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Retouching > Tips

Best Practices

If you haven't already done so, go to Best Practices.


Retouching is camouflage.

You don't have to achieve perfection, especially the further away your efforts are from the eyes, and to a lesser extent, the mouth.

People will be looking at the photograph.

They won't be:

• Examining it, as you do.

• Looking at it up close, at a magnification of 200%.


Be sensitive to over-retouching.

If Uncle Moe has had a mole on his cheek for seventy years—and you remove it—his family may wonder where the mole went.

Ask the subject of the portrait before you do major surgery.

Ask: "What are your good features?"

The person may then list what's wrong, if something is of concern.

You may be surprised.

What you think should be done, is not wanted.

What you don't think needs doing, is wanted by the person.

Purpose, Love, & Money

Retouching is guided by the following.

1) What are you trying to communicate to the viewer of the photograph?

A portrait of the captain of a lobster boat, at the helm, will be retouched one way.

When she's getting married, the retouching may be done differently.

2) How much time are you going to spend on retouching?

The first five minutes of work may create a 75% improvement.

Do you want to spend thirty or more minutes to bring the photograph up to a 95% improvement level?

The amount of time beyond five minutes is often determined by:

• Your relationship to the person in the photograph

• How much the person is paying you.

Age & Sex

Your retouching may vary depending on the age and sex of the person.

Lock Completed Layers

If you've spent a lot of time on a retouching layer, and are finished, prevent inadvertent changes by locking the layer.

Make sure the layer is active (highlighted), and click the padlock icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.


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