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How important is professional retouching?

How important is retouching in professional headshot photography?

How important is good retouching?

There are many elements to a professional headshot photography session, and one of the most important is the work that takes place once the headshots session has finished.

We can do our absolute best to make sure that the hair is perfect, that your makeup is as flawless as possible, that your clothing doesn’t develop any wrinkles, and we can stay alert and ensure the lighting doesn’t become unflattering if you turn to a certain position.

However, nobody is perfect, and when you get that contact sheet back, you can guarantee that there will be at least one killer headshot that is spoiled by a wayward hair, or similar distraction.

This is where retouching comes in.

That otherwise perfect headshot, spoiled by a piece of hair neither you nor the photographer had noticed at the time. Or perhaps the colour of the lights have slightly bleached your skin or given it an unflattering and inaccurate tone. These would be disasters were it not for retouching.

Retouching comes in several flavours, from the beginner to the advanced. From blemish removal, to complete facial reconstruction. Obviously, we never go that far in professional headshot photography, because we are trying to avoid anything that changes the physical appearance of the subject. However, things such as temporary blemishes, spots, cuts & scratches etc are all removed during the retouching process.

The way the light hits the face, and the texture it gives the skin is extremely important in making you look your best. So we can make subtle changes to the light in retouching. Extending or reducing shadow depth, or accentuating highlights that were missed because of slightly incorrect head position or light placement.

In a nutshell, all the things you look at in a headshot and think “Bummer, if only for that blemish/pimple/shadow/reflection/hair, it would be perfect!” are all issues that a photographer addresses in retouching.

The retouching at London Headshots is elite level, and for the price we charge for a session, we think the retouching that is included in that fee is unmatched outside of commercial photography.

A common theme on this blog is me talking about what other professional headshot photographers aren’t doing. I make no secret that I don’t think most headshot photographers work hard enough at their craft. If you’re putting as much as you should into a shoot, it’s just not possible to book 600 sessions per year. My limit is about eight sessions per week. Any more than that and the quality of the work I create begins to degrade; the only person who suffers is the client.

So that’s the maximum I book. Knowing how lengthy a proper retouch process is, I make an allowance for that by ensuring that nobody will suffer as a result of an overflowing workload.

THAT’S how important retouching is!

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