In a world where anyone with a smartphone has powerful photo manipulation tools at their fingertips, it’s important to talk about how these tools can be overused. With apps like FaceTune, Snapchat, and Instagram, it is easy to use photo retouching tools or filters that completely change the subject. I’m not gonna lie and say I don’t understand the desire or need to retouch portraits, but I do think we can go a bit overboard with it a lot of times. I won’t waste anymore time and I will reveal the shocking secret to nailing portrait retouching.
LESS IS MORE.
It may sound like somewhat of a cliché, but I “live by it” when it comes to photo retouching. I will preface the rest of this by clarifying that editorial photo retouching for magazines and other publications introduce nuance to this notion. This isn’t because I personally think a heavier hand is more acceptable in those mediums. The sense of perfection is so inculcated in that realm that pitching the concept of “less” would be like shouting at drywall. I’m petitioning to creators with portraits in their portfolio that aren’t going for print in a magazine or someone simply trying to mask certain “flaws” in their selfies.
Let’s be honest here, when we retouch our selfies, we are trying to make it look like it’s not retouched. Disregard for the “less is more” ideology is the reason why most of the time, photo manipulation is obvious. Aim for the most “natural” result, graceful touch-up, and most importantly embrace the true essence of yourself or your subject.