What is Retouching? Brantford Wedding & Portrait Photographer

What exactly is retouching?  And how does that differ from a colour-corrected proof?

First off, let me stress that every photographer has their own definition of what “retouching” means.  Seriously – it’s a large umbrella term used by photographers who edit their photos, so I highly suggest that when you’re shopping for a photographer that you ask them to explain in detail what they mean when they say they “fully retouch” your images.   Are they just running a single Photoshop action on every photo in the bunch?   It might look great on a few photos, but not all of them.  Are they just doing colour & contrast corrections, and calling it “full retouching”?  Ask them to show you samples where you can see the before & after versions of their work.

For me, there is a world of difference between “Corrected Proofs” (as included with all my packages) and “Fully Retouched Images” (which are items you specifically order, or my bonus Photographer’s Favorites images included with your package).  Let me show you!

You can view more of my “Before & After” comparisons by clicking on the “Archive” link above!



An image straight out of the camera needs to have slight exposure, colour & contrast adjustments made to it, in order to provide a technically excellent photo.  This means I am going through each photo from your session, one-by-one, culling out the images that aren’t good enough to make the cut, and correcting all the rest.  I’m looking to correct the colouring of people’s skin (so it’s not too green, but not too orange), to enhance the contrast and exposure of the scene in the background, and to make sure that bridesmaid’s dress is just the absolute perfect shade of purple!   Once I’ve gone through all of your images once… twice… and sometimes three times… the images all have a consistent “look” to them as far as colouring, contrast and exposure go.  That becomes the clients’ set of “Colour Corrected Proofs” and is included on disc as part of your package.

Many clients are quite happy with their proofs and will happily go on their way and make prints at their leisure using the files included.  And that’s great!



Some people receive their proofs and want something a little extra done to a few of their favorite photos.  This could be anything from special cropping to more creative colour work.  Perhaps they want some distractions in the background removed, or they want part of their body reshaped to be more flattering!  The most common request I receive when people order a fully retouched image is for their skin to be smoothed or airbrushed.  It’s a delicate process — too little and the photo can look unpolished.  Too much and the client can look plastic.  The goal is to leave some texture still in the skin while removing dark spots or blemishes.  You want to look like yourself in your photos — but a polished version of yourself!

When I fully retouch an image, I spend a lot of time perfecting even the smallest details, and enhancing the photo either through colour filters, sharpening or both.  It’s a long process — probably 1-2 hours on a single image — and that is why it’s nearly impossible for me to do it to all the hundreds (if not thousands!) of photos from your wedding.  I leave it up to my clients to decide which images mean the most to them and could benefit from some extra TLC!


DID YOU KNOW:  With every package from In Bloom Photography, you will receive several Fully Retouched Images chosen by the photographer as a complimentary bonus on your disc?  These are called my “Photographer’s Favorites” and they’re a little taste of what’s possible with the rest of your proofs!


It’s definitely worth it to pick out your favorite images from your session and have your photographer go that extra mile and fully retouch those shots!  See for yourself! Here is a before and after comparison of one of my stunning clients’ images.  The before shot is her “Colour Corrected Proof”, and the after shot is the “Fully Retouched” version she ordered.  She’s incredibly beautiful to begin with, but a bit of smoothing of her skin really draws us in to her amazing green eyes and just gives the photo a little more WOW-factor!  Leave me a comment with your thoughts!