To non-photographers, I like to explain hand retouching in programs like Photoshop as similar to an artist and their paints. Digital paintbrushes if you like. Many of these digital editing techniques are simply replications of “darkroom” techniques like the dodging and burning of different exposures over an image to create a final print.
After every photoshoot, I feel as though my job is only half done and I’m always very excited to download, complete the retouching process and see the final images I visualised in my head whist I was shooting.
Hand retouching is just one of the many tools we use as artists use to create fine art pieces that enhance our subject’s natural beauty knowing they will be timeless art pieces treasured for many years. I think of it as a little like transforming a photograph into a piece of art.
Although it’s a very timely process by hand, it’s totally worth if from the results.
As artists, we photographers vary considerably in our interpretation and enhancement of our subjects through hand retouching. I tend to explain my style of retouching to clients by using the “TWO WEEK” rule, that is by removing or reducing the things that won’t be there in two weeks. “Tired new parent eyes” definitely fall into this category and one could only hope that they may not be so bad in two weeks. Although that may be wishful thinking!!!
For newborns, I see retouching as simply a way of bringing out their natural beauty and playing down or reducing those elements that are caused by their sometimes bumpy arrival into this world. Given the optimum time to photograph newborns is under two weeks, it is not always possible to allow these things to heal or reduce in appearance naturally….and then book a session. Added to that is the safety element of ensuring babies are comfortable and secure during the photoshoot by the use of assistant’s hands and composite techniques for the hanging basket style of imagery.
Here are a few of my before and afters….(all taken from non-client sessions)
Brisbane Newborn Photographer