​What is the difference between editing and retouching?

The terms ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ are used quite often in the photography world, but can mean wildly different things. Some photographers even use them meaning the same thing, which can be very confusing. In this post, I will explain what I mean by ‘editing’ and what I mean by ‘retouching’. After reading, you will have a better understanding of what the terms can mean (as I said, it can vary from photographer to photographer), so that you know what questions to ask so you understand what you will receive.

EDITING
Edited images are cropped, straightened and adjusted for exposure, temperature, white balance and contrast. This is not my final edit, but it brings the image to a nice clean base for showing my clients.  These are what you see when you get the proof gallery. Let’s take a look at an unedited versus an edited photo.
 

 Unedited Image

Unedited Image

 Edited Image

Edited Image

Editing a photo can take as little as a few seconds or a few minutes, depending on the desired effect. It may not seem like a lot of time, but when spread out over several hundred images, it can mean hours of work.


BASIC RETOUCHING
Retouched images are typically high resolution digitals or printed item. For me, retouching means up 15 minutes of work on an image – sharpening, removing blemishes, brightening teeth, smoothing skin, removing distractions in the background and adding “simple” effects that make them my own artistic style. 

 Before Basic Retouching

Before Basic Retouching

 After Basic Retouching

After Basic Retouching

EXTENSIVE RETOUCHING
Extensive retouching means things like compositing images together, completely changing the background of an image or spending more than 15 minutes to get an image to where it needs to be. In general, extensive retouching takes about 30 minutes to an hour per image. My newborn sessions include extensive retouching whereas most portrait sessions do not. Additional fees apply for extensive retouching. Below are some samples of images with extensive retouching. 

Picture1.jpg

Sample composite image

DE5A8767.JPG
DE5A8766.JPG
Bo Newborn Session (4).jpg

Sample composite image

 Before 

Before 

 After

After

 Before

Before

 After

After