Let’s face it, it’s a touchy subject.
It’s a complex topic that doesn’t have a simple answer: When does retouching a photo cross over into going too far? Is editing a photo to convince viewers of something false an acceptable practice? Does retouching a photo set unrealistic and false expectations for consumers?
I fall in the camp of people who think it is an acceptable practice when used sparingly. It shouldn’t be used to alter the image/subject so drastically that they are hardly recognizable, but rather, enhances them in the photo. I did a bit of retouching to these example photos to demonstrate not only the skill set used, but also to show the judicious nature of what I choose to edit and what to leave untouched.
Click and drag the slider arrows to see the before and after images!
This photo of my nephew demonstrates the way in which I try to lead the viewer away from distracting moments (such as the red thread in his collar) so that the eye gets drawn to him.
Simplifying the background of the image can do wonders. As you can see here, removing some of the distracting elements which detract from the subject can help to give a clear focal point to the image.