Motorcycle Girl Retouch

While digging through my work recently, I realized that I didn’t have anything spectacular in my portfolio that showed a full process of a long, involved retouch. I’m a photographer and always do my own retouching, so I figured that I would give myself some of my own mock projects to show prospective clients the extent of what goes into some of my retouching. It also gave me another opportunity to work together with Rachel on something fun. This post will show the whole shebang, from the initial shoot(s) through the retouching process. I’ll be a little more technical in calling out specific gear that I used for those interested.

I decided to shoot some photos of Rachel and one of my motorcycles as a fake movie poster. I wanted it to have some action, maybe a moving motorcycle, and some smoke. We shot a whole bunch of variations of her on and off the bike with simple Canon Speedlites. I used a Canon 430ex ii on a light stand with a small 16″ beauty dish as the back right hairlight, and a Canon 430ex ii in a large umbrella softbox on a light stand as the key light just to the left of her. They were triggered with a shoe flash trigger on my Canon 5d Mark ii with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I knew that she would be dropped into a completely different background, so we shot her down in our parking garage where we had the space. You don’t always need a giant studio with the biggest gear to shoot this kind of thing. The stuff that I used for this shoot can be purchased at a minimal cost and made to work. No multiple thousand dollar lighting setups here. See my setup below.


I spent about a half hour downtown one evening getting photos of some alleys that I thought would look like cool backgrounds with a gritty, urban feel. I just shot them with available light in a few different locations. I took all of the images from both shoots into Lightroom to make general levels adjustments, and then ran those through photoshop to do a majority of my retouching. Here are some of the before and after images, along with a lighting diagram.



As you can see in the video, I also drew up some hand lettering for the title of the poster. It started as a pencil sketch, was scanned into the computer, and then worked through Adobe Illustrator as well as Photoshop before dropping it into the final layout. Reach out with any questions as far as technique or gear in the comments below!

Creatively yours,

CJ + Rachel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *