Take a look at Nomi Altabef’s blog on designsessions. She analyzes the techniques of an unknown photo retoucher who used Photoshop to transform an image of Faith Hill for a Redbook magazine cover. Amazing! What is it about some retouchers and photographers that make them feel like they need to remake their models into something other than what they are? Why can’t they just remove the dust spots and blemishes and leave the model’s likeness intact? Hear what some magazine editors have to say about it on this Today show segment.
This is my opinion, not necessarily Adobe’s, but I find it disheartening that so many photographers can’t be subtle when it comes to retouching. If you look at the before and after shots of Faith Hill in this article, she’s more real and more beautiful in the “Before” picture. The retouched version presents an emaciated, distorted manikin devoid of character and personality. This retoucher went way too far—hence the award by Jezebel.com for the most egregious example of unrealistic “beauty” standards. They call it the “Photoshop of Horrors”.
Enough about the bad side of retouching. There is plenty of good retouching happening in the world. For a great tutorial on the fine art of retouching, read Portrait Retouching by Katrin Eismann. Katrin also produced a video tutorial on retouching and restoring old photos with Photoshop CS3. If you’re working in Lightroom, check out the Spot Removal tutorial by Sean McCormack. For a nice tip on using the clone tool in Photoshop, look at Matt Kloskowski’s video.
Other links of interest on this topic: