Guest Photographers

Confessions of a retoucher: From RAW to refined

In a recent Photography Master Class Jodi Jones and I hosted in Nashville, we got some amazing shots that we would love to share with you, as well as my process of getting the best images out of the RAW files from Capture One Pro.

The settings of the shoot

Jodi and I spent lots of time together before the shoot day for creative planning. The model we used for our Nashville Master Class workshop is the beautiful Esseri. She is a rock star and a great friend of ours. She has long, rich red hair and a stunning face and figure. We thought of creating a very Barbie-like look for the beauty shoot of her. Thanks to the epic Phase One XF 100MP camera system, it captured all her great details. She was absolutely gorgeous!

The shoot; A retoucher’s perspective

While everybody on set was amazed by the images popping up on the screen as they were shooting, I was already visualizing and planning the retouching process for the shoot! I regard myself as an artist, being that I am a professional retoucher. Great retouching should dramatically enhance the image, or even totally transform it!

I am also very happy being part of the image planning and creation process, which helps set me up for the final retouching phase. So, when I opened Capture One Pro after the first day of the shoot and looked at those images again, I knew immediately I would want to retouch her as a pretty doll.

Ready to retouch

I first adjusted curves for the entire image, just to bring out more contrast and color. I zoomed into the model’s face to see the details and brought down the clarity and brought up the structure, so I could create that Barbie look skin texture even in my RAW files. This saves a lot of time later on when you bring the image into Photoshop for further adjustments.

Now the creative story begins: Let’s give it a pink background! I went to Local adjustments and created a separate layer. Then I painted a mask over the background, and simply changed the white balance to get the baby pink color I wanted.

Thereafter, I created another layer mask for the skin tone. I used the color picker to sample both the midtones and highlights on her skin, and then softened the color contrast by doing a few adjustments using the color editor.

Next, to emphasize her beautiful face and add more depth to the image, I made another layer mask for the hair specifically. I wanted to darken her hair just a little. However, I love the redness of it, so I adjusted the color without taking too much red out.


The Magical Dodge and Burn

The following step is making my magical Dodge & Burn layers. One thing I love about Capture One Pro is that I can do so much on my RAW images. I can get the most out of the RAW file before I even start retouching the image in Photoshop. To do Dodging and Burning in Capture One Pro, it’s just the same formula as doing D&B in Photoshop, using two different curve layers. I don’t recommend doing too much on the two adjustments, because the entire purpose of this step is to only slightly enhance your RAW. You want to keep it subtle. After that, I paint my mask just like a quick D&B in Photoshop.

Final adjustments

My last step is changing the color of her eyes to blue through a separate layer. In Capture One Pro it’s very easy in to mask only the pupils and use the color editor or curve to achieve the color you want.


With some simple adjustments for skin retouching, and a further Dodge & Burn, here are my final images. Loving it, don’t you?



Article and retouching by Yanyanista

Stylist: Yanyanista

MUA & Hair: Tina Davis

Model: Esseri Holmes


Follow Yanyanista’s and Jodi Jones’ journey around the world on Instagram: @yanyanista & @jodijonesstudio


To sign up for the next Jodi Jones x Yanyanista’s Master Class in Miami and New York, visit



YANYANISTA is a fashion stylist, high-end retoucher, model and social media strategist. Yanyanista specializes in fashion styling and retouching for clients such as Valentino, Pepsi and Mizuno. Her social media presence and fashion style blog YANYANISTA has gained her recognition and press among fashion insiders as an inspirational young fashion icon by Allure Magazine,, Fashion TV, Latina Magazine and more. Visit her website on

Comments (2)

Great tutorial
I would just liked a bit more around the midtones and highlights on her skin, and how softening process took place

Wow it’s very beautiful, thanks for the mutuelle auto entrepreneur tutorial.