I’m Touchy about Retouching

The world of images is full of, well, unfortunate retouching. It is unfortunate because it ruins otherwise nice images. The tell: skin texture that looks like a glowing plastic barbie doll or, if there is any texture left at all, it is (unrealistically) uniform across the face.

Take a quick peek at social media to see one image after another that has suffered from retouching by inexperienced, hurried, or tasteless retouching. If it looks like that in a 2″ x 2″ low-resolution square on a phone screen, imagine what it looks like blown up in a print to even 8″ x 10″. It is understandable: top-level retouchers are both expensive and hard to find.

for your images I use the same retouchers as I do for my international editorial publications. They retouch images for major editorials and cover images of magazines such as Glamour and Vogue, and they work for major beauty brands. This level of professional costs about 5 to 10 times an entry-level commercial retoucher on a per image basis. It’s a necessary expense, however, to create flattering images for you and enable the scale of prints that you will want, ranging from 8″ x 10″ up to 24″ x 30″. Any mistakes in skin texture will read like a blemish or scar when viewed on paper at this size. I have the same standards for you as I do for professional models, and follow the same process.

In the image below, Hélène has extremely fine-textured skin, perfect for a close beauty editorial such as this one, and ironically very difficult to retouch without destroying her skin texture. (I was fortunate to work with her last December, right after she was the face of a Tom Ford beauty campaign.) Nevertheless, in the second image notice the subtle variation in skin texture and gradation of luminosity that my primary beauty retoucher Yelena was able to preserve.


Before your photo viewing I will have a small selection of photos retouched to show you. The purpose of this is twofold: when we meet you can see what a finished image will look like, and you will be able to give me feedback before we finalize all of your images. As one recent client wrote:

“Ron reveals both the edited and unedited work. This shows you the level of editing and what he “can” do if you want tiny fixes to your portrait. Knowing he can “fix” things gives confidence to do the photo shoot and not be self conscious and worry about anything. (I think it’s a big thing to share with potential clients so they don’t wait for the perfect moment… which never comes)”

When was the last time you were photographed by a professional? Contact me to start the conversation today here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *