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Should The Photographer Photoshop You

Image of a man getting a headshot at a event at a hotel

Should The Photographer  Photoshop You?

Editing and retouching pictures with Photoshop or other professional software is often part of your headshot session service and a big part of your photographer’s skill set.

The first job of a headshot is to bring out the best version of you. A chance to have your personality shine from your eyes and make the best first impression possible. With a few targeted changes in the editing phase, we can elevate your pictures to the next level.

Just like the difference between home selfies and professional headshots, the trained editing skill of your photographer often separates their work from your at-home editing efforts. Below, we explore the difference between editing and retouching and what this additional skill does for your headshots.

What do editing and retouching mean after a headshot session?

Used interchangeably, these two services are actually slightly different vital skills, resulting in getting the best headshots in your hands after your session. Editing your photos refers to making slight changes to the overall aspects of your picture, like the lighting, contrast, cropping, and color.

Retouching is where we focus on your face and make improvements to the look of your skin tone, stray hairs, and the color of your teeth. Without removing any of the personality from your face, we can reduce some fine lines and wrinkles while eliminating picture-day spots.

What kind of retouches can your photographer make?

An expert photographer knows how to retouch headshots with precision. But it is equally important to know when to stop. Some changes we can make in this process include:

  • Skin retouching: In the retouching process, some lines and wrinkles are reduced, and pesky random breakouts can be removed. 
  • Teeth whitening: A light editing touch to the teeth can bring out the vibrancy of your smile without mistaking you for a dental office advertisement.
  • Color and exposure editing: The most central part of the editing process. Clients rarely notice or have the chance to appreciate how minor changes to the lighting and exposure of your picture can elevate it.
  • Stray hair removal: Even the best headshots can suffer from the distraction of stray hair in the frame. Retouching offers the chance to remove these distractors, keeping your look neat and professional.

Levels of retouching

Headshots are valuable tools for increasing visibility and moving the needle forward in your career. Every career path is different, and everyone has a different idea of how they would like their new pictures to look. Models and people in glamorous fields may want a more refined edit than professionals who need to keep an authentic look to their photos.

Knowing when to stop during the editing process

The most vital editing skill photographers can have is knowing when just the right amount of retouching is reached. That “no more and no less” point of perfection is a major reason professional headshots can elevate your image so quickly.

Retouching errors can make for disastrous pictures. Some common mistakes to stay away from include:

  • Overdone skin retouching: Although the idea of completely flawless skin can be tempting, photos with every line, blemish, and freckle removed appear unnatural at best and unrecognizable at worst.
  • Changing facial shape: Carving a new jawline or altering your face shape stops you from celebrating your true self and can confuse people who meet you in the real world.

Communication during your headshot session

The biggest key to successful headshots is communication with your photographer from start to finish. Don’t be afraid to talk!

Trained to bring out the best in you for your poses and your retouching process, being clear about the result you’d like is the best way to ensure headshots that look modern, authentic, and unmistakably you.

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