(Closed) To Retouch or not to Retouch…

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: Would you retouch your photos (wedding and/or boudoir)?
    Yes : (31 votes)
    86 %
    No : (4 votes)
    11 %
    Other... : (1 votes)
    3 %
  • Post # 3
    7609 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    Well we’re paying our photographer to edit the photos she takes so YES, we would like it to be done!

    Post # 4
    2638 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2006

    I agree with Juliepants. I just assume that retouching and editing is part of a professional photography package.

    Post # 6
    972 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2012

    not too much retouching. I don’t want to look like one of the little girls on toddlers and tiaras, but if I have a pimple, ok retouch it

    Post # 7
    368 posts
    Helper bee

    If I was half naked in pictures I would want a little bit retouched. I would love any blemishes on my face hidden but I would not want to look fake if that makes sense.

    Post # 8
    542 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    I would want light retouching done, to remove blemishes or extra shine from my face, if necessary.

    Post # 9
    335 posts
    Helper bee

    I have no qualms with a photographer editing the bags from under my eyes,  whitening teeth a bit or zapping zits. But I don’t like when photographers go so over the top that you hardly recognize yourself.

    Post # 10
    109 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    i have get acne on my face, shoulders, and chest. im seeing a doctor about this, but being a woman of color, i tend to get dark spots when the acne heals. makeup hides the ones on my face and cant afford a chemical peel for my body. I would love for my body to be retouched. i dont wanna look back at my pics and see the spots on my back UGH!!

    Post # 11
    5 posts

    In reference to cosmetic retouching (going farther than than simply erasing one blemish)…

    As a photographer & retoucher (and a woman who is interested in looking her best), I have no qualms about retouching. Most women wear make-up and many woman wear padded bras, high heals and girdles even to improve their contours and physical appearance… some go as far as plastic surgery. I think a little retouching isn’t much different than the former actions and certainly less invasive than surgery.


    Anyway as long as we’ve been recording the human image we’ve been idealizing it. Have you ever noticed how in 17th & 18th century paintings – although painted in a very “realistic” almost photographic style – how big the eyes are, or for example how similar facial proportions are from subject to subject? That’s because the painters altered the true facial and body proportions to meet what was considered attractive at the time – the Photoshopping of it’s day. This practice goes back much farther to cave paintings, neolthic sculptures and beyond where the female & male figure are idealised often to inhuman forms (mother/venus goddess  statues with 10 breasts for example)…  

    HOWEVER, I do have to say that in the 21st century retouching has gotten completely out of hand – at least in a commercial sense… I FEEL EQUALLY STRONGLY THAT IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE FOR COMMERCIAL RETOUCHERS TO HIGHLY ALTER THE HUMAN IMAGE AND PASS IT OFF AS “NORMAL”. I’m no femenist, but this puts unfair pressure on women -and very young women – especially to try and attain impossible goals. Past a point, this is unfair, unhealthy, irresponsible. It then filters down to the general public. And a pretty bride wonders if she is pretty enough, thin enough, tall enough, blonde enough, if her eyes are an-unimaginable-blue enough.

    A skiled artist can do some amazing things with Photshop and the other pro software available. So I am pro retouching! (of course), but as long as it’s done with respect and sensitivity. For the most part programs like Photoshop have only improved what photographers can offer their clients. and enriched the field of art.

    For myself, I believe there is a certain responsibility in a commercial sense not to promote these unhealthy and unrealistic attitudes – most especially in regard to women. It’s those who are unethical: advertisers, editors, artists that have what I call a dysmorphic view of the human body that cause and prolifirate this dis-ease… As far as a bride privately wanting her image altered: I mean something that isn’t going on a magazine rack and advertising an already abnormally physically perfect girl (abnormal as in not the normal physical average as models are not) airbrushed into amazon barbie doll proportions & plastic features, as “normal”… Then I think it’s a personal choice and if it makes you feel nice. Why not?

    Most re-touchers have gotten over and moved past the jewel-eyed plastic skin look anyway, so as long as you choose someone who has a good eye for maintaining a natural look, no one will know any different and you should be happy in many years when you look back at he photos and see YOURSELF. In any case so many people are airbrushed, at worst you’ll look like everyone else from the 00’s. (Also just some advice, make sure the photographer has spent enough time with you that they are very familiar with your features, so they know better to refine images of you in a way that does look like you. Also if you make it clear to a photographer/retoucher what features you like and don’t like they can be more precise when retouching.)

    I’ve written a lot on this subject, feel free to message me, or e-mail me.

    [Post moderated for self promotion]

    Post # 12
    5 posts

    Here’s a before & after example of where quite a lot of retouching was done on the face and body, but what I would consider ethical & subtle retouching. It’s at low res, so unfortunately all the pores that have been smoothed, yet carefully retained and the makeup that has been re-appplied can’t really be appreciated here unfortunately. The Bride is a naturally pretty girl, so I didn’t need to re-touch all of her photos (and I am always watching out to capture the most flattering angle of a person in camera), but there were a few where I couldn’t help catching a combination of her worst features that made for a really unflattering representation of her. Also her skin had broken out quite badly on the day. To me the after looks more like how I “see” her, so I see that as more honest representation… It happens to us all – and actually many people who are generally considered by many to be exceptionally physically beautiful, don’t show up on camera as gorgeous as they look in the flesh. Retouching is a great ally here.

    [Images removed for self promotion]


    In this specific image I wanted to save what would not have been a usable image, because I really loved the composition, tonal qualities and negative and positive shapes created by the windows and woodwork. Although there were other choices in this pose with better exposure for example, her smile made the photo. I could have taken out the messy patch of hair on the far side of her face, if I wanted to spend more time (which would have resulted in a little higher charge), to make the image look more “perfect’; but it looks more natural with the hair as is and both the client and myself were happy with the version of “After” as is here.

    *Also here there is standard post production/digital developing done to improve the tone & exposure. Standard post production should be included within a professional photographer’s charges – or they should specify that it is not. Retouching is seperate, but some photographers will include a certian amount within the package – such as removing a blemish. Some will do much more within the package – whitening all teeth, removing eye bags and frown lines. Most will not have more advanced effectss such as digital slimming and digital dentistry. In any case, retouching takes time skill and equipment, so whether cosmetic retouching is included as standard should be reflected in a professionals fee.

    Post # 13
    1405 posts
    Bumble bee

    @post127:    Better delete those pics before the mods see em.  This looks like a sepia conversion to me.  I don’t see any skin work ,etc that I would want to pay extra for on an edit like this.  I think what the OP is discussing is air brushing the skin and slimming body parts.  That is time consuming retouching work that not every photographer is capable of.  And even if they are, the question is, does the client want that, or do they want to see the real “them.”

    The topic ‘To Retouch or not to Retouch…’ is closed to new replies.

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