New technologies, techniques and tools have also been discovered and used by professionals to produce more stunning photographs with strategic editing.
If you’re like me and take pride in a beautiful image, using professional photo editing you can turn any image into a work of art.
Whether you are a professional photographer, or just starting to explore post-production photo retouching, there is a combination of skill and technique that can make your pictures pop.
You’ll want to learn the best photo editing techniques from the professionals that do it everyday.
First, let’s talk a little about the industry of digital image editing.
What Is Professional Image Editing?
Photo editing is the art of adjusting and manipulating a photo to enhance the final image.
Sometimes you will do it to fix uncontrollable interference (read: Mother Nature!), or to simply touch up the finished product.
The possibilities are endless of what you can do in post-production.
Remove a stray hair, lighten skin, eliminate blemishes, or even add full makeup to a model after the photo shoot. If you can dream it, it can be done.
Professional photo retouching is used quite often in commercial projects to help achieve the desired ambiance or impact the client is looking for.
It is just a matter of determining if it is important to your pictures or not.
How Important Is Photo Editing In Your Work?
For the hobby photographer, you might not want or need to use any professional retouching techniques.
Simple touch-ups like lightening or darkening a photo can be really easy to do without investing a lot of time or money in your skills.
However, a commercial photographer can be made or broken by the output quality of their photos. For them it definitely makes sense to invest in quality photo editing training to ensure the best finished product for clients.
The alternative is to hire a skilled photo retoucher to do the work for you.
Common Tools Pros Use For Editing Images
When you are editing your images there are a few common tools you’ll use to get the highest quality results.
Professional photo editing software is a must if you want to create the best images. The most popular of the programs is Adobe Photoshop, but others like Gimp can help you produce stunning images as well.
Most retouchers will tell you having the best monitor and computer for photo editing will make a huge difference in the quality of your work. There is a lot of credibility in that. You’ll want to choose the equipment that gives you the best resolution and colors for the type of work you’ll be doing.
The most important tool professional retouchers might note is a drawing tablet. To get detailed editing done, your computer mouse just won’t cut it. A drawing tablet allows you to skillfully work with your photos in a way you can’t get with a mouse.
In the age of technological convenience there are many photo editing apps that can allow you to quickly apply filters or other presets to images through editing software programs and even mobile devices.
What Kind Of Photo Editing Do Photographers Use?
There are a variety of applications for pro image editing techniques within the various types of photography genres.
Amateur and professional photographers alike will use their skills to touch up skin, hair, and other facial features for clients or personal pictures.
Beauty retouching is popular among digital artists working with models. This can involve a lot of skillful painting of makeup or facial effects to create different looks.
Photo manipulation of lighting and environmental effects are popular techniques to mildly or completely change the scene of a photo shoot.
What Can You Do With Digital Photo Editing?
If you’re new to this world you may be wondering what do people do with their image editing skills? There are really a lot of opportunities.
One of the most common is to start a freelance photo editing business.
You’ll primarily work on pictures of other photographers who either don’t have time, or don’t possess the skills to retouch their own photos.
Some retouchers work for popular magazines.
No matter what industry or niche, every publication wants the best representation for their magazine.
Most (if not all) photos you see in magazines have been touched by a professional retoucher.
There area also many opportunities to work on a variety of commercial projects.
This might be a cosmetic company needing color retouching of makeup or hair, or you could find yourself working with images of physical products to enhance their presentation.
How To Do Professional Photo Editing
Some will say professional image editing is a combination of skill and creativity. It can be defined as a true art.
The creativity and experience will have to come from your personality and persistence. The skills should come from visual learning and application.
Here are a few of our recommended professional retouching education resources:
Creative Retouching Essentials In A Day: This video ebook by retouching legend Julia Kuzmenko McKim strips down the image editing process and gives the most essential and efficient skills you need to create stunning images from the time you pick up the camera. A must read for any beginner or intermediate retoucher.
Digital Photo Retouching: This is Julia’s second ebook packed with an entire workshop that can take anyone’s photo editing skills to the next level. Also includes images and inspiration from other popular digital artists in the industry.
Photoshop & Retouching Tutorials: There are 23 (and growing) photo manipulation and retouching tutorials covering all aspects of image post-production. Perfect for any skill level.
Digital Photography Masterclass: This masterclass video course focuses more on DSLR photography than post-production. You’ll learn how to work your digital camera like a pro so that you can take great pictures that will be easy to work with in or require very little post-production. A must for any photographer.
Trick Photography & Special Effects: This ebook with video tutorials will blow your mind. You’ll learn how to take amazing photos that look like you spent hours in Photoshop. You have to see this to believe it. Great for ANY skill level.
Keep learning the best professional photo editing tips and your skills will continue to grow beyond your wildest dreams!
Natural Photos Versus Retouching: Which Do You Prefer?
Do you prefer natural images or images that have been retouched and edited? There is an element of genuineness in the former, but a closer depiction of perfection in the latter.
Those in favor of ‘natural’ images might argue, natural images are perfection as they are nearest to reality.
This piece will focus on this ultramodern question of natural vs. retouching in the field of professional photography and what is right for you.
These are looked upon as images that can be taken by ‘anyone’. A sense of photography being whittled down to something that is essentially amateur. This might not be the case for a professional photographer who understands the art of photography and might produce higher quality ‘natural’ photos.
Natural photos have an aura of creativity that can perhaps be unmatched. It is a chance to focus on only what is available to the photographer in the moment. The photographer has to work with the elements in terms of light and effects in order to get the greatest ‘natural’ image.
Some clients will love this ‘natural’ effect because it presents a certain image. It enables the individual to feel unbound from certain perfections they may wish to see.
Natural photos are often a decision made by clients using images for personal use. These are images that might not be used to persuade customers into buying products. Businesses would never aim to have natural photos unless it was a specifically designed campaign.
This is where the capability of the photographer can often come to the forefront. While, it is important for the professional photographer to get the best ‘natural’ image, they can do a lot of handiwork with modern photo retouching software.
A wizard with the software can make the slightest of imperfections disappear with a click or two. This is what can separate great images from those that are impeccably flawless.
Retouched photos are greatest for those looking to remove imperfections that might be concerning them. Those looking to find the best image will always look for some form of professional editing.
Clients that are willing to pay money expect a professional quality of work from their photographer. This can only occur through the form of ultramodern software that is constantly being updated and retooled.
Businesses that present projects to photographers will always look towards retouched photos. They have a certain image in their mind to represent their product/service and nothing less suffices.
In this case, it is pertinent to have retouched images in order to meet the needs and requirements of the business and its project.
Natural versus retouched is a debate that will linger on for a while. Clients will always meet with a professional photographer in order to discuss these concerns.
Those looking for a particular shot might prefer a natural look, while those looking for perfection shoot for the retouched images.
Retouching does not have to be drastic as some might feel; it can often be a slight touch here and there. Naturalness can remain even after an image has been edited.