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Explore Various Types of Photo Retouching Techniques | Available Photo Retouching Options

Explore Various Types of Photo Retouching Techniques | Available Photo Retouching Options

by Isaias J | August 14, 2023 09:56 PM Build

Table of Contents

Along with taking the photos, photographers may know of some editing techniques that allow them to fine tune parts of the photograph. Often these are known as retouching and editing. There are different amounts that can create a style and vision for the photos.

If you happen to get photos taken with ijyoyo, the editor will work in any of the following to edit and work with your image.

Also See How to Download Your Photos and Cloud Options

Global retouching

By global retouching it is often thought to think of this type of retouching as something on the overall photo. This can be contrasted with selective or local retouching that may only be on a specific point on the image

Color correction is one type of editing that an editor may use to enhance a photo. It includes creating colors that are true to either reality or the photo theme. This may include the overall temperature and tone of the colors. There also may be a fixed point in the photo that should be white and there is a setting to adjust the white balance.

Color Grading Batman

The white balance decides which part of the image or the selection should be white compared to the rest of the scene.

Additionally there are tabs called the HSL tabs that include hue , saturation and luminance of each color in the rainbow plus the shades of white , black and gray. You can imagine that 8 x 14 different settings need to be adjusted.

Overexposed Photograph

Photo by Brandon Hoogenboom on Unsplash

Exposure and contrast are another part of retouching to make the image ever better. Exposure is the amount of light that the photo may or may not have. Raising the exposure (often through raw and highly complex imaging) the image will get brighter with minimal artifacts. Lower the exposure will bring the overall images brightness and shadows down.

retouching and contrast Photo by Philippe Leone on Unsplash

Contrast helps differentiate different parts of the photos you can also de-contrast as well. Often contrast helps with soft light situations where subjects blend together inside of being separate. Contrast defines this area in your photography. Contrasting an image occurs when there is too much contrast between an image.

Saturation & Vibrance

Saturation and vibrance are another type of global lighting adjustments that are used when retouching a photograph.Saturation is the intensity of a color. This makes colors more vibrant and intense. Saturation affects all the colors equally no matter the intensity.

Xao Holding Leaves Fall Photoshoot

Vibrance brings out color in a photo as well . It targets less saturated colors or intensities in an image. The saturated colors remain unchanged. Vibrance is more fined tuned and may leave out some already vibrant colors.

Skin retouching

There are different ways retouchers skin retouchers mentioned here are blemish removal and spot, skin tone , smoothing and softening of the skin and reducing wrinkles.

Commercial Photographer retouching

Blemish Removal

Blemish removal is one way to retouch the human skin. You may remove different parts of a facial structure by using selective areas around it to make it look cohesive. The amount of removal may be different from one person to another and from one project to another.

Fall photography

Often this is done through selective sampling of a clean area around the skin with similar luminosity and color. The retouchers may use tools like the Healing Brush, Clone Stamp, Spot Healing Brush or Patch tool. Additionally AI may help aid in retouching blemishes. Adobe Photoshop's latest AI generator has the ability to use generative AI to remove blemishes.

Skin tone

Skin tone retouching is where an editor adjusts the person's skin color or tone. This may help with color balance. Changing redness is also a common part to edit out either from being burned or having a lot of blood go towards a part of your body when you are cold.

Often editing these parts will have a local or a specific effect on an area. You will likely have either spots or a cluster of spots that will be worked on.

Softening and smoothing skin

Another common skin retouching technique is the softening and smoothing of skin. These create smoother and more polished appearances of a person's skin in a photograph.

Skin retouching examples

Editors and retouchers may use different blur layers, skin softening filters, layer masks and AI to smooth the skin. The difference between non-retouched photos and retouched photos includes less rough areas of skin, less visible hairs.

It is worth noting that depending on the complexity of the skins and other natural appearances the results may differ with the same technique and tools. It is important to find an editor with this experience.

Reducing Wrinkles

Reducing wrinkles in retouching is a technique used to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles of a person's face. This creates a smoother and youthful appearance and also maintains a natural look.

commercial retouching

Portrait Retouching

Looking further on different parts of a person, retouchers may uniquely enhance a part of a portrait and focus on one part of the person. Some examples include eye enhancement, teeth whitening and hair retouching.

Eye enhancement

Eye enhancement is one way to open up the eye and create a unique focus. Often it is said that the eye is one of the first things people look at when looking at photographs. Eye enhancement may include brightening up the pupil or the iris. Additional adding catchlights are minimizing catchlights may be included. Whiting the sclera is common and coloring the iris is also common.

Creating retouching commercial photographer

Creating contrast between the iris, pupil and eyelashes is also common in eye enhancement techniques. It is important to find an editor for the desired feelings. If you are looking for a natural look you may only minorly adjust them. The human eye and perspective eye can tell a real and “fake” face.

Other enhancement techniques include removing red eyes from flash by changing either the color, luminosity or adjusting any of the above retouching tricks.

Teeth Whitening

Although we may all wish that we had the white and bright teeth (in some parts of the world) this may not be the case. Retouchers may take time to whiten teeth. This is done through using a combination of local color correcting and white balance measures.

teeth whitening commercial photographer

Retouchers must only select the teeth and avoid the gums, lips and mouth.

Hair Retouching

Hair retouching is a common task for retouchers to enhance the appearance of hair in a photograph. There are techniques such as getting rid of flyaways, frizz, unevenness or hairs across the face.

Body and figure retouching

Body and figure retouching can occur or be requested. Depending on the campaign or the media needs this type of editing should be done carefully. With body and figure retouching we change the form of the body through tightening or expanding certain parts of body. We may contour parts of the body, slim parts of the body as well.

Skin imperfections, blemishes and wrinkles also are a part of this group. You or your model may have blemishes that must be removed from the final photographs. Red and dark spots can distract the viewer. The amount of intensity for removing these parts of the body should be recognized. Wrinkles may also be reduced in editing software either using Artificial Intelligence or manually by a brush.

Muscle tone and definition may also be edited into parts of the image. These includes parts of the body like biceps, quads or specific body parts that should be highlighted in an image. This should be requested.

Object and Product Retouching

Background removal and replacement is a common editing technique. When you remove and replace a background we cut out the entire product and place it in a different scene. Background removal may also include removing distraction elements, people or features from the main subject.

background removal commercial photographer example

Product clean up retouching is another kind of retouching that involves removing artifacts directly on a product like glitter, dents or residue. There is also the ability to do the opposite and add artifacts to a product in post production


Photo editing takes a keen eye for great photographs. This article went over different types of retouching to help you understand the possibilities available. Ask your photographer about these and get some great photos!

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