Retouching brings out the required image, but too much of it may make the photograph look far from reality.
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Photo retouching isn’t new. In every era mankind has made attempts to get a perfect physique or a flawless beauty. In those days when photography was still to be invented people would get their portrait done by skilled painters. The portraits would highlight the beauty of the subject and hide flaws. With the invention of still photography capturing image became accessible to more or less everybody. But the images would be exactly as seen through the lens. Not much could be done to hide a flaw or make a particular aspect of the image look more prominent. All these limitations changed with digital photography.
Digital photography was much superior in terms of the fact that an image could undergo a total change in the hands of skilled technician. Photo retouching underwent a paradigm shift as previously skilled painter could manually make few minor changes on the photograph, but now skilled technicians did much more than retouching. Retouching of photographs is being done so extensively that often the context of the photograph is changed. Technology has made it possible that, say for example in a photograph of group of people the owner wants that a particular person be removed then the skilled Photoshop technician can do that.
The retouching software varies in functionality and cost. The software can do to an extent in terms of retouching. What is required here is good deal of skills to use the software to do the required job. Skills in operating the software can be learned but this is not just enough along with acquired skills artistic flair is a definite advantage to a technician. Along with skill a great deal of time will have to be invested to get desired effects from a photograph. Uses of high quality equipments are also equally important to ensure a high quality job of retouching.
Many specialized organizations offer photo retouching services catering to the commercial requirements. Nowadays professional photographers who initially specialized in photography are also acquiring skill sets tin retouching photographs. Professional photographers in most case have shifted to Digital photography and the concept of developing a negative has become redundant. Hence with acquired skills the photograph is able to offer to the client a digital photograph that is exactly as per the requirement of the client. They are also able to make rectifications by retouching any defects that occurred during the time of taking the photograph.
Retouching a photograph can bring about a lot of changes with the photograph. It no more remains retouching it becomes editing. The question is how much of retouching should be done to a photograph. There have been news items that beauty pageant models often would resort retouching their portfolio photographs so as to make them look as desired. Photographs which have got damaged and to restore them retouching can be done. Cases where retouching is being done to hide a particular flaw that occurred at the time of taking is fine. But retouching just to ensure flawless skin or to ensure fair color of skin is to a great extent unethical.