Skip to content
Back to list

The Philosophy and Ethics of Retouching with Mercedes Castaneda of Fabletics Men

Daniel Jester
Chief evangelist at Creative Force

Full episode transcript

Daniel Jester:
From Creative Force, I'm Daniel Jester. And this is the eCommerce Content Creation podcast. How much Photoshop is too much? At what point does the imagery touching become dishonest or unethical? These questions in some form or another have been around since even well before digital took over photography. In today's world, it could be hard to have a conversation on this topic that includes the kind of nuance required to really understand where the line is. Mercedes Castaneda joins me for this episode, and we do our best to deliver nuance and thoughtfulness on this topic in roughly a 30 minute episode.
Mercedes Castaneda:
I remember doing some research, just like on the craft. And I remember hearing one person say, as far as like retouching humans, for example, if there is something like a blemish or a hair that's out of place, something that could be there one day and gone the next, that's pretty safe to remove or edit in post-production. Those are distractions that we really don't want whether you're selling a hair product or you're selling a beautiful skincare, that's a tricky one. When you're selling skincare and you're photographing models, where is the line of morality as far as how much you're cleaning up their skin and what this product can do?
Daniel Jester:
Our discussion ranges from pop stars to CVS label designers, to future transparency and image manipulation efforts. But before we jump in one point of correction. Late in the episode, I refer to Mercedes as lead re toucher at Fabletics. She corrected me after the episode. Mercedes is actually the lead re toucher for Fabletics Men's division. With that, let's take a listen. This is the eCommerce Content Creation podcast. I'm your host Daniel Jester. And joining me for this episode of the show, Mercedes Castaneda. Mercedes, welcome to the show. How are you?
Mercedes Castaneda:
Thank you. I'm doing good. I'm really excited to be here and talk retouching stuff.
Daniel Jester:
Oh, retouching. Okay. I'm sorry. My first question I had for you was about Dua Lipa's future nostalgia tour, and I'm just now realizing that's for my other podcast.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Wrong person.
Daniel Jester:
I got my note cards mixed up. Wrong show, wrong question.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Wrong show.
Daniel Jester:
No, just kidding, Mercedes. Thank you for indulging my very dumb opening joke. Now I'll get into business.
Mercedes Castaneda:
I love it.
Daniel Jester:
Yeah. We're here to talk about retouching, and you and I had a really great conversation last week to kind of figure out how we want to approach the topic of post-production and retouching definitely in particular for e-commerce, but we're going to take a little bit of a broader look at it. And we kind of touched on the idea of ethics and philosophy of retouching. It's been a constant conversation in our industry. Basically, it boils down to how much Photoshop is too much. And there's been a lot of emotions attached to the idea of Photoshop, which that's probably a whole episode. We can talk about how that has made a retouchers job harder, that this is like the tool of their trade. And it, in some ways has been the point of the discussion that is the thing that people have a problem with.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Yeah, attacked a little bit.
Daniel Jester:
Yeah. But you told me a story about getting into retouching earlier in your career. And I wanted to share that with our audience. I thought it was really interesting. So walk us through a little bit about how you, Mercedes, got into this industry.
Mercedes Castaneda:
It's already such a niche industry, even now. It's growing. It's grown a lot actually within the last couple years alone. When I was younger, I didn't know what retouching was. I didn't even know what post production was, but I remember this moment that stands out to me when I was young, was being in Best Buy and seeing the new Britney Spears album that came out. It was In the Zone, the one that was blue with her hair in the wind. And it was a super tight close up headshot of her. And I just remember, I thought she was so pretty. And I remember looking at the album, like looking for a flaw in her appearance is basically what I was doing as a young girl, I was like...
Daniel Jester:
There's wrinkle or something here.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Yeah. I was like, there's no way she is this perfect. So I remember just like picking up the album and trying to scrutinize, trying to find anything I could that the person who was working on the album cover maybe missed as if I could have found something that there I couldn't. It's funny when I think back about it. Yeah. It just, I think that really fascinated me in a way that I couldn't quite understand at the time, but I was really fascinated with the idea that this person, for example, Britney Spears, somebody who's known around the world, whether it be a brand product, these images, these campaigns need to be seen worldwide in front of millions and billions of people. And there are actual humans behind the process, every step of the way. So one person had the job of retouching or one person had the job of her makeup, hair, the photographer, there is one person behind each step of the process.
Mercedes Castaneda:
And that really, really fascinated me when I was young. But again, I couldn't quite understand what I was fascinated by. I just really, I recognized that aesthetics really interested me, just the art of making good quality aesthetics that kind of stuck with me for a long time. And I didn't really know the field and how to get into retouching. I found graphic design along the way, and I was doing a lot of retouching on the side as I was learning it. And again, I didn't know what I was doing, but I was growing my skill and my trade that whole time for many years self-taught, which was really exciting. I got to go at my own pace and learn a lot. But now the industry's developed a little bit more, and I've kind of found my way in. And it's been a really exciting journey so far. So yeah.
Daniel Jester:
I think that you and I maybe have similar sentiments or I guess sort of realizations about it because at some point for me, it clicked that everything I interact with from a design perspective has been thought about and was intentioned by someone, right. And similar to you with the Britney Spears portrait and the album cover is like somebody chose the background color. Somebody chose the hairstyle. Somebody chose every little piece of that because they wanted me to see it in a specific way. And having that kind of sudden context behind every thing that we touch. I'm looking right now on my desk at a bottle of, or a little tin of mints. And it's like a designer put a lot of work into designing this packaging and this logo and all of this stuff. And it is really interesting because those items, especially sort of ephemeral items like a tin of mints are intended to be used and discarded, but then all of a sudden they have a dimension to them that is really interesting.
Daniel Jester:
And we were at the Pixelz event together when Lindsey Di Ruscio from Trove talked about this specifically, which is that people and products have stories and stories are culture. And design is culture. And no matter what the design is, even if it's dumb CVS brand nose spray, some graphic designer created that label and put time and effort and thought into it. But that's a digression. We're not here to talk about that. We're here to talk specifically about retouching. So I guess...
Mercedes Castaneda:
No, but it's just fascinating though, like the whole consumer goods, the consumer market. I think that was a big part of the interest for me that I also didn't recognize at the time was just consumer goods. All of this stuff is getting ready to be seen by millions of people. And there's so much that goes behind it. It's fascinating.
Daniel Jester:
Right. Somebody designs the tags that you rip off of your pants when you buy them. Somebody designs that. It was a big project for somebody, and maybe it was their breakout project.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Right. It's fascinating.
Daniel Jester:
It really is. The question, and I'm going to ask a pretty loaded question up front to get into our topic, admittedly, because you and I, when we talked about this last week, or I guess that was earlier this week. Boy, time is a weird warped situation. Isn't it? Weird tunnel of, I don't know. But anyway, what we were talking about is that our culture today can't have this conversation with the nuance that it really needs. And there's a lot of reasons for that. I'm not going to come out like a technophobe and say that social media destroyed the ability to have a nuance conversation. I'm not going to get into all that. But if I ask you the question, how much is too much? That's a pretty loaded question, right? Because we've had this conversation on social media, in public a lot over the last few years when it comes to editing and retouching. But there is not a single answer to that, right? There's no single answer to how much is too much. So for you Mercedes, how much is too much?
Mercedes Castaneda:
I think this is a question I had for a really long time, especially being the person almost in the driver's seat of the project. Because oftentimes to be honest, the people that I'm getting the images from, the art director, the photographer, whoever it is, whatever product you're shooting whether it's a person or a physical object, depending on the brand, all these people have very different relationships with retouchers and the retouching process. Some have none at all. Some just give me the images and don't even know what they're asking for. They just think I know everything, no questions asked.
