How to GROW as a Photographer and Retoucher

Hey Everyone,

How’s it going?

Thanks for stopping by the blog today; it’s very much appreciated.

Now if you’re a regular reader of my site (and thanks so much if you are) then you’ll know that I’m a BIG believer in having Personal Projects; I think it’s THE most important thing you can do if you’re looking to develop as a Photographer, Retoucher, Artist…

Question is though…What to do for a Personal Project? Well the answer here is anything so long as you’re doing something!

I know that may not sound very helpful but it is what it is. Personal Projects don’t have to be anything amazing; the idea here isn’t necessarily to create something never seen before but rather something that motivates you to pick up your camera and shoot!

Maybe it’s a project to shoot portraits a particular way and in a particular lighting set up; maybe it’s a project based on colour. Having a project no matter how big or small will keep you in a creative frame of mind; you’ll see things that maybe you didn’t see before.

At the moment I have two personal projects that I’m working on; both are completely different but both motivate the heck out of me: Animal Composites and my Invisible Black Background.

Animal Composites
I love Compositing in Photoshop and I love Animals so this one for me was a no brainer.

The project here is to create a body of work of approximately 20 pictures of animals BIG or small by the end of 2014 and the great thing here is that it’s something I can work on with my wife. Spending time around animals is something we both love to do so when out taking photographs we go together and the plan at the end of the project is to create a coffee table book of the images.

Mamma: Elephants in the Rain

No such thing as a Free Lunch

A couple of days ago we visited Whipsnade Wildlife Park in the UK; a great day out taking photographs for the project but also a great day spending time together and picnicking.

From the day out, one of the pictures I’m working on next is of a White Rhino walking across the dry African Grasslands searching for food and vultures circling up above but in the distance there will be storm clouds coming meaning…rain!

I’ll keep you posted with the progress…

Of course being at Whipsnade there was so much to photograph that I’ll keep hold of and look to use in other pictures too…

Invisible Black Background
Since teaching my ‘Dramatic Portraits with the Invisible Black Background‘ class at Photoshop World in Atlanta I’ve now set myself a project to shoot a complete body of work using this technique and again with the intention of creating a coffee table book of  images…

Photographer & Retoucher: Joel Grimes

So that’s what I’m working on at the moment but what about you?

Do you have something you’re focused on creating?

If nor then give yourself a project to work on…something you can create over a period of time and make it a complete body of work rather than pictures that follow a theme, style rather than random images; it’ll be the best thing you ever did!!!


  • April 21, 2014 - 10:11 am

    Darren House - Good Morning Glyn, Great Blog post. Very timely after 6 weeks of decorating ready for a baby arrival in June I hadn’t picked up my Camera or touched PS (not good) I had felt a little lost.
    I decided this BH weekend would be a kick start back in!

    I finally started my much talked about Head Shoot project. Well its amazing how many things are there ingrained in my brain after so many nights practicing.
    I would have been very disappointed to have read this today and not started it.

    Loving the two personal projects you have running. Keep up the great work.


  • April 21, 2014 - 11:32 am

    Ray Fidler - Hi Glyn,

    Interesting you are revisiting your invisible background as a book project. Great idea.

    I have a year long project of shooting Basingstoke with a good friend of mine with the objective of doing camera club talks next year entitled One Town Two Cameras.

    In addition to learning off camera flash with Zack Arias One Light DVD I am working on two birthday cards for my grand daughters made up of their favourite things.

    Plus developing my Photoshop skills trying to use a new technique on every image I process.

    Looking forward to your animal project evolving because that will be further inspiration for me and many others.

    Have a great day


  • April 21, 2014 - 5:37 pm

    DaveT - Hi Glyn,

    Great idea and a good way to stay focused (pardon the pun) on something. I’m hoping to put together some small coffee table books of trips I have done. Or perhaps the ‘best of’ a particular year. I’m going to look at the layout of books to get an idea of what works best using white space etc, to get ideas.

    Good luck with your projects,


  • April 22, 2014 - 8:58 am

    Roberto Palmari - Hi Glyn, thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us, you’re always very inspiring.
    My personal project is a bit demanding at the time since it doesn’t really just involves my photography or retouching skills and practice. I call it “finding myself”. After a few recent years of struggle and pain at personal and family level, photography has given me a chance not only to cores myself but also to hope for a brighter future (and I don’t necessarily mean economically), then I met you in Germany last year and I realized that hard working on myself I could make it happen and fom then on I tried to find my own language, my own way of expressing my ideas and feelings. So this is my project now, keep on experimenting many different things to finally egg to know o am I and how can I make myself visible to the others with my photography and retouch.
    Once again, thank you so much for crossing the path of my life and giving so much inspiration.

