The Finer Details: What’s Involved in High-end Photo Retouching?

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Image manipulation doesn’t sit well with most people. And it shouldn’t because it has created some unrealistic expectations of how people and things look in reality. But digital retouching hasn’t always been a touchy subject with negative connotations.

Used sensibly (i.e., for “good” rather than “evil”), photo retouching becomes an essential element that highlights the exceptional qualities of someone or some thing.

The Intricate Work

The retouching of high end photos for fashion and products requires a meticulous eye and steady hands. Whether the image is going on print or digital, you’ll need professional retouchers.

Editing tools, like Lightroom and Photoshop, could work for amateur retouchers and some smartphones come with automatic digital adjustment features. But the resulting images may appear too unnatural and unpolished. Whether your images are for your blog or business, you’ll want those photos to elicit a positive reaction — not invite doubt.

You could take an online course on retouching through Photoshop, but would you have the time and patience to do the work?

Retouching services perform a list of actions, which will depend on the type of image to improve. For especially tricky items, like jewelry, professionals may do the following:

  • Edit through layer-based flexible retouching
  • Modify the brightness or contrast to create balance
  • Soften the product if the stones or metals create sharp edges
  • Add glamour to a lackluster image
  • Fix blur due to low light or camera shake effect

Master retouchers of jewelry photos may also adjust the color balance, improve the resolution and remove flaws. But a professional retoucher isn’t just skilled at Photoshop or Lightroom. The right person would be an artist; an experienced professional who has an eye for detail, allowing them to create editorial or product photos that best represent your brand.

photography team

A Representation of Reality

The goal of every retouching job is to bring out the perfect image; it’s about making sure every detail and every texture, from the way a model’s skin looks to the way natural lighting hits a scenery, looks as natural as possible. That sounds like it runs counter to the digital retouching as you know it today, but professionals know a perfect image still has to look realistic.

If it should look realistic, then why manipulate the image at all?

For starters, conditions are rarely perfect when shooting models or products. A shoot arranged in a studio may have fewer elements than an outdoor shoot that affect the outcome of a photo.

In either case, the resulting images of your fashion editorial or product photos for advertising may not be as desirable as they need to appear. The hair of the model may need cleaning up so that no strand looks out of place. The spot on a bejeweled bracelet has to be taken out so that the trinket retains its exquisiteness. The brightness on a landscape photo needs adjustment to bring about balance.

Depending on the photo to be adjusted, a lot can go into retouching. It’s meticulous work that’s best left to professionals because these images have to be ideal but still realistic. Whether it’s advertising photos or editorial shots, your images will receive careful treatment.

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