Daniel Jester:
Do what you do.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Exactly. And some are very specific. So I think having that responsibility, I needed to figure out that question for myself really early on. I remember doing some research, just like on the craft. And I remember hearing one person say as far as retouching humans, for example, if there is something like a blemish or a hair that's out of place, something that could be there one day and gone the next, that's pretty safe to remove or edit in post production. Those are distractions that we really don't want whether you're selling a hair product or you're selling a beautiful skincare. Ooh, that's a tricky one. When you're selling skincare and you're photographing models, where is the line of morality as far as how much you're cleaning up their skin and what this product can do? How much is too much is really, it is a loaded question. I don't know that there's a simple answer I do have...
Daniel Jester:
I don't think there's one answer is kind of the thing. And you brought up a great point. The answer's different when you're shooting celebrities than if you're shooting models for a skincare line than if you're shooting models for an apparel collection, the answer is dramatically different. And I think your rule of thumb makes sense to me. And it kind of reflects my own feelings on it because when retouching and the idea of beauty standards has been part of the social sort of conversation, my feeling has always been there's some amount that is still necessary. And the reason for that is because what if Beyonce had a pimple the day that she came in for that photo shoot. And obviously her makeup artists are going to take care of that. And we don't need to necessarily rely solely on retouching for that. But if you see Beyonce in person and she's having a bad skin day, if she has those, right, you're not going to realize that. You're not going to even notice it because you're seeing Beyonce in front of you.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Right. It's Beyonce, the fullness of her presence.
Daniel Jester:
Exactly. But then when you photograph her blemishes and all, the blemishes now become the focal point because people can sit there and pick apart an image in ways that are almost obscene because it's just the nature of our interaction with imagery is different than with things in person. So that rule of thumb, I think really aligns with my own personal feelings. Which is that if it's something that's temporary or wouldn't have necessarily been there in the first place, it's not a key characteristic or something structural to that person, then it's a pretty safe bet that you can kind of deal with it and take care of it.
Daniel Jester:
But there's a big difference between that and dramatically changing someone's physical appearance. When we start to talk about enhanced bust lines, enhancing curves on models. This was a big topic when this came up years ago. There was a movie that came out where they clearly made... It wasn't Keira Knightley. Who's the other actress that people get confused with her all the time? I don't remember, but she was in a movie, and they made her curvier than she is in person. And it was pretty obvious. And that's a whole different ethical question right, than removing acne or removing a stray hair. You're changing the structural body geometry of a person that is not reflective of who they actually are.
Mercedes Castaneda:
There's the question too, of weight. We're humans, we fluctuate. We're not objects, we're not computers. So from a personal standpoint, getting real personal here, if I'm doing a headshot for a new professional photo, and I gain a little bit of weight, to be honest, I don't think that's the best reflection of me if I was going through a more stressful time of life. And that was me just kind of on an off season. If I'm in a better season of life, I'm working out more, I'm eating right. I'm just feeling good. That's the time I want my headshot scheduled for. But life doesn't always work out the way we want.
Daniel Jester:
Yeah, absolutely. You bring up another point sort of indirectly that there's sort of an issue of consent here a little bit too, which is that you are directing this and versus a situation where it might be a model whose likeness has essentially been bought and paid for, and then is just changed because somebody thinks that a curvier person or whatever the thing is, that they can make more money, that they will sell more tickets to this movie if Natalie Portman, that was it, Natalie Portman was selling the movie. That they can make more money for this movie if Natalie Portman looks sexier because she's curvier. There's clearly ethical lines that have been crossed there than yeah, you're right. Like it's not a great time of month for me to get a headshot and I don't feel great, and I don't look great as a result of that. And life gets in the way of that.
Mercedes Castaneda:
And you'll notice certain celebrities cough, Mariah Carey, cough. I've never worked on her before, but you'll notice she's just one of those celebrities whenever she comes out with an album, whoa, how amazing does she look? She never ages. You'll see her on a performance the next day, doesn't quite line up.
