A glimpse into the post production and retouching process

After the pre-planning meeting and your branding photoshoot, now I am going to load your images into my computer and develop them. In the past, a photographer would have developed the images in a darkroom, then use those negatives to create prints. We’re essentially doing the same thing with digital, it’s just a digital process.

The Digital Negative

When an image is straight out of the camera, called a RAW image, you’ll notice the colors may look a little dull with less contrast. A RAW image is all of the data that the camera sensor has collected into the image. All of the light, shadows, colors are collected onto the memory card and the camera hasn’t made a decision as to how those elements should be. Then I, as the developer, get to choose what that image will look like.

Basic Develop with a Preset

To speed up my process a little, I use something called a preset. You can create them yourself, buy them or use built-in presets. I really like the Visual Flow Modern Pack presets. I’ll start with a preset and I’m always going to make some detailed adjustments as needed. When comparing the RAW image to a post-processed image, you’ll see things like more color saturation, adjusted white balance, more contrast and so forth. So that is what the editing process looks like in a nutshell, or at least the start of it. 


Before I begin my editing process, I will cull down the images from the shoot. A typical shoot is going to have anywhere from 500 to 2000+ images and most of my clients don’t want to sort through all of those to find the great ones. So I go through the photos for you and pick the best ones, as it takes several hours to cull that many images. Then I move on to the editing process.

Editing & Color Correcting

In the editing process, I might adjust the white balance, shadows, texture, color saturation and so forth. I’m able to isolate specific colors and adjust their luminance, hue and saturation as needed, which comes in very handy. Maybe your brand color is particular and we want to adjust the hue of the color to match. Then I might make adjustments for straightening out the scene. In an architectural scene, the lens will distort the lines of the building and I’ll go in and fix that.

Retouching – The Magic Finishing Touch

After basic editing, I’ll go into Photoshop for retouching. The sky is the limit when it comes to retouching in Photoshop but I’ll talk about what I typically do. Some of my clients don’t want any retouching and prefer a super authentic look. Some would prefer retouching to be done so I always aim to have my clients happy with the way they look in their images. 

Keeping Your Message in Focus

In advertising, we also want to be careful with what we’re communicating in the image. If there’s anything in the image that is distracting from the message, or that looks cluttered, we’re going to get rid of it. If cropping is an option, I’ll do that first but otherwise I can use a more detailed tool to remove the item. Items like electric outlets, garbage cans, pencil holders, these things are what I look to remove to end up with a clean image. Ideally, I try to avoid having them in the photo in the first place during the photoshoot but sometimes they can’t be avoided. This is all in order to keep the focus on the person in the image.

Body Slimming and Shaping

Sometimes, especially with women, they would like something changed about their face or body shape so we’ll just change it. I want you to be happy with your images. Arms are often an area that a lot of women want slimmed down. I do try to pose you in a flattering way, but oftentimes it’s just a matter of slimming them slightly. For guys, I can make you look larger in the arms as well. Sometimes a double chin can present itself and I can edit that. Sometimes the hair can flatten out over the course of the photoshoot so I can add a little volume during retouching. I can also easily remove any fly-aways or stray hairs. I’ll usually remove any blemishes or rough texture in the skin as well. Under eye shadows can be lightened, and lines beneath the eyes can be softened. I can add a little makeup to a face digitally, like darkening light eyebrows or adding lipstick.

Consider The Image Usage

It also largely depends on how the image is going to be used. If it’s just for social media, tiny little blemishes probably won’t be noticeable. However, they will stand out if the image is used for a billboard so the use case is important. 

Our Goal is to Make You Look Amazing and Love Your Photos

My goal is always to make my client look as close to themselves as possible. I don’t want you to look totally different, or 30 years younger. I’m simply polishing up the image a little bit.

So that’s the post production and retouching process in a nutshell. Reach out and let me know how you’d like your images edited – trendy, modern, Black & White, etc – and specifically what you’d like for your retouching. If you’ve received your proofs and you’re not happy with something, reach out because we still have that 3rd step of retouching where we can change a lot within the image.  

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