Although I am a full-time photographer, I come from a background in design, so editing and retouching, even advanced work like skin, body morphing, and background removals, all of that came easily to me.
Editing vs. Retouching
Many of my non-photographer clients ask me about the difference between editing and retouching. So, I do basic editing (i.e. color and light correction) to all of my photos before I deliver them. I try to get it right in camera, but editing afterwards gives me the chance to make little adjustments I may not have caught when I got the photo.
Retouching is a more advanced type of editing that actually alters the image’s structure. So, taking something out of the background, editing facial features or skin, body toning, or corrections on hair, makeup, or wardrobe. Retouching is associated with Photoshop, because Photoshop is one of the most common computer programs used for retouching.
I’m not a fan of heavy retouching, especially body morphing. I think that, when saturated with commercial images, it can make people think “perfect” is being super skinny. In fact, in France, where anorexia is common, advertisers now have to include a notice when an image has been altered.
To clarify, this is an image that has basic color correction and some grading:
This is an image that has color correction, grading, AND retouching:
Professional Photo Retouching, Los Angeles
I really love editing of all kinds. The finishing work of making an image come to life, to put the final touches on it, makes me so happy.
Basic Color Correction & Adjustments
Here are some before/after examples of some basic color correction and adjustments. Notice there aren’t really structural changes (no line changes, other than crop adjustments) or any heavy retouching. None is even really needed. This is how I edit the bulk of my weddings and portrait sessions.
If I’m editing my own work, I edit “true-to-skin” romantic. When I’m editing for a fellow photographer I follow whatever mood they’ve established.