A Woman’s Perspective on the Nino Batista Retouching Tutorial Series

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Retouching is part art, part technical savvy. The Nino Batista Premium Retouching Video tutorials build on the latter. The series of 30 retouching videos cover topics from retouching skin to perfecting color. Skin is one of the trickiest edits — and as a glamour photographer, Nino Batista does a lot to work with in his edits.

Formerly part of Batista’s paid YouTube channel, the retouching tutorials cover more in-depth, advanced skills than the average free tutorial. The videos contain a heavy focus on Photoshop, with some RAW processing in Capture One. Made for photographers who know a few basics but not much else, I picked up a few tricks, even as an avid Photoshop user of more than ten years. Batista covers excellent techniques that are easily adaptable to your own style.

Who Is Nino Batista?

As a glamour photographer, Nino Batista’s work primarily features female models. His photos regularly appear in lifestyle and men’s magazines, including Playboy and FHM.

Batista is also well-known as a photo educator. He regularly teaches retouching techniques, both online and in person. As a co-founder at NBP Pro EDU Retouch tools, he’s also part of the team developing Photoshop plug-ins.

Retouching Tutorials — With Plenty of Skin

“Tutorials for boudoir photography can easily feel like sitting next to that weird uncle that always makes inappropriate comments at family functions. But, I didn’t find that to be the case here.”

A quote from this review by Phoblographer Reviews Editor Hillary Grigonis

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first; Batista’s photos offer more to retouch than a basic portrait. As a glamour photographer, the photos he works on in the tutorial are typically of women in limited — and sometimes zero — clothing. The models in the online listing for these tutorials wear much more clothing than the photos in the actual tutorials.

That’s excellent for photographers learning to retouch skin since there’s so much of it to work with. A skin retouching tutorial on the average portrait won’t include steps for editing the ribcage, for example. The tutorials go beyond just perfecting the face.

As a woman, I did not feel terribly uncomfortable watching the retouching tutorials. Batista regularly threw out phrases like “she’s just human” and “common on every human you edit.” He doesn’t objectify or berate. Tutorials for boudoir photography can easily feel like sitting next to that weird uncle who always makes inappropriate comments at family functions. But, I didn’t find that to be the case here.

That said, some photographers may still be uncomfortable watching tutorials on glamour or bodyscape. I wouldn’t watch these videos with my kids or my mother looking over my shoulder. If the work on Batista’s Instagram page makes you uncomfortable, then this isn’t the retouching course for you.

What’s Included in the Nino Batista Premium Retouching Tutorials?

The tutorial set includes 825 minutes of tutorials across 30 different videos. The series includes both short tutorials on a specific technique and start-to-finish edits. Batista works with both Capture One and Photoshop.

The videos offer excellent coverage of the different techniques to retouch people for photographers with a little Photoshop experience. Batista covers basic topics like black and white conversions and customizing your Photoshop workspace. More advanced topics are also tackled, including perfecting skin tone and frequency separation.

The PhotoWhoa series came after YouTube discontinued its paid memberships. The series includes 30 of those videos. Some, however, are missing — he references a tutorial on Photoshop brushes in one video that’s not listed in the class.

The Good

There isn’t one “right” way to edit — and Batista teaches to that. He calls his own editing process organic and teaches to that same tune. He talks about what a tool does, why to use it, and how much. But, he doesn’t share exact values or insist an edit has to be just one way. He never says that a photo should only look one way. Editing is where a lot of style comes in. These tutorials are easily adaptable to your own style.

Batista is very conversational yet easy to understand. The tutorials meet in the middle ground between boring and too much unnecessary chatting. Watching the videos does not feel like a chore.

Some retouching goes so far that it removes the person’s character. Batista does well finding the right balance in retouching and helping others to do the same. He talks about going with a model’s pale skin instead of trying to change that. He discusses leaving in some redness that, if removed, would look too fake.

“The tutorials meet in the middle ground between boring and too much unnecessary chatting.”

A quote from this review by Phoblographer Reviews Editor Hillary Grigonis

The Bad

While I overall enjoyed the tutorial series, it was difficult to know where to start. The 30 videos come zipped in a few different folders, but in no particular order. Numbering the videos or including a simple PDF with a more thorough description of each would have helped. The file names don’t always offer an accurate picture of what the tutorial is about or how advanced it is.

Nino Batista references different skin tones in his discussion. But, I would have liked to see some more tutorials featuring women of color. As a series focused on glamour, some subjects aren’t covered. It’s not made to be the only retouching tutorials you would ever need. For example, as a portrait photographer, I occasionally need to retouch a razor burn, but this series focuses on retouching women.

“Batista references different skin tones in his discussion. But, I would have liked to see some more tutorials featuring women of color.”

A quote from this review by Phoblographer Reviews Editor Hillary Grigonis

Conclusion

The Nino Batista Premium Retouching Video Series is an excellent set of tutorials. While focused on glamour, the topics covered can also be helpful for portrait photographers. Batista teaches the tools and techniques but allows photographers to apply their own style.

While excellent, it’s hard to know where to start since videos aren’t numbered, and file names are sometimes misleading. I would have also liked to see a wider variety of skin tones in the sample images used for retouching.

Overall, the series is excellent. I would buy it — not for the original price of $999, but $49 is a good value for this series.

Hillary Grigonis

Hillary K. Grigonis is a photographer and tech writer based in Michigan. She shoots weddings and portraits at Hillary K Photography. A mother of three, she enjoys hiking, camping, crafting, and reading.