Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > MMers complaining about the use of retouching

Retoucher

Laura EB

Posts: 65

Rochester, New York, US

So I just started following MM on facebook so I could see the pic of the day there since I like reading people's comments about images.  I almost instantly noticed that on nearly every picture there's some comment like

"omg stop with the retouching", "can we see a picture that isn't photoshopped?" or "Finally a natural image where the photographer isn't depending on photoshop to carry his weight" and a bunch of things along those lines.

Are people really not used to retouching in photography?  Open up any vogue and you'll see retouching everywhere (especially in beauty work, which often wins pic of the day) and even if it's not skin retouching the color styles are all created in post.  What's with the hate towards using a tool to make your images look better or assuming the photographers are bad if they decide to use photoshop?

Has anyone else noticed this?  And is retouching getting hated out of photography or is it just certain people on the MM community?

May 13 13 09:36 am Link

Photographer

ForeverFotos

Posts: 6644

Indianapolis, Indiana, US

Laura Bello wrote:
--snip--

Has anyone else noticed this?  And is retouching getting hated out of photography or is it just certain people on the MM community?

Yep, the people who usually complain the most about photoshop usage are the people who don't know how to use it. Go figure.

May 13 13 09:44 am Link

Photographer

Gary Melton

Posts: 6395

Dallas, Texas, US

I'm an artistic photographer, and retouching/editing is a part of my art.  IMHO, retouching/editing is every bit as valid as the photography itself.

I think of it like this: a painter/artist does both steps in one - they "take" the picture in their mind, then put their "interpretation" of what they see onto the canvas...so, the painter actually "retouches/edits" as they paint.

Painters aren't criticized for portraying a subject differently than reality...why should photographers?

May 13 13 09:48 am Link

Photographer

NothingIsRealButTheGirl

Posts: 33590

Los Angeles, California, US

ForeverFotos wrote:

Yep, the people who usually complain the most about photoshop usage are the people who don't know how to use it. Go figure.

http://aesop.magde.info/images/Aesop_Fox&Grape.jpg

Law 36 of the 48 Laws of Power: Disdain things you cannot have.

May 13 13 10:00 am Link

Photographer

A Sight Worth Seeing

Posts: 126

Fresno, California, US

I'm a photographer, but if I paid for somebody to photograph me, I would want them to make me look right in photoshop.

Although I'd personally want both kinds of post work done, there are really two very different types of post work.  The first is removal of things that aren't normally there -- dirt on the face, a pimple, a scratch, etc.  The second is alteration of things that are normally there -- i.e. changing eye color.  There is an in between, which is changing things that can change, like making a llama thinner (um, something I'd want for sure in photos of me....).

For photojournalism, obviously photoshop changes the news by changing the image.  For art photos, glamour photos, advertising photos, I don't see the problem with giving the customer or llama what they want.

Just my 2 cents.  Or my $49/month, you know, for Adobe CS subscription.

May 13 13 10:12 am Link

Photographer

Ed Woodson Photography

Posts: 2644

Savannah, Georgia, US

On another Forum I frequent, there's a guy who give all of the portrait/Glamour photographers untold grief about their re-touching.

His work is just about all landscape photography and he is the most prolific user of HDR of ever seen.

Another poster called him out on it one day and his reply was.  "HDR is not retouching, it's enhancing the image."

Go figure.

May 13 13 10:20 am Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Well, with all due respect to re-touchers, too much of a good thing can be bad.  Hello! -Skin has texture.  While I'm a big fan of removing blemishes, scars, sometimes tattoos, and other artifacts, I'm really not a fan of the plethora of images that have been retouched to the extent that faces look like the painted on finish of a doll.  Really, if the anal pursuit of perfection has to go that far, then perfect your own planet.  This one is replete with flaws and imperfections that help to keep it from being a boring place. 

Don't classify myself as a "retoucher" but I do make a few little corrections to my pics.  I've even been known to use the "Liquify" filter from time to time.  So, I'm neither envious nor a purist.

Enough with the "doll skin" already.

May 13 13 10:26 am Link

Photographer

Redcrown

Posts: 156

West Des Moines, Iowa, US

Don't complain about the complainers. If anything, praise them and encourage them to continue limiting themselves. By their self imposed limitations they become weak competitors, and thus make it easier for you to out perform them.

Imagine you were coaching an American football team. One the the other teams' coaches hates the foreward pass. He argues that football is a running sport and throwing a foreward pass should be outlawed because it's not "real" football.

