Let's clear the air for a minute!
Your phone's selfie camera can smooth your skin. There are countless apps, plug-ins, and quick ways to smooth skin.
In the world of professional photography, things are a little different. Retouching spans across three "tiers".
The first is the simplest. Simple blemish removal. Photos of this nature are left pretty "raw" and don't offer too much of a retouched, polished look.
The second is where most photographers wind up, which is a process called frequency separation. When used correctly, it can be very powerful. However, most photographers these days tend to overuse it, resulting in blurry, "plasticky" skin that doesn't look like well...skin. While better than an automatic plugin or software, this method tends to become a quick, efficient, yet unrealistic and incomplete method of retouching for many artists out there. It resorts to dividing the color and skin texture into two separate layers, while then blurring the "blotches" on the color layer, ultimately resulting in a mismatch between the color of the texture and the color of the skintones underneath it.
The third tier is the most polished, precise, and challenging method of retouching. It combines the use of healing, reshaping, local and global dodge & burn, luminosity adjustments, color uniformity adjustments, contouring, and hair cleanup/enhancement. Those are just a few things. Essentially, this level of retouching is what is used by professional retouchers, high-end photographers and magazines like Vogue, Maxim, or Elle. This method of retouching is considered "invisible" in the sense that it does not look "fake" or like plastic. It's usually done on a pore-to-pore, transition-to-transition basis, and often can take between 3-5 hours or more PER IMAGE.
In 2016, we "graduated" from advanced/proper usage of tier-2 retouching to full high-end tier-3 retouching. Yes, that means retouching a photo takes longer than it did before.
...BUT it's worth it, and it just keeps getting better from here!
I'm proud to offer truly high-end retouching and cinematic, emotionally-driven coloring with any session you invest in!
If requested, your images can be taken to the next level and we can place you in an entirely different world or scenario. This process, compositing, includes all of the enhancements above in addition to background swapping, digital painting, effect overlays, composite light blending, focus adjustment, and all necessary to make your "new world" image look as natural (or unreal) as necessary.
Our retouching is also nondestructive. That means that if for any reason you wanted a certain part of a retouched image further altered, that part is already on it's own "layer" and is easily adjustable without impacting the rest of the photo.
So, why do we do it this way?
Simply because we love it. Retouching is the "finishing touch" to a photoshoot. Not only are we fulfilled on a heartfelt level once we successfully finish retouching but we love seeing how our clients react. Choose us, lose the "generic" automatic retouching. We'll do it right.
Be sure to read our Testimonials section to see what our past clients have to say about our work!