Becca Maffett, the face and talent behind Terragold Photo, is a seasoned food and product photographer turned creative educator. Having caught the creative bug early, Becca has an extensive background in photo retouching and editing gained whilst she established her photography career.
Aptly named Terragold, Becca’s images have a golden glow synonymous with her magical editing style. Now, Becca is just as comfortable photographing and styling a scene as she is working her magic in post-production. From mouth-watering food and drink styling to product hero shots and texture play, Becca’s versatility is testament to her dedication to her craft and desire to creatively grow. She can easily take her image to the next level with the proven editing techniques and workflows she has put in practice.
Becca is a creator whose community spirit is at the forefront of what she does. She is a naturally engaging sharer and teacher so her decision to launch her Photoshop editing course, Roadmap to Retouching is an instinctive progression in her creative career. Wanting to help other aspiring creators overcome the speed humps she encountered through her retouching career, Becca shares the tried and tested workflows that can help them level up their creativity.
Keep scrolling to meet Becca and let Becca’s creative journey inspire you to level up your creativity too.
Hey Becca! We'd love to find out how you got started as a product photographer and retoucher?
Hey there! I’m from Baltimore, Maryland and my photography journey started in a graphic design class in high school. We had a project where we had to take photos and then alter them using Photoshop. I went out with my point-and-shoot camera and became super interested in learning more.
I went on to get a job at a portrait studio in my area and then decided to attend a college that specialized in photography. After college, I found it hard to find a job in the commercial space (not having years of real-life studio experience yet), but accepted a job as a portrait retoucher. I slowly started to build my photo business photographing weddings, portraits, and families.
I moved to a couple corporate jobs here and there after that but I constantly had a nudge to go all in on my photo business. I was starting to take on more product and restaurant jobs but I was mainly photographing food I cooked or bought, all to build my portfolio.
Finally, a few years ago, I decided to take on a freelance retouching job, which gave me the freedom to focus even more on my photo business and also allowed me to not feel like I had to take on every client that came my way.
Freelance retouching ended up being a huge piece of my growing photography business. I was able to practice and retouch more commercial style images and learn how to be more organized and efficient. It took 10+ years to get to where I’m at now, where I feel like I’m finally where I always wanted to be in the photography world. Don’t ever quit your daydream.
What are some things people might not know about you?
What equipment do you currently use to produce your content?
Camera body: I use a Nikon D850 (backup body Nikon D750)
Lenses: I mainly use fixed/prime lenses but recently invested in a Nikon 24-70m f/2.8 lens for more flexibility at on-location shoots
The main lenses I use: Tokina 100mm and Nikon 50mm
Tripod: Slik tripod (I’ve had it for over 10 years, it’s a beast)
Lighting: I have 2 Godox FV150 lights and a Nikon SB-900 speedlight
Editing: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Bridge/Camera Raw
Do you have a favourite lighting setup?
I love playing with all types of lighting and it usually depends on the client, but I really like hard light, and love that it is being used more and more these days. I love to incorporate light modifiers to give scenes more of a moody feel.
What are your three top tools to use in Photoshop?
My favourite tools in Photoshop are probably the pen tool, clone stamp, and the patch tool.
What is your best advice to share with aspiring photographers?
A few things: Practice!! Practice with studio lighting and retouching techniques. Challenge yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients as many questions as you need to in order to feel confident during your shoot. I always like to get on a call with clients to make sure we are on the same page about everything.
Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter ten.
It’s so easy to compare yourself to other photographers (especially on Instagram). Use those photographers as inspiration and know if they can do it, so can you. We all start at the beginning and have our own journeys.
How do you keep learning and evolving your skills?
Always be learning, always be practicing. I’m constantly doing things that are hard and uncomfortable. I’m such a visual learner, it helps me to grab an inspo photo, and try to recreate it. Doing personal shoots is so important. Being able to play and experiment without the pressure of a client brief helps me to expand my skills and knowledge. Learn from others, ask questions, and ask for help! I waited way too long to ask for help and tried to do everything myself (hint: you’ll only get so far!).
When it comes to photo retouching, Photoshop is constantly changing. There are a lot of options, and you can achieve the same results with multiple different techniques. It can be overwhelming! My brand new course Roadmap to Retouching will break down specific tools, workflows, and different techniques–so I recommend it if you’re just starting out or familiar with Photoshop but still unsure about some things. Even if you’re looking to make your workflow more efficient or learn how to work non-destructively, I’ve got you covered!
Congratulations on your new course, well done! What made you create this course for others to refine their skills?
I wanted to create this course for other photographers because I’ve been in the place of feeling like I was spending way too much time editing one image, not feeling confident in certain tools or techniques, and having messy files. I know how hard and overwhelming it can be.
I came from the wedding/portrait photography world and to be honest, used a lot of presets (which isn’t a bad thing!), but I quickly realised I can’t do that with food and product photography. I was constantly trying to find a quick and easy way to retouch my images and just figure it out as I went—but that cost me a lot of time and resulted in a lot of self-doubt.
Over the years (and using Photoshop daily) I’ve learned how to be more efficient in my workflow, create clean and organised files, and use tools in multiple different ways.
I want to share this knowledge with others because I've been there, wanting to refine my skills but just not knowing where to start. I wanted to have a one-stop shop for food and product photographers to be able to become more efficient in what they already know and learn new tools and techniques to add to their workflow. I want to help photographers feel confident with the post-production process and help them grow their businesses!
What advice do you have for others wanting to create educational content? What were the main challenges?
It’s definitely not something that can be rushed. It took me a lot of hours and a lot of research to find the right platforms and workflow to make it all come together. The planning process was probably what took me the longest to be honest. Figuring out what should stay or go and how the modules should be set up. Lots of little details to pay attention to. My DM’s are always open for questions about this topic!
Which other creators do you admire and find inspiring?
Obviously, the Creatively Squared community has been a huge inspiration to me!
Other than that, there are so many photographers I admire.
After the excitement of your course launch, what is next for you?
I plan to keep adding new tutorials to my course and helping members in our private Facebook group. I already have an idea for another course–more like a guide–that teaches a few different lighting techniques/setups.
Thank you Becca for generously sharing your creative magic and talent in food and product photography with us. The community has definitely learned so much from you.
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