Before we get to the point first we need to talk about why we need to retouch and enhance the subject of a random photo. You have to know that retouching is quite subjective procedure and it is different for everyone because everybody has a different perception of color and shape. Don’t worry about that! This is the most normal thing ever! So following that direction of thoughts you don’t need to be afraid of you being different than the others. Quite the opposite it could be a blessing and you have to embrace your difference. After some time gaining experience you will form your own style and your own workflow. This is the result that we need here and what we are searching for. Eventually you will bring your expretise to a whole new level being self confident and capable. But……..
Why do we need to retouch and enhance an image ? I thought that photography is all about keeping things natural without any intervention !
Well…..there are many people that would say to you that anyone who use to retouch is just incapable photographer which is actually ridiculous because a horrible photo stays a horrible photo no matter how much time you spent to retouch it although you can really make a difference with the enhancement that you apply.
First thing that you have to know here is that you apply your post processing in order to make an image pop according to your taste (like you don’t know that :)).
The second thing however is someone else’s requirements. Ahaaaaa ! Somebody else want us to retouch 🙂 The imaginary person that we are talking about is probably a potential client. A client needs to sell our product along with his own paying us to make it better and he or she knows that people like to buy shiny, polished and well handled stuff. Which itself makes the retouching a commercial activity and like any other commercial activity it is paid, wanted and appreciated where the market requires this exact service. Now we will come to understand that not only our point of view is important but the client’s one is also important even more important than ours since they pay us. So if you want to match the clients requirements you must be capable of doing so with different tools and different approach. However the young photographers who are just beginning their careers are blamed by the established photographers that they rely too much on photoshop which is true at some point. Ok ! Now..how to respond to that? Should we decrease the level of software intervention or should we stop retouching at all ? Also we know that the “old” established photographers are people with significant experience and knowledge. How do we have to feel about post production and how to apply it in such manner that the photo will still look natural and yet retouched?
My opinion !
As I said before, people are different and may or may not like our form of expression. But you don’t have to torture yourself about that. If we have to work according to the “old ways” (shoot and leave it as it is) we have some sort of limitation here and this is no good because it may kill you artisticly. Also trying to be different is not easy anymore due to the increasing number of people calling themselves photographers. So from know on you should know that you should stick to your style and try to make it better and thus the people should see that you’ve put a lot of effort to produce your work and this is not something to joke about or to criticize easily like many people do.
Top mistakes that photographers do when they retouch photos !
Let us get to the technical issues that appear often in front of us.
1. People often use to soften the skin of the subject too much. Skin softening is good for beauty or glamour photography but it doesn’t mean that it appears natural on every photo that you take. If you are shooting mostly portraiture it is good to know that if you set up your light correctly you may not need additional retouch or may apply just minor corrections and this should be enough. I’ve seen a major changes on the subjects facial shape that it doesn’t resembles the original face anymore which is a disaster.
2. Many photographers are spoiling the pictures using too much the liquify tool in photoshop or other software. This is so because if I take picture of you and the I pull in your ears then enlarge your eyes, make your nose tight and pull down the chin a little bit and then I may apply some correction over your forehead,cheek bones, neck and etc. and finally you will appear to be someone else. An enhanced version of yourself could make you feel embarrassed of your present self. Of course some clients may require this type of corrections although they are not so natural and you can apply them.
Be yourself , do your stuff and do everything possible to improve it!
There are a lot more stuff here that we can discuss but I”ll leave it to you to ask the questions and give the answers. If you feel that you have some thoughts that about that topic feel free to post a comment below.