atomik tips

Atomik Perspective: Retouch – Behind the Glass with Nigel Barker

I’m with Nigel Barker on this one – retouching how we look has been around for millennia:  be it clothes, hairstyles, make-up, working out etc.  As humans we manipulate how we look all the time.

I’m a professional photographer, so I retouch.  Shock horror, but I do – however as Nigel says in his #BehindTheGlass video, I’m not flippant about the impact, nor the responsibility that comes with retouching.

I categorise my retouch in my own mind:

  • composition > cropping
  • lighting > levels adjustment
  • colour management > hue-saturation-colour balance
  • artistic > cloning, healing, liquify

The first 3 types of retouch I will apply to all types of photography in varying degrees, despite trying to get the closest results in camera as possible particularly with good lighting and composition.  Colour manipulation is particularly good for creating certain moods, be it sunny and happy, or classic and elegant, colour manipulation is a powerful tool.

The last type of retouch, the artistic physical manipulations such as skin retouch, removal of stray hairs, slight physical features manipulation I only apply to fashion/beauty imagery.  It’s a personal choice of mine to not ‘artistically’ manipulate wedding or family images, those of me or my daughter, because I feel personal photography like weddings, family, and portraiture should be accurate likenesses of people.  I do retouch such images using light and colour management, but I don’t physically or structurally alter their looks.  For fashion/beauty images though, I do artistically retouch.

I do see fashion and beauty imagery as different to lifestyle imagery – it’s about aspiration, it’s about inspiration, and an ideal.  Clients, advertising, and entertainment aren’t about reality, and it’s not about passing off those images as real, but being open about the artistry that goes into creating such imagery.  It’s a fine balance though, since I know portraiture in magazines, and even lifestyle and wedding images are manipulated now too.

Whatever your stance on retouching, just remember we all do it, all the time.  As Nigel said, the simple of act of brushing your hair is retouching yourself…




Royal tumble – Atomik Style


It’s normally the catwalk models who are famed for their fashion falls, and tumbles – but it was the photographer i.e. ME, who took a royal tumble on Saturday – spraining my toes, wrist, and cutting up my knees and hands!

My little daughter was with me, and I was carrying too much photoshoot related luggage, so didn’t see the height of the curb (damn it I can’t even sue anyone!).

Post fall, my first thought was ‘Is my daughter ok?’, and the second was ‘Is my gear ok?’.  As it happens, my camera was just fine, as was the lens, but I fell on it so there is a Canon 5D Mk3 outline imprinted on my stomach!

My gear is luckily insured, but I was surprised at how many fellow photographers aren’t insured…  I’m sure they are surprised that I didn’t carry all my stuff in a roller-case, so I guess we’re even!

For those of you interested, here are a few insurance products for photographers:

Hiscox Insurance




I’d avoid making any recommendations – do your research and pick what suits you.  Most of all though, don’t be a clumsy clutz like me, and just avoid falling down in the first place!


Atomik GPS: Venice & Burano

I adored my trip to Venice last year with my little daughter, and wanted to share some more Atomik GPS tips with you all 🙂  There are GPS coordinates for Google Maps under each image, so next time you’re planning your trip, you can take some gorgeous images too!


Dell’Opera – Venice


Traghetto Dogana Ca Vallaresso – Venice


Piazza San Marco – Venice


Rialto Bridge – Venice


Rialto Bridge – Venice


Grande Canal


Burano Island – Colourful Houses – Fondamenta San Mauro


Pont dell’Accademia


Campo Santo Stefano – Venice