A post about editing and retouching of images.

Retouching an image is not a simple process but it can increase impact of a product as well as demonstrating serious commitment to your art.

It is important to distinguish between what I would call ‘light editing’ and ‘retouching.’

Light Editing

Light editing is basic clean up of an image to ensure levels and exposure are spot on. It can also involves cropping an image (perhaps to remove some distractions), temperature balancing, highlight and shadow management etc.

When we work with clients we do light editing as standard and present the final results via a secure online album for them to review, like, comment and download. All images we do for our clients are lightly edited.


Retouching goes a bit further than ‘light editing’ and utilises the power of Photoshop. Photoshop is an extremely powerful tool allowing minute detail control. It can be a daunting piece of software to use but fortunately we can be the Photoshop wizard and do the retouching for you.

With retouching we can do things like colour balancing, skin smoothing, removal of flyaway hair, liquifying (removing any creases in fabric etc) so the final image looks extremely polished. We can even change say a lip or eye shadow colour or perhaps tidy up eyelashes.

There is a big debate about skin smoothing but the reality is that most fashion magazines require it. The key thing for me is that it should always be subtle and not obvious. For example skin smoothing should look natural and not plastic. Where I draw the line is turning someone from size 16 to a size 8. That would not be a fair and honest representation.

There are apps you can use for retouching but they can be very limited. A lot of retouching is ‘painted’ in using a digital tablet and pen and it is built up gradually. Not a million miles away from say applying make up which as you know takes time.

We would not advise anyone to have all of the images that we have photographed retouched. Mainly due to cost but also because you probably only need a few images retouching for marketing purposes to get that initial buy in from your customer or say a fashion editor.

In the video below you can get an indication of the before and after of a retouch. It may not seem that obvious but if you look at Jemimah’s skin and hair you can see what we have done. On the second hat I have added drama by playing with shadows.

(‘The Oval’ by Donna Hartley Millinery, modelled by Jemimah Fowler)

(‘Roses of Gold’ by Gemma Holley Millinery, modelled by Jemimah Fowler)

We do make a small charge of £15 per image for a retouch.

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