Would you try to change his backward thinking? Hell no! You would either keep quiet or tell him what a great coach he is, and happily anticipate every game you play against him.

May 13 13 10:36 am Link

Photographer

M Pandolfo Photography

Posts: 12116

Tampa, Florida, US

ForeverFotos wrote:
Yep, the people who usually complain the most about photoshop usage are the people who don't know how to use it. Go figure.

/thread

May 13 13 10:46 am Link

Photographer

Doctor Haze Chavenstein

Posts: 94

San Diego, California, US

Gary Melton wrote:
I'm an artistic photographer, and retouching/editing is a part of my art.  IMHO, retouching/editing is every bit as valid as the photography itself.

I think of it like this: a painter/artist does both steps in one - they "take" the picture in their mind, then put their "interpretation" of what they see onto the canvas...so, the painter actually "retouches/edits" as they paint.

Painters aren't criticized for portraying a subject differently than reality...why should photographers?

Well put. I second that.
I give my clients un-edited copies and if they want retouching or don't like a birthmark or they had a blemish I will edit if they ask.

May 13 13 11:30 am Link

Retoucher

Zorka

Posts: 193

Belgrade, Central Serbia, Serbia

Light and Lens Studio wrote:
Well, with all due respect to re-touchers, too much of a good thing can be bad.

There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

May 13 13 11:48 am Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:
There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:
There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:
There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:
There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:
There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

IPad Malfunction

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:

There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

Crap

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Light and Lens Studio

Posts: 1453

Sisters, Oregon, US

Zorka wrote:
There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

May 13 13 12:10 pm Link

Photographer

Four-Eleven Productions

Posts: 749

Fircrest, Washington, US

On average, balancing out the images with zits and bruises still showing with those featuring the plasticized skin referenced above, the amount of Photoshop used around here is about right for my tastes.

But for some reason the 'too much' bothers me more than the 'too little'. Maybe it's because I assume anyone who's taken the time to learn the application ought to know better.

May 13 13 12:13 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

It has been my experience most of the time that;

I am a natural light photographer = I can't work my camera without P mode
I don't retouch so my images are "real"  = I suck in the darkroom, or these days I can figure out PS

But hey its not like a photographer needs be a retoucher - sub it out just like its was done in the film days.

May 13 13 12:23 pm Link

Photographer

Grady Richardson

Posts: 255

Houston, Texas, US

May 13 13 01:37 pm Link

Photographer

ontherocks

Posts: 22615

Salem, Oregon, US

we're doing a 4'x6' banner for a local softball team and one of the girls had very inconsistent skin tone in her face (looked like she had just taken a big slurp of an orange drink around her lips) and we smoothed that out for her. i don't see the harm in something like that. plus removing zits. i think the camera magnifies flaws and then we try to tone that down a bit.

May 13 13 02:34 pm Link

Photographer

Grafanovitchi

Posts: 572

San Marcos, California, US

I was taught in college how to retouch on the negative and on the print. Not to mention how to dodge and burn. Old analog techniques have become new age digital techniques.

The only people that complain either are too lazy to learn or are ignorant of the fact that it has always been done.

May 13 13 02:37 pm Link

Photographer

J O H N A L L A N

Posts: 10328

Santa Ana, California, US

Well, to put it in context, you're talking about Facebook, where the self-shot and pictures of one's dinner are king.

MM is the real-world fashion market by comparison.

May 13 13 02:50 pm Link

Retoucher

Laura EB

Posts: 65

Rochester, New York, US

Zorka wrote:

There is no such thing as too much or too little retouching. There is ONLY good and bad retouching.

I mostly agree, however in my own experience I've found that some images can be manipulated to the point where no matter how good you are it just looks fake and bad.  That being said most of those types of images are bad to begin with and you just can't save them. 

Also, some of us don't have access to models with perfect skin and features, amazing MUA's/stylists and pro lighting equipment.  I know that's why I end up doing a lot of retouching on my own work.  Maybe if I was shooting scarlett johansson it'd be different but hey, whatcha gonna do :p

May 13 13 03:33 pm Link

Model

GingerMuse

Posts: 369

STUDIO CITY, California, US

it's Facebook. people just love to talk shit.

but, there are many times when I often see terribly retouched images and though I may not type out that's it's crappy work, I'm definitely thinking it. I've had photographers retouch my own images to the point where it looks like they just used the paint tool to even out skin tone or fix makeup - totally unusable. Photoshop can definitely be a dangerous tool and there are a lot of people out there who do not know how to use it. but it's all subjective anyway. I see before/after photos where I want to slap the retoucher because the before was so much better than the after and under those photos I've seen comments on how great the edited version was and I think those people must be blind!

