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Tag : post-production

MK Retouching joins Domestika

Join Our New Retouching Course on Domestika!

What is Domestika?

We are thrilled to announce that we’ve joined Domestika, a leading provider of online courses and training programs in the creative field. 

At Domestika, you can choose from a vast range of courses, from illustration, craft, marketing & business, photography & video, design, 3D & animation, architecture & spaces, writing, web & app design, fashion, calligraphy & typography, music, and audio. ​By joining Domestika, you will have access to a wide range of courses and resources to stay ahead of the curve.

Whether you’re seeking to enhance your skills or learn something new, Domestika has the right course for you. At Domestika, they care about continuous learning and developing your creative side.

This corresponds to our principles of constant further training to continue to grow and master new challenges. 

We were very proud when they approached us with a request for cooperation. At Domestika, they work with top experts who share their knowledge in professionally produced online coursed. We believe our retouching expertise will be a valuable asset to their pool of content.

Why you should consider a/our Domestika course.

We give you five powerful reasons why you should consider a Domestika course:

  1. Domestika offers Ai-based translations throughout the whole platform. This means the translations will be accurate and error-free, making them perfect for learning in any of their eight languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, & Dutch). Not only the platform itself, but the subtitles are also available in these eight languages. This makes it easy for you to learn and understand the material, no matter what language you speak.
  2. Lifelong access to your purchased courses, enabling you to learn at your pace and refresh your knowledge when needed.

  3. A global creative community to connect with, including the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas with other students and the teacher. You will also receive feedback on your final project.

  4. Additional resources to support your learning process including additional presentations, articles, videos, discount codes, plugins, actions and more!
  5. The rare opportunity to find mentorship and guidance in the creative industry, which can be incredibly helpful when starting in the creative industry (which we experienced on our own). Having a mentor who can guide you through the process can be incredibly helpful and save you a lot of time and trouble.

Why we joined Domestika!

We hope our new partnership will help us provide even more valuable content for our community. We truly believe that giving insights into our ways of working will build trust, and new possibilities for cooperations will grow from it. 

The course content – What is included in our course?

The course is called Professional Retouching for Product Photography in Photoshop” (GER: “Professionelle Produktfoto-Retusche in Photoshop“). It’s about creating a structured Photoshop file while digitally optimizing each element of a commercial product composition. It was produced in the German language, and Subtitles are available in eight additional languages.

The different lessons include topics like:

  • Positioning
  • Brand and image used as a guide for retouching
  • The choice of color profiles
  • Image preparation
  • A non-destructive workflow
  • Background and shadow creation
  • Optimizing set items
  • Optimizing products
  • Help layers
  • Preparing client data in an intelligent way
  • Smart export for web

The additional resources include:

  • Source of lighting effects
  • A special Retouching Toolkit discount
  • Practicing files and many more

This course content is unique! It’s not similar to anything else on the market at the moment—most of the workflow and strategies are developed by experience and experiments. 

What are the benefits of taking the course?

Besides enriching your skill set with new hidden gems, tricks, and industry standards, you can also showcase what you’ve learned. 

Exceptionally talented students have the chance to work together with MK Retouching. 

Who is this course for?

The course is perfect for product photography professionals, design professionals, and anyone curious about professional retouching for product photography.

What level of knowledge is required for taking the course?

Previous photo-editing experience is recommended, and you need to be familiar with the Photoshop interface, terms, and workspaces, as well as have a working knowledge of layers, paths, channels, and basic shortcuts.

The only materials needed are a computer with Adobe Photoshop installed. If you have a Creative Cloud subscription, it would be helpful, but by no means essential, to install Adobe Bridge. The same applies to a graphics tablet (using a mouse is fine, but might take you a little longer). Before starting, ensure your computer or laptop has enough RAM, disk space, and a good graphics card.

Where can I find the course?

To access our course, click here, or you can find the link on Mareike’s Instagram profile in her Domestika Course highlight. Here you can find the teacher’s profile. We can’t wait to see you there!

How long do the sessions last?

