Headshots 101, part 6: BUT YOU CAN PHOTOSHOP THAT OUT, RIGHT? To Photoshop or Not to Photoshop, That Is the Question
How much editing is too much? A certain amount of editing is necessary for every photo, but how much that is exactly is a matter of taste. We personally believe retouching shouldn't be visible. You should see the person, not the editing. Retouching gets rid of whatever distracts from the story you're sharing. Lots of things in photos distract the eye, because you see far more details than you do in real life. The camera is a cold heartless instrument that shows things human eye typically doesn't notice. In real life people move and express themselves, and in photos they're frozen. There are many details you would never see while interacting with a person, and all of those distractions become noticeable when looking at a photo.
There is plenty of bad retouching out there that gives the craft a bad reputation. We pride ourselves on subtle, effective, unnoticeable retouching and consider it one of our studio's greatest strengths.
What we typically do to every image:
Eyes: we remove blood vessels and sharpen the eyes slightly
Skin: we minimize the under-eye bags, and lighten harsh lines while still keeping texture and color-correct
Hair: we remove fly-aways
How to tell bad retouching:
The subject has no pores and looks like a plastic doll
The editor was playing with the body parts and pushed it too far (proportions and angles of bent arm are off)
Unnatural skin tones
Over-whitened teeth and eye whites.