All digital images require some post-processing. Post-processing covers colour correction, brightness, contrast and similar adjustments. Making consistent changes over a set of images is key – inconsistency in a professional product is inexcusable. “Straight from the camera” images can be good, but do you not want better than good?
Retouching is different. In the context of portraits, retouching is about removing blemishes, emphasising features that should be emphasised and de-emphasising features that shouldn’t be emphasised. We like our portraits to flatter everyone and always include a little cosmetic retouching, but if you can immediately tell that the image has been retouched then we have failed.
The secret to retouching skin is to subtly blend tonal variations, but still retain texture – plastic skin might work for dolls, but it’s not acceptable in professional portraiture. Reducing redness in skin is another common adjustment (digital cameras don’t help because they often overemphasise red).
Fixing it in Photoshop can be hard work, so it’s better to get it right when taking the shot. That’s about the lighting, the pose, clothes, hair, etc. – it’s so much easier to fix once before pressing the shutter button than to use Photoshop to fix it afterwards in a dozen shots. Post-processing and retouching of digital images isn’t about saving bad original images – for us it’s all about polishing a good image until it’s great.
We do this as standard and don’t charge extra. We want all of our images to be great.
You can see the effect of our retouching in this image (play with the slider to see the before/after image):
This is the finished edit. Overall, the image is brighter with more punch. The eyes have more pop (but don’t glow) and the skin is smoother with blended tones, but still retains texture.