It very much depends on the depth of learning. You can either rush through it, pausing when the most exciting parts for you happen (~2.5hrs), or trying to understand every single step, being active in the forum, practicing, and thinking about how to implement it in your workflow (~12hrs+).

How much does the retouching course cost?

The price of the course depends on the time when you buy it. Take advantage of the important periods of the year with special discounts for specific courses, for example, during Summer Sale or on Black Friday. This way, you can get the most out of your learning experience!

If you’re interested in taking a new course but don’t want to pay the full price, Domestika has a special pre-sale offer and an early-bird discount. This means you can get discounts on courses before they are released to the public or very early on.

You can also profit from being a Domestika Plus member based on a subscription. You will receive one Token per month to choose a course based on your interests. Furthermore, you have access to 100+ open courses every year, 20% extra savings on courses and bundles, exclusive content and resources, and a certificate when you complete a course.

You can see the current price for our course at any time on the course page

Can I get a refund?

You can request a refund for your order as long as it is done within 14 days of the time of purchase or the course’s release. This period also applies to purchasing Domestika subscriptions and memberships from the date of their commencement. For their current conditions, please recheck their website here.

Should you have issues entering the course, with payment for the course, or any other technical problems with the Domestika platform, please review this page or contact Domestika directly at

All in all, I had a great experience working with Domestika. Their support was quick and helpful, and I never had to wait too long for someone to respond to my questions.

Additional Insights: What was the experience like on set?

We were guided in a very structured manner from start to finish.

Of course, the success of each course is highly dependent on the teacher’s motivation and way of working. The majority must be implemented on one’s own responsibility when it comes to pre-production. We received a lot of creative freedom to create the course we wanted to create.

The course production itself was split into two parts. One was based on the screencast content. We had very professional equipment in hardware to guarantee clear audio results. A dedicated team regularly checked these video results to avoid audio and visual errors.

The other part was based on actual experience on set: recording the course trailer and intro, as well as being part of a photoshoot. It was very exciting to work with the Domestika team. They are very interested in feedback, optimizing processes, and producing good results. They are always on hand with problems and uncertainties and provide support wherever possible.

Do you have any suggestions or additions, is this post out of date, or have you found any mistakes? Then we look forward to your comment.
You are welcome to share this post. We are very grateful for every recommendation.

The perfect light setup for post-production (1)



The lighting environment is as essential in printing as in post-production. As a newcomer to the subject, you rarely get a really good overview; hours of research are often necessary, including specialist websites, with a lot of technical jargon. To make it a lot easier for you, I did a short interview with Paul Santek about this important topic.

So Paul, how did you learn so much about lighting, press, and color management?

​Through my educational background and technical interest, I find it really easy to dive deeper into those topics and suck up everything I can find. Including scientific stuff e.g. knowing how a photo spectrometer (= a device for color measurement) works. The best way of learning was to compare articles and books with fundamental scientific theses. Talking with other professionals also played a huge role which worked best by being interested in their work.​

Let’s start with the actual interview and talk about the room conditions for the light setup for post-production: How should the room be designed? How can we minimize unwanted influences and guarantee neutral conditions? (e.g. clothing, windows, color furniture, etc.)

It’s really simple: Get rid of everything colorful which can reflect or filter light. Examples would be toned curtains, wearing pink shirts, and a red wall behind the screen / between two desks.

At first glance, a room with almost no color seems a bit boring. However, if you train your eye to see the smallest light color casts, you would notice someone wearing a red shirt entering the room because the color changes – even if the entrance is behind you.

If you want to introduce some more or less colorful things into the post-production office like plants, or pictures, … think about the location and the color spill. Do you really need a plant next to your screen, having green color in your viewing field all day long? An alternative to that could e.g., be to take breaks and get out of the office for a few minutes and give your eyes some rest and yourself some fresh air.

*Pro tip: Women work less efficiently with gray walls (psychological effect)

If you look around in your office as an image editor — which conditions and lamps are critical, and which ones need alternatives? // Which conditions would be intolerable for image editing?