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Glyn - Roberto,
    One of the things I’m grateful to Photography and Photoshop for is the people I’ve met and the friends I make along the way; dear friends such as yourself. You’re a truly great and decent guy with a BIG heart and I’m proud to be able to call you my friend; someone I would help at the drop of a matter what.

    I look forward to seeing you again in the not too distant future but also seeing what comes from your creativity.
    Speak soon,

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:40 pm

    Glyn - Thanks Ray.
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with now; with all this learning and motivation it’s going to be awesome!!!!

    Catch you soon

  • April 24, 2014 - 10:46 am

    Roberto Palmari - Thanks Glyn, from the deep of my heart.
    You’re a great man and I’m proud of being your friend.

  • April 26, 2014 - 12:40 am

    Rajesh Taylor - Hi Glyn, just read this post! Since we last met at the presentation you gave in London I have used your points on planning and preparation for personal projects. Yes – I did listen to everything you said :)

    I’ve just finished a street portrait set around Shoreditch, London called Gun Street. I wanted to approach total strangers off the street and ask them for a portrait. I believe everyone deserves an epic or beautiful portrait of themselves. And for whatever reason believe its my duty and obligation to produce it for them. The biggest challenge I used to go through was to engage with a stranger, get them comfortable and produce an epic shot in under a minute.

    The second challenge was more technical, white balance and fighting natural light. The third was finishing inside 3 weeks around paid work assignments. I have now finished it and its online here:

    I would absolutely be chuffed if you’d take a look at some point. I’d love any critique on it. I’m used to very direct feedback so be as blunt as you like. If you hover over some of the portraits some characters have 2 lines of story with them. I have now done 2 streets around Shoreditch and my plan is to do the main streets in the area and present an interactive Google map style exhibition one day of the collections.

    My next project is to incorporate – weather permitting use of the beauty dish. Keep adding wood to the fire and adding another component. Thanks Glyn.

  • April 28, 2014 - 9:10 am

    Glyn - Rajesh…Great to hear you’re working hard and have been focusing on some personal projects! I’ll definitely check out the results and get back to you.

Aaron Blaise Master Class in Understanding Light Values

Hey Everyone,

Hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to a few days R&R:)

Today I’ve a SUPERB video to share with you.

The video is a new episode of my Buddy Aaron Blaise’s Art Tips series over on YouTube and it’s all about Light Values.

Now the video is aimed mainly towards folks who draw and shows how by using 3 light values (Light, Medium and Dark) you can transform the lighting, structure and dimension in your pictures.

For Photographers and Retouchers this video is nothing short of a Master Class in Lighting!!! There is so much to learn from what Aaron covers especially how it relates to dodging and burning etc…

So grab a coffee, sit comfortably and press PLAY and enjoy seeing an Artist in Action explaining step by step…Brilliant!!!

Now if you haven’t already then make sure you head on over and SUBSCRIBE to Aaron’s YouTube Channel; it’s completely FREE and means you won’t miss out on any of the content he’s sharing each and every week.

Check it out here [Link]

Have a great weekend whatever you’re up to and I’ll catch you back here in a few days.


PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: How to Fake the WET Look #44

Hey Folks

As promised here’s another NEW episode of my weekly podcast / show taking us up to episode 44!!!

In this episode I show you how to fake the wet look using a filter within Photoshop; namely Plastic Wrap.

Now I’ve actually shown this technique in an earlier video on my Wolverine Picture but in this video I explain the sliders we use in more detail and also about applying the filter as a Smart Object i.e. retouching non destructively which is exactly what we should all be aiming for to give us flexibility.

Hope you like it:)

Of course this is purely faking the look and you can’t beat the look of real water however I think you’ll find it does a pretty convincing job.

Here’s a look at my Wolverine in London picture where I actually forgot to spray water on our model Glenn during the photo shoot but thankfully…Plastic Wrap to the rescue and voila:)

As always if you have any questions / comments then feel free to make use of the comments section below or drop me an email to

Also make sure that you SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel by clicking [here]

It’s completely free and just means that each time you visit YouTube you’ll be able to see quickly and easily how many new videos I’ve posted for you PLUS it’s the only support I ask to help this channel grow.

Ok that’s all from me for today so have a good one and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow.


  • May 3, 2014 - 5:17 pm

    María García - Great! but it´s a pitty, I don´t understand English, only Spanish :(


Hey Everyone,

Just to let you know that today I have a new episode of my weekly podcast / show online and ready to view!!!

This week I show you how to create and add rain in your pictures and we do so using a brush; however it’s how you use the brush and how you create depth that gives it added realism…and that’s what we’re going to go through.

As always if you have any questions  / comments then feel free to make use of the comments section below or email me directly to

Also be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel by clicking on this [Link]

Once SUBSCRIBED it’ll mean that each time you visit YouTube you’ll be able to quickly see if and when I’ve posted new videos for you PLUS it’s all the support I ask; well that and letting others know of the channel too:)

Ok that’s all from me for today so  have a good one and keep an eye out tomorrow as I’ll be posting another episode seeing as last week I was away teaching at Photoshop World in Atlanta.


