For me pin-up is all about fantasy. So when I retouch I take a lot of liberties. I’ve studied some of the great pin-up artists and seen photos of their models and the final artwork. This led me to develop my style.
For example, waists get tucked, rears get rounded, boobs get lifted and reshaped. But that is just for starters. I will also often style the hair as needed to create the look. All this is very simple process in Photoshop.
I think about how I would draw the pin-up as an artist. Smooth lines and curves are important. So the edges are all flatten, removing the bumps in the fabric. Her jeans were made to fit perfectly and the curve to her back was stylized.
Backgrounds are also part of the process. The colored circles are real popular right now, and I use those frequently, but I also like use other options. Such as the clouds and moon in this witch pin-up.
For me I find shooting my pin-ups on a solid white background makes it easiest to extract them and place them on the new backgrounds. In fact all my pin-ups are photographed on white. I am a fan of Topaz Remask for extractions, but the new tools in CS5 work very well too.
The other key factor for me is the reduction of details. This goes along with the edge smoothing I talked about earlier. Details such as moles, wrinkles, creases and other fine details are all removed. All the details I feel I would draw if creating the artwork by hand. I ask myself if the detail adds anything to the final artwork, if not, it is removed.
This simplification is probably the key to my overall look. I want that illustrative look to come through and to look less like a photograph.
Pin-up photography is a lot of fun. I spend much more time on the post production of a photo, but for me it is worth the effort.