Critical and important lamps are those which directly brighten workspaces. Like the one above a desk, those above a cutting/viewing desk, and the one above a printer.

In my case, the one above the printer is the least critical one as I examine prints on my viewing desk.

It’s also mandatory to have stable conditions. If it’s a sunny day or if it’s midnight, the room should always be almost the same.

Just to get you an idea with some numbers:
Above my computer desk, there is a daylight lamp with two 58 watts tubes with every 3350 lumens and D50.
Above my viewing desk, there are 4 lamps (two rows, each 3 m long), each with two tubes with 3350 lumens. The rows are separately switchable to be prepared to have one row with D50 and the other one with D65 tubes or to adjust the brightness to the work I do like cutting and examining prints and samples all day long where I have all lights switched on. On the other hand, if I’m wrapping parcels to get prints shipped, I’ve only one light switched on as I don’t need full brightness for that task.

Intolerable conditions for our light setup for post-production are:

  • The background behind the screen is too bright (e.g. window)/too dark or too colorful. 
  • Plus, lighting conditions that change over the day like direct sunlight in the morning and then being in a dark shadow until the afternoon when the sun shines into the office from the opposite direction.
  • And wearing pink shirts – proofed by my girlfriend: she wondered why every image had a color cast until she took a break and realized that she was wearing something pink. That’s why I always wear black or dark, neutral shirts when I do color-critical work.

Let’s assume, we could design the perfect lighting setup from scratch and have an unlimited budget. Which standards and norms are decisive for the choice? Could you elaborate on them?

​If the budget is unlimited: Hire a company doing all the light planning like “Just Normlicht” etc. Here it’s important to get e.g., certificates or measurements of light distribution, and spectral distribution of light compared to the D50 or D65 standard.

But for most of us, the budget is limited…​

Which manufacturers and alternative solutions would be possible depending on a specific budget? Where do the price differences come from? What do you have to pay attention to when it comes to cheap alternatives?

​If the budget is limited, the first thing is to avoid cheap LED and other ‘daylight’ bulbs. They may have their white point somewhere around 5000 – 6000K, but they are missing the correct spectral distribution, including UV light. That results in printed colors being visually off or optical brighteners in paper having no effect. Paper with and without optical brighteners could look similar.

Get some D50 fluorescent tubes like Osram Color Proof or Philipps Graphics and a white fixture with mirrored reflectors. Those reflectors help to distribute the light where it’s needed. It’s important that you get a light distribution diagram with the fixtures so you would know what you get. And set your screen to the right brightness and white point. Those tubes have 5300K (D50) or 6500K (D65), including the UV spectrum, to fulfill the industry requirements and standards.​

What would be the optimal choice of lighting objects, divided into must-haves and optional purchases?

Must-haves: Daylight D50 / D65 bulbs, white/gray or near neutral colored walls, maybe a viewing booth (depends on clients/work specifications). If you have to refresh the paint on the walls, get a paint without or really few optical brighteners.

*Pro tip: Always check Ra or CRI numbers for bulbs/tubes. They are supposed to be >90 for perfect color rendering.

Optional could be a viewing booth (e.g., Just Normlicht), a proof printer from Epson or Canon with proofing paper, or special wall paint colored neutral gray.

Which watt or lumen number is important when buying? (15W = 100lm = dark; 300W = 4000lm = bright)

The watts and lumens from a bulb are not that important. You must get enough light on the desk and in the room to have it bright enough during sunshine hours and not too dark when the sun has moved away. For example, I’ve got around 6600 lumens / 126 watts above my desk, and that’s bright enough to minimize the change over a sunny day it feels like sitting in the sun. In the end, it’s all about the distribution and control of the light to minimize reflections and bright or dark spots around workplaces. That minimizes the continuous adaptation of the eyes to changed surroundings.

In my first office, 3300 lumens were enough because the room was not that high and smaller, facing to the north.