Daniel Jester:
Doesn't quite line up.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Definitely some celebrities who do have a sand retouching. It's their image and their body of work is themselves. Their body, their physical appearance is literally often tied to their body work, the way that people scrutinize them, what they're known for, their expressions, things like that. I think she even a little bit off topic, but I heard she even has her legs insured.
Daniel Jester:
Let's bring it back to pop stars. I was going to say, Dua Lipa, let's go.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Exactly. Like Mariah Carey has her legs insured. And for some wild amount, if anything happens to them, that's her asset. So I know of some other celebrities who have asked for a little bit more of their say in retouching, so rounds of retouching will go through them. Some celebrities, they see the first round. It's great. They really don't care. They don't need to be touched up anymore, but there are some that do because they are scrutinized that much. And then when we're talking about ethics and morality, how much are we going to give them a break? Because going back to my young self, trying to find anything I could in that album cover with Britney Spears on it, I was trying to find anything wrong with her. Imagine everyone else on this planet.
Mercedes Castaneda:
So we want to help out in that way, but yeah, it's definitely a line of morality as far as like, we know that sex sells. That's a fact. So how do we know that fact and not abuse it? As far as distorting body figures and things like that. Yeah. It's always a question.
Daniel Jester:
Right. This is a good time to segue into another element of the conversation, which is direct response to some of the criticisms publicly around retouching or Photoshopping of models and that kind of thing, has been campaigns that feature celebrities or well known models in situations where they're either not wearing makeup or that we're told that they're not wearing makeup. We touched on this when we talked earlier this week, that even in those situations, there are still some technical reasons that you have to retouch an image. There's still the physics of how a camera works and how light works. Cameras are not our eyes. They capture things that our eyes don't necessarily see, or they don't. They actually, in some cases, don't capture things as well as our eyes are used to adjusting. So our eyes are very good at adjusting for what a camera calls white balance, which is making colors look neutral.
Daniel Jester:
The the color of our house inside under a Tungsten bulb still pretty much looks the same to us as it does when sunlight's filtering in through the window, because our eyes are amazing at that. Cameras are not good at that. And as a result, cameras can really accentuate certain colors, especially reds in skin tones. So even if you see Mariah Carey without makeup on and she looks amazing, the camera may not be as forgiving as our eyes are.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Totally.
Daniel Jester:
So I want to talk about this specifically with the beauty industry and retouching for the beauty industry, because I think there's a lot of considerations in beauty products that the general public may not be aware of from a retouching perspective. So what are some of the technical situations, Mercedes, where there's things that you have to do because of the technical process of making a photograph that fall well within the lines of like, we have to correct this because this is not how our eyes work.
Mercedes Castaneda:
I think I have a couple examples in that scenario. I know when we were talking earlier about this topic, I brought up the example of when we're bringing in a model to shoot a new, say, eyeshadow palette that's the big campaign for the company. They want it to look great. With color theory, that's a whole one side of things, but also there are certain colors that make your eyes pop more or less, depending on again, skin tone, things like that. Things that the camera might not be able to pick up very well. Might look great in person, might look a little weird on camera, right? So if say they hire a model or two for the whole day of shooting, they're shooting all these looks on them, but the models' eye color might not compliment the eyeshadow that well.
Mercedes Castaneda:
And maybe if we saw them on the street, we'd think, hey, they look great. But from the perspective of the company, the beauty brand that's trying to sell their product of eyeshadow with super vibrant colors that look great and amazing, they could look so much more vibrant off camera, which typically they do. Typically, you need to put on so much more makeup for the camera to be able to read it correctly. And you look like a clown in real life. That's a typical a situation that happens often, but it's cases like that where we're trying to show you an example of what it could look like in person maybe if you had an eye color that complimented that eyeshadow well. So some things we'll have to change from time to time is eye color. Is the eye color itself, detracting from the vibrancy and message and main thing we're trying to sell with the eyeshadow colors around it. If that makes sense.
