How much photo retouching is needed?

26 March 2018

How much photo retouching is needed on an image? Before starting your airbrushing, read the photo retouching instructions sent by the client. Sometimes I get emails from photo retouchers asking for work, one even suggested I replace myself as the retoucher with him. The reason he gave me was that he is a far better photo retoucher than me. What he had done to prove this to me is download one of my portrait retouch examples and airbrush it himself. The results were really interesting. He had completely transformed the girl in the photo to a “cartoon like” thing of beauty! In many cases I find certain photo retouchers have only one setting that they apply, and that is a full airbrush. In his case, he had not even bothered to read my description I had put in my example, which was that it was a headshot photo retouch, the client had asked for a very subtle removal of spots and blemishes and slightly tidy up the crows feet around the eyes.

too much airbrushing

How much photo retouching is needed? This is an example of an over airbrushed photo.

Needless to say I did not hire the retoucher. To sum it up: always read the photo retouching instructions, it is also easier to retouch a photo a bit more (further reduce wrinkles for example), than to start all over. Quite often I also get photo retouching work from clients who are really disappointed with the previous retouch results. Once again when I check their before and after images that have been done for them, it is quite easy to see that the photos have been over retouched and to top it off, the vibrance and saturation has been pushed to an unrealistic level.

So to sum up, read the instructions sent to you by the client, if you have any doubts regarding the retouching work and what needs doing, ask for further instructions. This way you will spend way less time in front of your computer, and you never know; I might have even give him a job!

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