I’d try to get my screen to around 100 ~ 120cd/qm and then adjust the light in that room, although it’s easier the other way around. Put some lights on the ceiling and adjust the screen brightness to that light. A gray card should be near a neutral gray on screen.​

Now we also have the choice of light color in our working conditions. As a note, we also have to consider this when calibrating our monitor(s). When is which light color advisable, and is it even advisable to change? Does it depend on the images that have to be edited and the requirements of the client?

​As a rule of thumb: If you work in print and graphics, get D50 lighting; if you have to design objects and choose a paint, then get D65. Sometimes you have to change the lighting when proofing. If you have to, I guess someone will state that in a brief, or it’s documented somewhere, or someone tells you something about it.​

Where would you not cut corners or never compromise when buying lights?

​I’d never ever buy mediocre LED lighting, even if they are way cheaper and consume next to nothing energy-wise. Don’t get fooled by advertisements or reviews. If you don’t get data sheets with measured values or a spectral distribution of light, you’d better save that money. They have a horrible spectral distribution of light, and they could flicker with the double mains’ frequency.​

What would be the last step once you have bought the lamps, have the lighting conditions in the post-production room under control, and calibrated the monitor? (e.g., gray card, 100cd/qm at the monitor)

​I’d never buy mediocre LED lighting, even if they are way cheaper and consume nothing energy-wise. Don’t get fooled by advertisements or reviews. If you don’t get data sheets with measured values or a spectral distribution of light, you’d better save that money. They have a horrible spectral distribution of light, and they could flicker with the double mains’ frequency.​

​After everything is set up and working correctly, the last step would be to get a cup of coffee, sit down, think about the situation, and reassess if there is anything left out or forgotten. And then, of course, test drive everything with critical colors and maybe ask someone to have a look if you’re not sure about something. The last step is to set up the monitor brightness to a level where neutral grey is shown as bright as a neutral grey reference next to the monitor.​

Are there any further options to optimize the viewing conditions while editing?

​There is not much more one can do. A good point is to allow your eyes to adapt to the light for about 30 minutes. Take breaks, and don’t overstrain your eyes and body in front of a screen. Learn to see the slightest color casts.​

Did you have any other experiences — real-life learnings, so to speak, that you would like to pass on?

​There are quite a few. The most important are: 

  1. Never try to examine if a calibration result is good enough if you have several ‘light’ sources and output devices displaying the same image as printed. Especially if you try to estimate if the print profile is good enough by eye, and you have both a calibrated and a not calibrated display in front of you. Everything will be off, including the calibrated display. Switched off the uncalibrated display, and everything was fine.
  2. Don’t try to calibrate a screen to a specific Gamut, except you have to because of company guidelines or soft proofing for a large printing press with a smaller gamut than AdobeRGB.
  3. The soft proof will not work with fine art inkjet printers unless there are screens with a way larger gamut than AdobeRGB (because printers can have a larger gamut depending on the used papers and inks than high-end displays with AdobeRGB).

If you want to use the brightest and most intense colors an inkjet printer can produce, use ProPhotoRGB. I’m happy to share some test prints if you don’t believe that. A good resource about that is the profile white papers, including the math for color conversions.

With which sources and specialist literature can you deepen your knowledge, divided into beginners to professionals? Is there also a YouTube channel, a podcast, or an audiobook on the subject that you recommend?

​If you really want to dig into that topic, try to read and understand some whitepapers on There you will find information about color conversions (yep, the math behind that magic!), proof conditions, etc. And there is a good collection of knowledge from Bruce Lindbloom on

Don’t try to take shortcuts; they will get you everywhere except in the right direction. As lighting is a part of color management, get confident in that field, and stay away from people who can’t / don’t want to share resources or prove their statements.​


​Thank you, Paul, for helping to improve the quality of image processing. What is the best way to contact you if people want to produce printing projects with you?

I like to get in touch with people, so the easiest way is to call or write a short email to, whatever you prefer. More info on

Make sure to check out part 2 and 3 as soon as these are available on our blog page.
Do you have any suggestions or additions, is this post out of date, or have you found any mistakes? Then we look forward to your comment.
You are welcome to share this post. We are very grateful for every recommendation.