Determination or not, sometimes it takes just sheer luck to find your path in life. That's pretty much the story of Sasa Mihajlovic, an expert Serbian-born retoucher also working as Artem Retouching.
Sasa is a master of setting the mood and tone for his pictures, and if we had to take a wild guess, we'd say it all comes from his background as a 3D modeller. And 3D is exactly what Sasa would have chosen, if given better conditions in the first years of his career; but who says he won't go back to it someday? We'd definitely love to see that.
For this Member Spotlight, we are getting to know the story of a talented retoucher and a master of potraiture, someone with possibly one of the most enticing profiles on Creativepool.
How did you get into the industry?
I was a 3d modeler, but at the time, in my country of origin, Serbia, there weren't many job opportunities in that field. Freelancing wasn't developed either, and I had to switch to some other creative area. My friend, who worked in one of the most prominent magazines, recommended me to the Editor in Chief and I started to work, and learn as a junior retoucher.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
Currently I am based in Spain and I am working as a freelancer for many global brands, agencies, magazines and photographers. Some names are: Universal Music, Lark&Berry, Marie Claire, etc.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I would go back to my roots and work as a 3d modeler.
Can you explain your creative process?
Everything starts after looking at the client brief. Next, I would either think of a mood for the set by myself or with the client's or art director's instructions. Then I can get technical and color correct images in RAW developer application (Adobe Lightroom or Capture one in my case). Retouching begins in Photoshop, where I can remove the imperfections and distractions from the image and edit the skin, clothes, hair, etc. Finally, I would color grade the images and ensure that the whole set is in the same tone and luminosity.
How would you describe your style?
Clean and natural.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Julia Kuzmenko, Michael Woloszynowicz, and Natalia Taffarel are, in my opinion, the most extraordinary artists. I have learned a lot by reading their articles and watching how they work.
How has technology affected the way you work?
Every year we witness new cameras being produced that bring more and more details. Files are getting bigger, and retouchers need to adopt. We must advance and learn new skills and update our tools to be competitive in the industry.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
I follow a lot of artists on Pinterest and Instagram, which gets me inspired. Music and movies as well help a lot. I can listen to music or watch a movie and think of a photography set.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
My most outstanding achievement was when my work got published on the magazine's cover for the first time. I had some more immense achievements after that, but that was the most incredible emotion that I felt in my field of work
How do you recharge away from the office?
I am a happy father of a one-year-old girl, and that is all I need after work. When she goes asleep, it is time for my wife and me to watch our series.
What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?
A lot of information is available on the internet. It is ok for some time to watch and read everything, but the most significant improvement comes with the practice. Stay focused on the work itself, and you will get better.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
I love how everything is transferred online and that we can all connect and work on various projects worldwide. I hope that this technological advancement continues in the same way, and I am happy that my work benefits from it.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would that be?
I would somehow regulate overusing of the retouching techniques, which leads to some funny looking images.
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Retouching Academy is a great source of information for an aspiring retouchers.