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Retouching an image is always a touchy subject (Pun intended.)  What I mean by that is there is a difference in subtlety altering some minor imperfections to a person’s skin, eyes, hair, and clothing and completely changing their appearance.

When we engage someone in conversation or other interaction we do not stop and stare at them.  So, our eyes do not really register these imperfections.  When looking at a photo however we do tend to see quite vividly all the blemishes, bloodshot eyes, fly away hair, etc.

A good retouch of an image is when the person looks natural with no distractions that jump off the image and catch the viewer’s eye.

The two images above are a good example of what I mean.  I photographed Ricky Skaggs when in Nashville a couple of years ago.  The lighting was not what I wanted it to be (I didn’t do the lighting) and his right eye (as you’re looking at the photo) was much darker than the left eye.  Additionally, there were some distracting props in the shot and his skin tones were not what I wanted.  He had some specular highlights on his face that were distracting.

Some subtle corrections and the finished image came out looking great.  You can click on either image to see a larger view of the image.

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Ricky Before Retouch Ricky After Retouch