Retouching: Before and After
The benefits of retouching.
Retouching is an interesting thing. You often hear about the dark side of retouching—the adding abs and muscle and a whole world of phony perfection that makes the world seem like a place that it isn’t. But retouching has a good side too. The camera and lights—while bringing out the best of your structure, when used correctly—can also bring out things that wouldn’t be all of that noticeable, if noticeable at all, in real life. Make-up can hide this stuff too. But who wants to put on a bunch of make-up (especially the men among us who are not use to wearing it) for a simple headshot? I wouldn’t. In my opinion, especially for actor’s headshots, getting rid of these add-ons and/or temporary blemishes, is what retouching is for. At least that’s the way I use it. Check out the before and after below:
What’s happening is pretty subtle. The skin tone is balanced, a tiny bit of weight is taken off that I believe the camera adds, some of the skin texture that’s highlighted by the lights is reduced, a few temporary blemishes are removed. Fly away hair is removed. And in this case I edited the wardrobe a little bit to remove some distractions. The after picture is the way this particular subject looked when I saw her walk in the door. I simply removed some of the stuff created by camera to bring the photo back to perceived reality.
Keep in mind, these are actor headshots. With actor headshots it’s important for casting directors to see in a photo what they are going to get. So you don’t want to over do it. A portrait or beauty shot may be retouched even more—essentially for the same reason, but perhaps leaning a little bit more toward the subjects personal preference.
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