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STUDIO BEAUTY

GEAR  |  LIGHTING   |   FLAWLESS EXECUTION

Everything you need to know to become a beauty photographer

My Tools

These are the things that I love and use when shooting and retouching.

My Camera

I have been shooting with a Canon 5Ds for a while, and I am extremely happy I purchased it for many more reasons besides just loving to shoot Macro Beauty. There have been many instances where the gigantic file size saved me, but also gave me some additional advantage when my clients wanted to print something way larger than they initially planned, and I was able to make it happen for them. My Canon 5D mark II is still my backup camera, and I also shoot simple head and shoulder images with it when collaborating or testing. And when I do  get to film BTS or beauty video, I use my Canon 7D.

  • 50.6MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • 61-Point High Density Reticular AF
  • 3.2″ 1.04m-Dot ClearView II LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 30 fps

My Lens

99% of my studio work is photographed with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. I bought it a few years ago, initially choosing this option because its L-series sibling was double the price, but I last year I compared the two and wrote about it here. I am convinced that the non-L-series lens is great for studio beauty photography, and you don’t need to pay the extra dollars for the L-series if that’s what you need this Macro lens for.

I also recently purchased a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. I had rented it a few times for specific shoots in 2016, and eventually decided that I wanted to own one that was brand new. The reason why I went for it is that I had a few large production shoots for cosmetics brands where the photography stills were secondary and I often did not have a chance to take the models and makeup artists out of the video set to grab my shots. I had to shoot from where the video cameras were positioned and couldn’t get any closer. My 100mm would not allow me to get the necessary frames and 70-200mm gave me all the flexibility and zoom I needed.

CamRanger

This is probably my most favorite tool that I must have for every photoshoot. CamRanger is a wireless camera control and tethering device that can transmit the captured images into your laptop or desktop computer, or into an iPad or even iPhone. You don’t have to have WiFi for it to work, as the device that you hook up to your camera acts like a router and creates a network for your device or computer to join. I set up my camera to shoot in Raw and Medium Size JPEG, so that the JPEG previews are sent to the screen almost instantaneously. Well, a little slower when I’m shooting with my Canon 5Ds due to its large sensor.

My team, my clients and I can zoom in on the images and inspect the model’s face in detail before we start shooting, so we can fix any makeup or hair problems that might not be visible with a naked eye. It is super helpful and highly recommended, especially for closeup and macro beauty! I bring my iPad Pro to most of my shoots, and my iPad Mini to large productions where I will have to get around the studio a lot.

You can read more on how I user my CamRanger in my shoots here.

MY MAIN TOOLS FOR BEAUTY RETOUCHING

My Wacom Devices

I retouch faces on a Cintiq 27QHD set on the Ergo Stand and my “work-horse” tablet is Intuos4 small. I’ve had it since 2011 and it still works like new. Anyone who is even slightly serious about retouching should work on a graphics tablet, and I, of course, cannot recommend Wacom enough!

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My Color Calibration Device

I am only confident with my colors when the screen I am working on is color-calibrated with my i1 Display Pro. Every professional photographer and retoucher must color calibrate their screens on a regular basis to be sure the images they produce are of correct colors. Mine is set to ambient monitoring.

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My Main Monitor

iMacs may not considered the industry standard for retouching, but I love my 27-inch screen and everything else about my iMac, so coupled with the X-Rite calibrator, I have no problem retouching on it when I am not on Cintiq.

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MY BEAUTY RETOUCH PANEL

When it comes to fast and professional beauty retouching, my main helper is the Beauty Retouch panel by Retouching Academy. Being one of its creators, I, of course, had my own retouching requirements and needs in mind when developing and updating it. The majority of the scripts for skin and makeup retouching in it were created by me, and I continue tweaking and improving them as I find better ways to speed up my work without compromising the quality of the results. EVERY SINGLE IMAGE that you see in my portfolio or on my social media is retouched with the RA Panels: Beauty Retouch & Pixel Juggler.

I’ve also been recording a video training where I demonstrate how I personally use the RA Panels in my work. It’s free and you can sign up to receive the released lessons here.

  • Speed up your Beauty, Fashion & Portrait retouching workflow.
  • Declutter your workspace & close out unnecessary Photoshop panels.
  • Achieve accurate, repeatable, top-quality retouching results and impress your clients!

7 MAIN ELEMENTS IN BETTER BEAUTY RETOUCHING CHECKLIST