but yea...it's facebook... lol

May 13 13 03:43 pm Link

Photographer

Commercial Works Photo

Posts: 265

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, US

When I shot film it was usually black and white so I could process it myself.  I would meter the scene so I could place a tone of a certain value into a certain zone.  I would then expose my film taking careful notes as to how to process.  Later, I would process either normal or n+1 or n-1 for the contrast I wanted.  After the negative dried, I would make a weak positive mask to both improve sharpness (Unsharp masking) and contrast.  In the darkroom, I would determine the contrast filters I wanted then I would make a print or 2 to determine my burn and dodge mask which I would then print with the negative, producing a consistent result. Once the print was fully rinsed, I would use a toner, usually selenium to change the color cast of the black and white.  Finally when the print was dry, I would use Spotone and a mild bleaching agent to get rid of blemishes and dust spots.  I don't use film any longer, but I use a digital camera and photoshop.  I still follow the same steps to yield a final image. It just takes a lot less time.

May 13 13 03:47 pm Link

Photographer

HungryEye

Posts: 2276

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Before we had Photoshop, we burned and dodged at length in the darkroom, and in some cases used airbrushes to smooth skin on prints.

It's the internet. People find fault with everything.

May 13 13 03:49 pm Link

Photographer

Oscar Partida

Posts: 732

Palm Springs, California, US

Yep, the people who usually complain the most about photoshop usage are the people who don't know how to use it. Go figure.

THIS




but also there are a lot of guys who DO over do it...let's be real !!

May 13 13 04:00 pm Link

Photographer

Will Snizek Photography

Posts: 1387

Beckley, West Virginia, US

I don't make rude comments about it since art is subjective, but I certainly think editing is way overdone these days.  There does come a point where it's no longer a realistic photograph.  The best retouching is when it doesn't look obviously retouched.

May 13 13 05:42 pm Link

Photographer

descending chain

Posts: 1219

Fullerton, California, US

Light and Lens Studio wrote:
Well, with all due respect to re-touchers, too much of a good thing can be bad.  Hello! -Skin has texture.  While I'm a big fan of removing blemishes, scars, sometimes tattoos, and other artifacts, I'm really not a fan of the plethora of images that have been retouched to the extent that faces look like the painted on finish of a doll.  Really, if the anal pursuit of perfection has to go that far, then perfect your own planet.  This one is replete with flaws and imperfections that help to keep it from being a boring place. 

Don't classify myself as a "retoucher" but I do make a few little corrections to my pics.  I've even been known to use the "Liquify" filter from time to time.  So, I'm neither envious nor a purist.

Enough with the "doll skin" already.

I know of almost no professional retouchers who do that to skin.  It's usually the photographers who blur out the texture (and the newbie retouchers).

May 13 13 05:56 pm Link

Photographer

rfordphotos

Posts: 4890

Antioch, California, US

I dont think all the photoshop/retouching in the world can turn a bad image into a good image.

I do think poor photoshop/retouching can completely destroy a good photograph.

____Personally____ I am sometimes troubled by images that to my eye (biased as it is) that cross the line where it becomes more of a digital piece, created in post, as opposed to a -photograph- enhanced by a skilled retoucher.

I love the fantasy pieces with the beautiful maiden protected by the he-man with a huge broadsword, fending off the dragons..... but I question whether they are photographs, or digital creations.... A different media, a different genre of work....

I am hopelessly old school. To my ____personal____ aesthetic, I think a well retouched image should look as though it was never touched... all the elements can be enhanced, skin improved, hair fixed, color and shading enhanced, "pop" added to the image, but done so in a subtle manner, one the casual viewer might not notice. "We" will probably look at the image and know it was enhanced, but a casual viewer would think that is what the photographer saw thru the viewfinder...

I think the majority of the noise about "retouching" is a response to the low end of the range of folks "retouching" images... I think the noise is more about the guy who uses a "one stop tool" that "fixes" the images with 20 seconds of fiddling with a couple sliders than about someone approaching retouching seriously.

As has already been said, things evolve, viewers expectations evolve. Those that cannot find some peace with the trends in photography, from capture to post, will fall by the wayside. Retouching has always been a part of photography, I think the only really significant change is in how much is done (and how much is possible).

May 13 13 07:05 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

rfordphotos wrote:
I dont think all the photoshop/retouching in the world can turn a bad image into a good image.

