Photo retouchers, like Photoshop, are designed to take a photo by taking one photo with all of its features, applying them to the background and changing the background color to match an adjacent photograph. They usually provide the photo retoucher with a set of guidelines designed to ensure the results are as flattering as possible. However, some retouchers are not very adept at picking what works best for them—they may be able to pick out a great image just by looking at it.
Retouchers may also be called “creative” or “photographer” retouchers, although they have never been known to provide the full complement of Photoshop editing.
What is it that makes a photo retoucher good?
In the words of Dr. Paul Gorman, PhD, who runs a website dedicated to Photoshop retouchers,
“They see the beauty in your images. It may mean that all you are doing is giving them more tools to help them create images that are perfect on a technical level but will result in beautiful pictures when shown on a large scale.”
One of the most common critiques I hear about retouchers is that they’re not very versatile, with a few retouchers showing up to retouch photos that you want to keep as is or that you want them to change before final release. But that doesn’t mean retouchers are bad.
As mentioned above, they’re there to correct the camera position and camera white balance on the image. (It’s also called auto white balance.) Because retouchers are used to retouch photographs, this is likely one of the most essential functions they perform.
How does a retoucher know what’s “perfect”?
After retouching, retouchers often find themselves wondering how it could have been better. The image might need an additional shadow cast of some sort or may have some distortion from perspective. It’s very unlikely that your retouching program had something wrong, and it’s not as likely to happen with photos you retouch simply because you retouched. So the retouching tool may have been good enough for those people.
Retouchers should also be able to identify when retouching makes a photo more usable than it could have been. This often happens with images that have been toned down in a way that makes them appear more flattering.
For example, if color had been softened too much, colors would have been more vivid and less
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