Daniel Jester:
It does. And not only that, the issue of because every customer's unique skin tone, unique eye color, they're going to pick maybe a couple of eyeshadows. But that's a really great point about the limitations of production, which is that you're probably only going to have for an eyeshadow shoot, you probably might not have more than four models. And that would be pretty extravagant, but you've got a lot of colors to shoot. And they're not all going to work for every model's skin tone or eye color. And then couple that with the fact that you're probably shooting up close on things that especially going to be used in advertising, are going to be blown up big. And so you need to use the tools at your disposal to inspire that customer. And I'm inclined to agree with you, Mercedes. I think in that case, you're not talking about things that are... I think that falls more in line with showing the best side of the product, as opposed to fundamentally trying to trick somebody into buying something that they're not going to like.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Exactly. That's exactly what it is. Yeah. Even in my talk at Flow LA the event that pixels put on, I brought up the example that we're really trying to eliminate distractions as much as possible. So in the work that I do for Fabletics, we're really trying to show the fit of the garment, the flow of the fabric, the colors, making them pop. We don't want the skin tone, a clashing skin tone. We don't want that to take away from the super vibrant, highlighter exciting colors that we have coming out. You know what I mean? So we're really going to do everything we can. Some people might say, oh, you're touching their skin tone. Is that unethical?
Mercedes Castaneda:
Mm, I don't think so because we're really allowing the product and the vision to pop in this image. That's what we're trying to sell. And that's what you're coming to us to purchase. You know what I mean? And to be honest, that's just part of branding. You're selling it. A brand vision is very important, and that's how we connect and engage with the customer. If we have customers that want to feel loud and bold and exciting in these bright colors, we want to sell that vision. That might be a term that some people don't like is sell the vision, but it's just the name of the game.
Daniel Jester:
That's capitalism.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Exactly. It's the world we live in.
Daniel Jester:
Selling the vision, selling the dream. Yeah. And again, I think for me, I guess like to answer our initial question of how much is too much, part of the answer to that question is, again, it's unique to every situation, but it's also like, can you explain this? I think a company who that this is an important value to them maybe is being transparent in the way that these things work. Because I can see a future, not that far from us, Mercedes, where we treat the evolution of a digital image the same way that we would treat ethical supply chains, where people are going to want to know where was this image shot? Or how was it retouched? What work was done to it? As a matter of transparency in helping customers decide who they want to do business with.
Daniel Jester:
And so if you can ask the question, why'd you choose to manipulate this model's skin tone for this shot? And that the answer is like they had some red splotches because of the type of lighting that we were using, or they had some unevenness in the light, and we wanted it created a distraction that needed to be removed because that's the first thing you notice. To me, that's a totally acceptable explanation for that level of work.
Mercedes Castaneda:
That's something I learned in design school too. You are supposed to design everything with purpose and intentionality. If a client asks, why did you choose this color? Why did you make this copy this size when I wanted it to be the biggest thing ever? You have to explain the intentionality and the reasoning behind it, because there's always a professional explanation. But you need to realize what that explanation is as you're doing it.
Daniel Jester:
If you get asked that question and you don't have an answer, now maybe we need to work on the fundamentals of like design, and intention and design. And this goes back to the conversation we're talking about earlier, which is that the dude who designed the label of the spray bottle from CVS, I could probably ask them 10 questions about their design. And they had thought about every element of it. That's a big thing that I hold dear too. And even when I'm watching movies and stuff is like starting to learn how to see the art form in some of these pieces of media which the art form is, I'm showing you these things because I want you to see them for a reason.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Yeah. I was watching movies the other day and I was reflecting on what moment in time? My vision for movies almost, I don't want to say got distorted, but changed. It shifted. In the way where before I was able to just take in everything they were throwing at me. And now, I only see it from a post-production view. I'm always looking at the color scheme, the color grading.
Daniel Jester:
How they're using color. Yeah.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Exactly. And I'm dissecting and studying all. Again, not just color theory, but there's so much that goes behind this in the post production process that's supposed to get us to feel a certain way or understand the character a certain way, or feel some sort of emotion, invoke some sort of emotion in each and every movie scene, depending on budget, right? The amount of budget that goes into a movie, you see so much more of that post-production work behind it that really creates an emotional experience when you're viewing the movie itself.
Daniel Jester:
Totally. A great example of this exact phenomenon for me, Mercedes, was watching rewatching, because I've seen this movie a bunch of times, but rewatching in the last year or two, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Which is my favorite Wes Anderson movie. I in general enjoy most Wes Anderson movies, but that one in particular is my favorite one. And because Wes Anderson is a master of using visual elements to foreshadow events and to help you understand the emotional weight of a moment. And a great example of this in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, this is probably spoilers by the way. So if you're going to get spoiled by this like 20 year old movie, maybe skip ahead 30 seconds. But there's a scene in there where the camera's right at water level. And as the water kind of encroaches onto the bottom of the frame, you see that underneath the water, it actually is appearing red because there's blood in the water. And in that scene, that flashback scene, that person passes away.
Daniel Jester:
And so when you see this happen again, later in the film, all of a sudden what appeared originally to be kind of a goofy sight gag like a very Wes Andersony sight gag actually becomes an emotional gut punch because now you realize the weight of the scene that you're seeing now is that when this happened before, that person ended up dying. This person on camera, they used this visual gag to indicate this is a very emotional moment. And even the characters don't understand the weight of this moment right now. All of that stuff, I could nerd out about that kind of stuff forever. I feel like I find those little bits and pieces of art all the time.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Yeah. It's art.
Daniel Jester:
Even in dumb things.
Mercedes Castaneda:
It's art. It's the art of the craft and the skill of the trade. And I think we play different parts in the post-production process whether it's, again, retouching at the end, or planning, pre-production, doing the photography itself, styling on set. There's an art behind all of it. There's intentionality. There's reason behind all of it. And I think that all of us who are in those individual roles, we all genuinely, I think, like to think of ourselves as good people. So I think it depends too on our ethical stance. Are we trying to do a good job at the work that we're doing? Or are we trying to manipulate in a way that is harmful to the consumer?
Daniel Jester:
Right. Are we just trying to make this leggings model's butt look huge, because it'll sell more leggings on Amazon.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Right. Because even in a movie perspective when they're changing the color, color grading, whatever they're doing, we don't see that as manipulation. We don't see it as them trying to harm us. We see them as trying to help us.
Daniel Jester:
Right. Yeah, help you understand the metaphor, the visual metaphor in the story. Totally. As we're getting to ready to wrap up the conversation, Mercedes, I have one other question that I wrote down that I kind of want to, I'm going to give you the final word on this. So when we have this conversation about retouching, these types of very public conversations about the ethics and retouching, what are we getting right about the conversation and what are we getting wrong or where do we need more nuance?
Mercedes Castaneda:
A big part of the conversation is are we manipulating body types and skewing our perception of beauty? I think CVS took a really bold stand with that conversation. And if you go into their stores now, they have a little sign at the very bottom corner of the images with any beauty brand, any photo in the store, it says this image has been digitally altered, just so you know, just so you know. And target actually made the stance to not retouch any of their images at all, which I think is crazy. And I think that's the opposite end. I think that was the wrong choice to make because they wanted to address this situation as well, where a lot of people are feeling offended. They're not liking the idea that people are being manipulated as a part of the post-production process. I get turned off sometimes by some of the products, especially in the beauty section because I'm seeing a lot of what the camera's picking up at a hyper detailed level that is actually turning me off.
Daniel Jester:
And it becomes a distraction from the product for some people. And again, we're not here to paint with a broad brush. Everybody's values and experiences are a little bit different, but for me, and part of this is because I'm an inside production nerd so I don't expect this to be a problem for the vast majority of the world's population. But the no retouching thing, the first thing that I see all the time is scuff marks and pencil marks on the seamless paper.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Totally, totally.