I do think poor photoshop/retouching can completely destroy a good photograph.

____Personally____ I am sometimes troubled by images that to my eye (biased as it is) that cross the line where it becomes more of a digital piece, created in post, as opposed to a -photograph- enhanced by a skilled retoucher.

I love the fantasy pieces with the beautiful maiden protected by the he-man with a huge broadsword, fending off the dragons..... but I question whether they are photographs, or digital creations.... A different media, a different genre of work....

I am hopelessly old school. To my ____personal____ aesthetic, I think a well retouched image should look as though it was never touched... all the elements can be enhanced, skin improved, hair fixed, color and shading enhanced, "pop" added to the image, but done so in a subtle manner, one the casual viewer might not notice. "We" will probably look at the image and know it was enhanced, but a casual viewer would think that is what the photographer saw thru the viewfinder...

I think the majority of the noise about "retouching" is a response to the low end of the range of folks "retouching" images... I think the noise is more about the guy who uses a "one stop tool" that "fixes" the images with 20 seconds of fiddling with a couple sliders than about someone approaching retouching seriously.

As has already been said, things evolve, viewers expectations evolve. Those that cannot find some peace with the trends in photography, from capture to post, will fall by the wayside. Retouching has always been a part of photography, I think the only really significant change is in how much is done (and how much is possible).

OP its just as bad on the photography threads as people go on and on about gear and how one body/sensor has better dynamic range.  Never really understanding that the clients don't give a shit and a good image shot with a 4 year Canon Rebel will out do a D800 in the public/clients eyes

A good image is a good image, it can be enhanced or sometimes fixed (sneaky tripod leg got in frame) but it has to be worth looking at first; then retouched

May 13 13 07:18 pm Link

Photographer

StevieSteve

Posts: 24

Madison, Wisconsin, US

Yes, photoshop is a life saver for getting out blemishes, moles, pimples and what not.  I like to airbrush enough just to the point where people cannot tell if I used PS or not, take a look at my work, pretty much everyone is PS, but I want to keep the people guessing, I had people ask me who does their makeup?  Then I know I did it correctly, I'd rather be a bit under than over when it comes to PS.   The last thing I want someone to say to me is, dude, don't go hog wild on the airbrush..lol, but then again, I've seen girls with such smooth airbrushed skin in real life where it may have looked fake if it was in a photo, very rarely do I fine someone with flawless glowing airbrushed skin.  Usually it's a girl in her young teens.

May 13 13 07:34 pm Link

Photographer

KonstantKarma

Posts: 2513

Hickory, North Carolina, US

Naysayers putting down retouching in the photography world are sort of like mechanics who don't know how to drive. It's a little frightening.

There is a lot of bad retouching around these parts, and in many cases no retouching is better than bad.

We all start somewhere and work our way up through experience.

May 13 13 08:30 pm Link

Retoucher

FKW

Posts: 196

Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia

if someday photoshop is forbidden in photography world, camera manufacturer might be considering installing sofwere editing in the camera.

May 13 13 09:55 pm Link

Photographer

Sentimental-SINtimental

Posts: 1314

Castle Rock, Washington, US

FKW wrote:
if someday photoshop is forbidden in photography world, camera manufacturer might be considering installing sofwere editing in the camera.

Some cameras already have stuff built in them... it's cheesy but it's only the beginning.

May 14 13 01:40 pm Link

Retoucher

Virtuoso Skins

Posts: 333

Asheville, North Carolina, US

There really is no such thing as "too much" photoshop. When people say that they generally refer to blurred skin, generally quick retouching using filters or plug ins as short cuts, or just bad technique. In truth, it's not very much photoshop time spent. It should really just be called "Bad photoshop".

A good retoucher enhances the intent of the image without detracting from it. This takes hours, not minutes.

We are also talking about fashion and beauty, where the aesthetic is generally super clean and often hyper realistic. If people want to see more "natural" shots, they should go into a different venue like fine art photography.

May 15 13 01:43 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15718

Orlando, Florida, US

Oscar Partida wrote:
Yep, the people who usually complain the most about photoshop usage are the people who don't know how to use it. Go figure.
THIS




but also there are a lot of guys who DO over do it...let's be real !!

Which, I argue, is not knowing how to use it.

May 15 13 01:52 pm Link

Model

CarlottaChampagne

Posts: 214

Los Angeles, California, US

I just had to throw this video into a photoshop thread. I think photoshop is an amazing tool when used properly. When not... oy vey.

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheRagMagRejects

May 21 13 05:18 pm Link