What Really Goes Into Retouching High-End Fashion Images

High-end retouching is all about keeping details and texture intact in an image so that it looks as natural as possible. Making sure the picture looks unretouched but polished is a matter of patience and wise choices in retouching techniques. In this video, watch retoucher Pratik Naik editing a photo shot by Andrea Belluso.

Retouching is often seen as the evil part of the photography industry. It has had so much bad press over the past few years because of failed campaigns and poor quality work that people have been lead to believe that retouching is bad and giving a poor representation of reality. However, as Naik mentioned in the description of his video on YouTube, retouching is all about bringing the best out of someone, making them look like on their best day. That means keeping the skin, the shapes, and the colors realistic unless the goal isn’t to create something natural looking.

The time-lapse above wasn’t created for an educational purpose, but you can always use it to identify the different parts of the workflow and in which order they are done. If you want to learn more about retouching be sure to check Pratik Naik’s video course on CreativeLive or our fashion and editorial photography tutorial with Clay Cook.

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David Justice's picture

I like to say retouching a photo is about taking the photo I saw in my head and altering the photo to reflect that. When you are talking to someone in person and looking at them, you don't notice their blackheads or the subtle pimples on their face. You don't notice that one eye's liner isn't finished or it's a little messed up. You don't see that. Especially when you're looking back and remembering someone from memory. You don't picture the pimple on the temple of their forehead. You just don't.

So why should my photo have that in there? Why should you be able to look at and examine the little details you wouldn't have seen otherwise? Because it was in the photo? That's not a good reason.

ron fya's picture

Quentin Decaillet, you used to write interesting posts and link interesting videos. With this post and the one with the 6 lighting setups, it makes me say they now became more a complete waste of time. Yours and the reader's. I can understand the need for GOOD branded (or not) content, but not SHITTY branded content or just USELESS content. Please make it right so that fstoppers remains a valuable blog.
Thanks. Cheers.

Felix Wu's picture

Could you kindly elaborate on why sharing this video became a waste of time? I think it could be enlightening for some readers.

ron fya's picture

Did you watch it ? Those kind of speed up video teach you nothing ! You don't see anything, you are not explained anything therefore you don't know why he does what he does, when it is applicable or not, you are not sure if it is worth spending your time trying to figure out something ... Those are not enough reasons for you ?

There are plenty of great and worthwhile tutorials around the net, free on youtube or to buy in complete lessons packages (including from Pratik Naik). Sped up videos like this are a complete waste of time. Get over it.