Contrary to popular belief, retouching (aka photo-shopping, air-brushing or non-invasive cosmetic surgery as many celebs prefer to call it) is not just used to perpetuate an unrealistic notion of beauty for fashion magazines and the like. It is in fact one of the professional portrait photographer’s key weapons in the fight against unwanted bits and bobs. To give this some historical context, retouching portraits has been in existence right back since Victorian times using glass plate prints when curves and other features were accentuated by hand in the editing process.
Okay so high end fashion photographers mincing around Hoxton in their fancy body warmers (they really do that, honest!) may have the luxury of wizard like make-up artists and Gok Wan trained stylists, however most portrait photographers would be grateful for a handful of baby wipes and a hair brush! We often end up having to do some of the work after the sitter has gone home… crank open the mighty Photoshop!
With our specialist genre of portraiture in particular, babies and children’s portraits, Photoshop is both a gift from the digital gods, boldly cleaning up crusty noses, milky moustaches and drools of slobber everywhere, but also an essential, painstakingly slow and often hugely under appreciated part of our workflow.