We recently had a chance to talk with Calvin Hollywood, a digital artist, photographer, and retoucher from Germany who has a passion for teaching others. In this interview, we talked about Hollywood's love for Photoshop and photography, his passion for teaching others, as well as a few of his favorite techniques. Let's take a look!
QHi Calvin, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. Can you begin by telling us a bit about your background? Where are you from and what do you do? How long have you been working in the industry?
Many thanks for the interview. As a loyal reader, I am very glad for this. My name is Calvin and I come from Germany. I live close to Heidelberg and am active there as a photographer, digital artist, and trainer.
I am married and have a son and a daughter at the age of 7 years (twins). I have two assistants help me at my work. I spend my spare time with my family and my Playstation!
QYou shoot a lot of your own photography. Can you tell us what came first, your love of photography or your interest in Photoshop?
I started with Photoshop in 2005 and it was virtually love at first sight. After that, I began to shoot photography, as well. I began by attempting to improve landscape and self-portraits of myself. I don't shoot self-portraits anymore. Now I like to shoot photos of other people and models. Inevitably, I end up taking to Photoshop to help improve the images.
QHow has Photoshop affected your photography? How has your photography affected your Photoshop?
I used to place little value in photography. I always told myself that "I could just do it with Photoshop," but today, it is a combination and one depends on the other. The better the photograph, the better the retouching.
That is what I advise. If you are truly gifted as a Photoshop artist, then you can work with almost any photo. It is much better, however, to start the Photoshop process using high quality materials.
QYou mentioned to me that you shoot a lot of musicians, athletes, and even magicians. When you shoot and retouch artists and athletes, are there some things that you need to consider? Do you tend to shoot and retouch them in a particular style?
When I photograph other artists I get a lot of space for my style. In my experience, artists don't tend to limit other artists. For the most part, they have trust in you. They want your art, not their own.
QDo you have any favorite Photoshop tools or techniques that you use in your work? Would you like to share them with our readers?
I used to be a big Fan of Dodge and Burn. Today, I still love those tools, but lately, I love to play with colours. If you understand Selective Color Adjustment Layer, you will have some incredible opportunities to improve your artwork. I love to create Colour-Looks to give the image a mood. The more I let my style show in the retouching process, the more personal the result.
QYou seem to be very passionate about Photoshop and photography, but you are also an accomplished educator, as well. Some artists are hesitant to teach others what they know. Why do you do it? What satisfaction do you receive from it? What would you tell other artists that might be interested in teaching but might be worried about giving away their "secrets."
There are no secrets and I find it absolutely crazy that many make a secret of their techniques. You cannot reinvent the tools and even the most advanced techniques are performed with the basic tools.
As long as we retouch and photograph with feeling, we don't have to be afraid that someone could do the same. I have no secrets and my workshops are still booked up just because the participants appreciate that I am open. Who would book a workshop where no secrets are revealed? Give and help other artists, and don't worry about giving away your secrets. You will eventually be paid back with karma.
QAre there any mistakes that you see some artists/designers/retouchers/photographers make? What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to make it in the industry?
The biggest mistake that I see people make is to think that there is just one particular technique capable of producing a result. In fact, there are many ways to produce the same result in Photoshop. Ask yourself which technique looks the best and feels most natural to you.
QThanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Is there anything else that you would like to add? Are you working on any exciting projects that you would like to share with our readers?
Follow as many artists as you can. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Behance, etc. Studying other artists will certainly help you to learn. Seek out role models. If you are a beginner, don't be afraid to copy other artists for educational purposes. Having a clear goal is a great way to learn. Your own style will come on its own.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave them below in the comments. I would also love for you to follow me on Facebook below. Thanks again for the opportunity.