How do I Retouch pictures

I retouch every photo that I send to my clients. To retouch pictures I crop if necessary, correct for lighting/exposure and colour temperature, and add any sparkle I think needed. It’s like processing my own film.


The initial step in the editing process is meticulously going through all of the photographs captured during the session. This process, known as image culling, involves carefully evaluating each image and identifying any that do not meet expectations. This may include photographs where a subject’s eyes are closed, where an unwanted object/person has entered the frame, or where the expression of a subject is not as strong as in a subsequent shot. This step is an important aspect of the editing process as it allows me to eliminate any subpar images, ensuring that that my client is not overwhelmed with unnecessary photographs and that only the highest quality images are retouched and delivered.

Basic Retouching

Now I go through each image and polish them. I will typically shoot a little wide in case my client wants to enlarge an image, so that I can go back to the original RAW image and have room for a large reprint. I will spend time making the following adjustments, if necessary, listed below.

  • Crop
  • Straightening
  • Removing pimples, scars etc
  • Lessen reddening in the skin
  • Colour and tone correction
  • Brightness, contrast and saturation changes
  • Brightening teeth
  • Removal of unwanted objects
  • Deepening a blue sky

Extensive Retouching

I will go back through the pictures again and make some additional edits on images that really stand out. If I am sliming your arm or swapping a head these are things you will never notice, but I have done to make the image that much better. I am not a fan of over-editing. It’s important to be ethical and not to exaggerate the image too much, to maintain the authenticity of the image.

  • Body/face slimming
  • Airbrushing to create flawless complexion
  • Swapping heads
  • Removing stray hairs
  • Removing eyeglass glare
  • Sky replacement

Retouching photographs for clients is an essential skill as a photographer. It allows me to enhance the images and ensure that they meet the client’s expectations. Whether it’s removing blemishes, smoothing out skin, or adjusting colour and contrast, retouching can help take a good photograph and make it great. Below are some more examples.