’s logic/approach is so familiar! Making things work on a deadline is an incredible way to learn time-saving techniques, and I wish I’d had Lisa crunching solutions with me. I am new to the newest PSCC, but all off her process made sense to me. She moves fast, so it might be a little tough for a total beginner, but she stops and explains things very clearly once she’s gone through it a time or two on a file, so, hopefully everyone can get things solidified for themselves. Now that I am retired and doing my photo work just for myself, her compositing techniques are helping me get to my end results much more quickly. I wish I had a Lisa sitting alongside me, with a glass of wine, while I’m experimenting with my creative composited work. Thank you so much for having her as a CreativeLive instructor/mentor.


I took advantage of Photoshop Week and caught this class live - and loved it! I own other CreativeLive food photography courses, but I really liked the way Lisa and Christina taught the image shoot segment in this one. They show us a little glimpse of how the retoucher and photographer work together, in real time, on the set and I like that. Lisa and Christina are also very giving with their knowledge of how things work behind the scenes as well. Though, the main reason I bought this course was for the info Lisa shared about file naming and file version organization. There are a lot of video's on how to perform functions in Photoshop, but almost none about correctly naming, and organizing your versions. Now, I've got a real base to start from. Thanks :)

Student Work