One of the inevitable parts of being a professional portrait photographer is color correction and re-touching. I do this for all the final versions of my client’s photos and I often get questions about what that means. Color correction is pretty self-explanatory, it could mean warming up the shot, bringing the exposure down or changing the photo to black & white. Re-touching on the other hand varies much more from client to client and from photo to photo. It means removing anything distracting in the photo. This includes everything from a pimple or a stain on a shirt to removing a distracting object in the background.
Female Clients: “Make me look younger!”
What most people (especially my female clients) are interested in when they ask about re-touching is wrinkles. Since I specialize in natural portraits I am very hesitant to do much ‘airbrushing’ or wrinkle reduction. My thought is, if the pictures are going to be used for online dating photos and we drastically remove a woman’s wrinkles, won’t her date be surprised and disappointed when she shows up to meet for the first time? Or if she uses a new photo as a LinkedIn profile picture, won’t a potential employer be surprised when someone 10 years older than they were expecting shows up for the interview? I personally wouldn’t want to be put in that position.
My Definition of a Natural Photo- the Real you.
I choose to shoot photos in soft, natural light which is super flattering, and I will use a few Photoshop tricks to slightly soften wrinkles. But I draw the link at manipulating the photo to the point where my client looks very different to how they would look in person. I feel very strongly that age is a beautiful thing and that an airbrushed, wrinkle-free profile photo for any type of social media will do nothing but create a sort of false advertising for you. Your picture is merely a first impression- it’s just a conversation starter. In other words, it might get you asked on the date or interview, but you, the real- un-touched-up-you, is the one who has to show up, in person, to see the opportunity through. I believe that you should show up as yourself, looking like your vibrant, natural photo, with a full understanding that you are beautiful!