Have you seen the social media side-by-side type posts outlining a photographer’s ability to manipulate a photograph with photoshop. Suddenly a curvier bride is thin. A thin model is more thin. Blonde hair is brown. A short guy is taller. There are a variety of programs and apps that make it easy to change a person’s appearance. Slim the face. Whiten the teeth. Get rid of a second or third chin.
But, how much retouching is too much? The thing with corporate photography is that it is important for the person to look like who they really are. Clients, current and prospective, will see the photograph and when they meet you in person, it’s important that you are recognizable.
Generally, corporate portrait photography will include some retouching. Perhaps it is whitening the teeth a touch, clearing up a pimple, or smoothing a few wrinkles. Maybe it’s getting rid of a flyaway hair or an unwanted crease in your shirt.
As a photographer, when it comes to retouching, ethics really do come into play. Unless otherwise instructed to completely alter a person’s appearance, retouching should be done to enhance what’s already there.
Historically, a professional photographer would pride him or herself on being able to capture the true essence of a subject, the light and the spirit with no editing required. That’s the sign of a good, professional photographer.
So when it comes to retouching, where do you draw the line? Your portrait should look like you! We all have bad hair days, wake up with a pimple, or have bags under our eyes. Retouching should be used to enhance your looks while ensuring you still look like you.