Back from the USA and Photoshop World

Hey Folks,

How’s it going?

Well I’m now back after what has been the most incredible week out in the USA.

Kicking off with a couple of days hanging out with our dear friend, Artist and Animator Aaron Blaise and his girlfriend Jonelle Kiselich at their home in Stuart, Florida and then on to Atlanta for Photoshop World.

Today I’d just like to take the opportunity to share just a few pictures with you from the trip to give you just a taster of what we got up to; hope you like them…

The view on the very first morning sat drinking coffee out on the porch with Aaron and Dave; getting up at 5:30am had never been so easy…

We spent the morning out on Aaron’s boat around the bay where for the very first time in my life I saw Dolphins up close in the wild…Magical!!!

This beach is actually part of an island out in the bay and where Aaron will regularly visit to sit and draw away from it all; this place was just so incredibly peaceful…

The smile says it all…The Best of Times!

Smiles, smiles and more smiles…

The wildlife here was incredible…

I’m no landscape photographer but when you’re presented with a view like this in the morning you’ve just got to…


Grabbing some head shots sat on the porch…

This one of Dave someone said it looked like he had comedy eyes due to the reflection…lol:)


We were only in Florida for a couple of days before heading over to Atlanta together but in the time we were there we saw so much…

This picture shows the track that a Giant Leatherback Turtle had made when it came out of the Ocean during the night to head up the beach and lay it’s eggs. Seeing something like this is a once in a lifetime experience and there it was right on the beach and right next to Aaron’s house.

We could see the ditch that the turtle had dug out and buried it’s eggs in and what was fantastic to see was that the beach is patrolled by conservationists and before we knew it they were on scene and cordoning off the area to protect them.

A gift from Aaron to my wife Anne…

This is an original sketch from when Aaron was designing the characters for the Bare and the Hare cartoon he created for the John Lewis Stores Christmas TV commercial in the UK.

A quick group shot before heading to the airport…

So then it was on to Atlanta for Photoshop World 2014.

Kicking off the conference with the opening ceremony and keynote…

Packed house for my Real World Retouching Class…

Hanging out with friends in the hotel bar…

Was great to catch up with my buddy Zack Arias…

Look out for a few things coming up in the future that we’re talking about:)

Hanging out with top fella Peter Hurley at the Instructor Wrap Up Party…

Couldn’t resist a Reverse SHABANG for the camera…expertly Photo Bombed by Frank Doorhof and Colin Smith:)

HUGE thanks to Dave for grabbing this picture of me photographing Joel Grimes who kindly modelled for me during my Dramatic Portraits with the Invisible Black Background class…

Signing the Photoshop World Workbook…

It’s such an incredible honour being asked for an autograph but when speaking to folks and hearing that what I covered in my classes here at Photoshop World, Atlanta has really helped is such an incredible feeling!

Whatever you do…do it for the right reasons!!!

Thank you so very much to everyone who came along!

At the Instructor Wrap Party with the Legendary Jay Maisel…

And then all too quickly the final day in the USA was upon us and it was time to head home…until next time:)

So there you go just a few of the pictures to give you a taster of some of the goings on during the week in the USA.

It’s been an incredible time making some incredible memories with incredible people I’m so proud to be able to call my friends.

If you want to see more pictures showing what went on at Photoshop World then be sure to head on over to Scott Kelby’s blog here [Link] but in the mean time, let’s get cracking…

Have a GREAT day and I’ll catch you later,

  • April 14, 2014 - 11:27 am

    Mike - Looks incredible!
    One day…!

  • April 14, 2014 - 3:02 pm

    Aaron Blaise - Miss you guys already! I’m typing this back in my office and back to reality making Art Story. Can’t wait for July on YOUR island!

  • April 14, 2014 - 11:21 pm

    Jimmy Kuhn - Man oh man do I hate that I missed this…I will not miss the next one…Thanks for the update… I am going to put this page on my toolbar favs so that anytime I feel like giving up I can click on it and be inspired to fight another day….

  • April 14, 2014 - 11:41 pm

    Keith Hammond - such a great set of memories, and hanging with Mr Jay Maisel, he is THE man, i can’t wait to hear all about the trip at the next curry

  • April 19, 2014 - 12:56 am

    Ryan J. Rowe - You all look truly happy. Loving what you do and doing what you love! It was an honor to meet you at Photoshop World and I hope to see you again.

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:41 pm

    Glyn - Cheers Ryan; was great to meet you too and also to see you get the Guru Award!!!!

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:41 pm

    Glyn - Keith…Yes indeed…curry is a must!!!

  • April 23, 2014 - 8:42 pm

    Glyn - Miss you too Aaron; time went so quickly but hey…not long until July :)