Daniel Jester:
Like, can we at least just Photoshop the negative space so we can get rid of the scuff marks and pencil marks.
Mercedes Castaneda:
It just shows so many more distractions and so many more, in my opinion, turn offs. And part of branding, we're trying to create a clean image, a clean aesthetic, and that doesn't always mean altering human images. But in that sense, going back to that, the whole complete non retouching approach, I do not think is the right way to go because it just enhances so many details and distractions, and you do risk turning off a wide range of consumers there.
Daniel Jester:
There's a lot of nuance that should be a part of this conversation because there isn't one answer. But I think it is an interesting conversation to have. And thank you so much for your time in having it. So you mentioned that you are lead re toucher for Fabletics. I've mentioned this to you before, but I'm going to go on the record. I'm actually wearing my Fabletics pants right now. They are so comfortable. I told Mercedes this last week, I'm not getting paid for this, but listen, Fabletics, if you want to sponsor the show, I'll take my payment in pants. I'm wearing the Only pants, they're insanely comfortable. They look amazing. And I bought three more color ways the day before yesterday because they're the right pants for me. So shout out to Fabletics. The Only pant is A plus.
Mercedes Castaneda:
I love it. I love it. No, it was really great to be on the show. I'm here anytime to talk about retouching, post production thing. We can nerd and geek out together.
Daniel Jester:
Yeah, actually I should. We should mention also you're going to be at, are you going to be at both conferences in New York in May. So May 4th is the Henry Stewart event. And then May 5th Pixelz is doing another FLOW event in New York. You'll be there for Pixelz, right?
Mercedes Castaneda:
Yeah. I just heard about the other event. I really don't know much about it, but I'm definitely going to be there May 5th for the Pixelz event. And I'm going to be speaking again so I'm really excited about it.
Daniel Jester:
Yeah. Yeah, the day before that is Henry Stewart is putting on Photo Studio Operations. It's a good event we have covered on this show. They did a virtual event. When was that? It was a while back. It was a good event. They get good speakers, they get good topics. We're encouraging our listeners to attend both. That's part of the reason why Pixelz has the FLOW event the following day is because a lot of people are in town already. So at the very least, it'll be great to see you again. You and I met for the first time at the Pixelz event. You were great on your panel. It was such a pleasure to get to meet you. I feel like I floated around you on LinkedIn for a few months before we actually met. But yeah.
Mercedes Castaneda:
It was great to have the conversation in depth.
Daniel Jester:
Yeah, totally. Yeah, it was great to see each other in person for the first time. I feel like I hadn't seen another human person that wasn't related to me in some way in such a long time. But yeah, it's great to have you on the show and looking forward to seeing you again in May.
Mercedes Castaneda:
Thank you for having me. I'm looking forward to seeing you as well.
Daniel Jester:
That's it for this episode of the podcast. As we mentioned towards the end of the episode, you can see and hear from Mercedes at FLOW New York, hosted by Pixelz on May 5th. I will be there as well as at the Henry Stewart Photo Studio Operations Conference the day before on May 4th in New York City. You can learn more about both of these events with the links in our show notes. Many thanks to our guest Mercedes Castaneda. And thanks to you for listening. The show is produced by Creative Force edited by Calvin Lanz. Special thanks to my friend, Sean O'Meara. I'm your host Daniel Jester, until next time my friends.

About the host

Daniel Jester
Chief evangelist at Creative Force

Daniel Jester is an experienced creative production professional who has managed production teams, built and launched new studios, and produced large-scale projects. He's currently the Chief Evangelist at Creative Force but has a breadth of experience in a variety of studio environments - working in-house at brands like Amazon, Nordstrom, and Farfetch as well as commercial studios like CONVYR. Creative-minded, while able to effectively plan for and manage a complex project, he bridges the gap between spreadsheets and creative talent.