The more time I spend shooting portraits and beauty work, the more I love retouching. There is something about spending hours in front of a computer and paying meticulous attention, all while jamming out to great music that I find super meditative and enjoyable. When it comes to retouching, there really aren’t many shortcuts. Most of the time, it just take good old fashioned attention to detail and time to get near-perfect results. For a look at what goes into the process, check out this time-lapse from Pratik Naik of Solstice Retouch to see 1.5 hours of retouching a photo by Jonas Jensen in seven minutes.
According to Naik: “It’s not blurring or airbrushing skin, and there’s no magic button. Half of the time, you won’t even know an image is retouched when it’s done correctly, and that’s what it should be.” While retouching can often get some bad hype, I think Naik does an awesome job of explaining it: “It should show what a person looks like on their best day — realistic, yet natural and full of visible skin texture. This is for people in the industry as well as outside of it, to bridge the gap of understanding of what it’s really about amid the bad media out there.”
Check out Naik's retouching time-lapse and if you're interested in viewing more of his work, you can do so here. Dani Diamond recently wrote a Complete Guide to Retouching for Free, so check that out if you want to develop some of your own retouching skills. Feel free to share any retouching advice of your own in the comments section below.