What Does Retouching A Photo Mean

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I recently had a potential client contact me and ask whether or not I ‘retouch’ all of the images that I deliver. When I asked her to explain what she meant by retouching, her response was, “Y’all know, touch them upwardly? I had another photographer who told me they would deliver 600 to 800 ‘retouched’ images.” I chop-chop realized that this is a state of affairs where semantics can lead to unrealistic expectations.

The terms ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ are used quite often in the photography earth, merely tin can mean wildly unlike things. Some photographers even use them pregnant the same thing, which can exist very confusing to a couple getting married unless the lensman is specific well-nigh what they mean or unless you ask them to explicate. And so, in this mail, I will explain what I mean by ‘editing’ and what I mean by ‘retouching’. After reading, you will take a better agreement of what the terms can mean (as I said, information technology tin vary from photographer to photographer), so that you know what questions to ask and then you understand what you volition receive.

Editor’south Note: I’ve noticed a lot of traffic to this particular post for people looking for instruction on either photography or image editing / retouching. Delight bank check out my website for that over at The Nerdy Photographer – click here to head over there. Or click the image below:

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Okay, now back to what to consider in the differences between editing and retouching when it comes to your wedding photos.


I edit every photograph that I send to a client. To be specific, I correct for lighting/exposure and color temperature, crop the image if necessary, equally well as adding my own ‘signature’ touches to the images. Permit’due south take a look at an unedited versus an edited photograph.

Edited versus unedited images

Editing a photo, as I use the term, can take every bit petty as a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on the desired effect. It may non seem like a lot of time, but when spread out over 800 to grand photos, it means hours and hours of work.

My first step in the ‘editing’ process is to cull the photos. This means I become through all of the pictures that were taken and determine which pictures will exist delivered. While the percentage of photos I keep has increased over my years as a lensman, there are even so the occasional shots that exercise non become delivered – someone stepped in front of my camera, everyone has their eyes closed, etc. etc – hey, sometimes things happen. If your photographer is non alternative your images for you as office of editing then yous will be left to sift through all of the pictures yourself. Likewise, if a lensman is not culling the images, it is probable they aren’t editing them either since one of the primary reasons for alternative images is and so that you don’t waste time editing photos that will non be delivered.

Basic Retouching

When simple editing won’t practise the flim-flam, retouching begins. For me, basic retouching means upwardly to 10 minutes of work on an image – removing blemishes, brightening teeth, smoothing skin, or even removing an unsightly wire…


I include basic retouching on whatsoever fine art prints a client orders or images included in a photo album.

Extensive Retouching

I normally only get into ‘extensive retouching’ for a handful of images per nuptials or upon request from a client. This means things similar removing a person from an image, compositing several images together, or completely changing the background of an epitome. Personally, I charge an boosted fee for this blazon of piece of work.


This blazon of retouching can take several hours of work to make sure you lot don’t notice it has been retouched.

In Conclusion

Every photographer’s definition of ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ can mean different things. What is important is to be sure that you understand what your lensman will be delivering to you lot and what they mean. Hopefully, this post has given you a basis to first from in your discussion with your lensman.

Have Any Questions?

Here’s where you lot can tell me your questions or comments. I look forrad to hearing from you!

  • DM me on Instagram – @caseyfphoto (for clients) or @thenerdyphoto (for photographers)
  • Message my Wedding Facebook folio
  • Check out The Nerdy Lensman Facebook Folio
  • Tweet or DM me on Twitter – @caseyfphoto or @thenerdyphoto
  • If you’re a lensman, you should also subscribe to The Nerdy Photographer Podcast

Source: https://www.fatchett.com/blog/2014/05/do-you-know-the-difference-between-editing-and-retouching/