This morning I read an article by Beate Chelette, (http://PhotoBizCoach.com), titled “Advertising Under Fire for Doctored Images” asking photographers where they stand on the issue of retouching images and the ethics of doing so. Click the links above and read the story. It’s short; I will wait here for you.
Tap, tap, tap…. Oh you’re back. Sorry, I got distracted.
If you read the article you may have seen my response as well: “Some retouching is a good thing, too much, not so good.” I whole heartedly believe that and I live it with my work too. I am not opposed to doing whatever my client wants. If the client wants china doll skin, I can do that. However I prefer to keep the image looking real.
Even with keeping it real there are things that need to be retouched. I know that people want to look their best when they have their picture taken. In the past I have written articles on retouching and said not to worry about the inopportune pimple or shaving nick. These things are easily and quickly fixed in post-production. At the same time I can smooth the complexion without removing the texture of the skin. Many retouchers do the smoothing of complexion and lose the look of real skin. The fact is that people have pores and you can see them which means an image of that person, especially if a close-up, should show them!
Below you can see side by side an untouched image and a retouched image. The image on the left is straight out of the camera and the one on the right is retouched in a believable way, not overdone.
You’ll notice you can still see the texture of Sydni’s skin. The pores are still visible and the smoothness is actually created with depth of field by using the correct F-stop, not Photoshop.
Retouching can be done for effect too. In the image below the image “out of camera” on the left is close to the effect that I wanted for this shot. At the same time it needed a little retouching to create the drama that I was aiming for. The final image on the right is after I applied some retouching and a couple of effects to bring the drama out in the image.
Retouching is an art but at the same time it is only a tool. To get the look you want most of the work should be done in camera and retouching methods should only be used to bring out the end result you are striving for.
What look would you like? Let’s play together and get that look captures your best side.