Should you have your portrait retouched?

Of course, YES! Having your photos, especially a professional headshot professionally retouched is not only an acceptable practice but you as the consumer should require it.

It’s not taboo, it’s ensuring that your first impression to onlookers is the best it can be.

So, what should you be looking for in a retouch effort?

1) Conceal imperfections in the skin. Some things like moles, freckles, or birth marks that are unique to you should be left untouched or possibly minimized but not removed all together. After all, you still need to represent yourself in a true light. But nicks, small acne scars, acne, and the like should be removed.

2) Smooth skin. Skin should be smoothed to create a consistent color tone removing blotchy areas and reducing wrinkles and creases like crows feet around the eyes and wisdom lines in the forehead. However, depending on your age don’t allow over editing. A 20 year old should look much “smoother” than a 90 year old. Don’t be afraid to let the wisdom that comes with age show.

3) Brighten eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul. They should attract the viewer and draw them in. A professional photographer will make the eyes the sharpest focal point of a head shot so in turn the eyes need to look their best! Pupils should be reduced during the session allowing more of the eye color to show through. This area of the eye should be brightened, sharpened, and really brought to life. Lighting should be used during the shoot to add a “twinkle” to the eye, known as “catch lights”. The amount of editing to the eyes will depend on the final product too, for example, a beauty fashion shot for a magazine will have much cleaner eyes than a corporate headshot.

4) Whiten teeth. Not everyone needs this but if you are a typical adult likely you will need it. Don’t be ashamed, it’s life! Be sure teeth are whitened only slightly, over whitened teeth look fake and fake is not the perception you want to reveal.

5) Minimize eye bags. Those puffy, droopy, wrinkly, dark areas under the eye are normal but horrid. They range from mild to “I’m old, hung over, tired, and sick”. Professional retouching should even color tones and reduce the bags. Again, depending on your age let your wisdom shine, but a reduction is a good thing. Touching up this area helps us to look alive, inviting, alert, approachable, and happy.

SQ Portraits – Photography has mastered the technique of portrait retouching. A recent client did not need any, and likely would have been ecstatic with the straight out of camera portrait. But you can see the before and after what a bit of retouching does to bring the image to life!

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What are your thoughts?