Wow thank you all for such positive comments! I really appreciate that!!!
Ok, I have no problem sharing how these are done, only I spend about an hour on each photo to make them look like this, so it ouwld be an understatement to say that its not a neat little trick that I can just explain.
I go through 6 basic steps.
1) Starts with the shot itself. I shoot under exposed by 1 stop. every time. Doesnt matter if my client is a startup tshirt line or a fortune 500 company. Always shoot under exposed.
2) Toning and Skin retouching. I only remove blemishes. I dont ever blur skin using any of the blur tools including portaiture. I use heal, dodge, burn, and patch. A stylus and tablet really really help. Skin without texture is the mark of an amateur. (this step should take at least 20mins)
3) Curves adjustments: I even out larger, darker areas of skin with multiple layers of curves adjustments. I set the curve to reflect what i want to see in that particular area of the picture, apply to the whole picture, invert the mask and using a stylus i paint in the area I want to adjust. (this step will take at least 20mins). This is why I shoot under exposed so that I have all the information in the image and I correct specific spots using curves, masks, inverting, painting back in.
4) I remove all true black and white from the image using the curves tool. This will cause a haze.
5) Gamma correction.
6) channel mixer and more curves adjustment layers to get the color tones you want.
Keep in mind that the order of layering changes the look of an image. Also, keep in mind that even if I told you the step by step processes I used, each image is its own beast. So the values you use are up to your taste. If we cooked off the same recipe our dishes would come out differently. same goes for photography and retouching in my opinion. If you have more specific wuestions I would be happy to answer them. thanks again everyone for all the positive remarks! Im going to post another set that I shot with a gold reflector and different model.
Ill keep checking back here too!