I photograph a lot of headshots and portraits, and I’m often asked if I can fix things in post. While Photoshop is a powerful tool, I think it’s important for a photo to look like that person on their best day, not like someone else. National magazines like Glamour are taking a stand on this, and minimizing their use of retouching based on feedback from their readers. Here is my approach to retouching.
My goal is to make people look like they do on their best day. I think the final product should be you, but at your best, not someone else.
I’ll always fix things that could have been fixed on a shoot, or by a makeup artist or hair stylist, like hairs out of place, lipstick on teeth, clothing problems, etc. I might even give hair a little fix by smoothing out a bump or fluffing up a flat area.
I will soften things we don’t like too much, but that are a part of you. I will often slightly brighten teeth, and soften lines, but I tend to not make teeth paper white, or remove all lines, as this makes the photo believable.
I don’t remove things that are a part of you. For example, I’ll remove pimples, but will leave freckles, because one is temporary, and the other is who that person is.
I think a headshot or portrait should be believable and authentic, as this gives the subject or business more credibility.
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