When you have the gear to get crisp photos and are able to catch and freeze those moments on the dance floor, even though the pictures can be amazing and you will get awesome compliments, you wont please everyone. There is a wide variety of dancers of all different shapes and sizes, but for the most part you can pick flattering photos out of what you have taken. Picking the right side, angle, smile, avoiding the double chin when people laugh, making sure the body rotation doesn’t make someone look heavy, and other things really do take some time. I personally do not do any retouching on my photos to change someones appearance. What you see is what the camera captured.
When it comes to the pictures you see, there are some basic edits that I do, but I don’t consider it retouching. Yes there is some noise reduction which can smooth out the skin a little bit, but at the same time, I add a little clarity which does bring out details a little bit more. I might adjust a little teeth whitening especially if there were color removal due to colored lights at events and white balance wasn’t enough to correct or remove a bright color completely (whitening is extremely rare, maybe 6 pictures out of thousands will get it)
So what do I consider retouching? It’s removal, reducing, editing lines, getting rid of an emergency exit sign, or similar. My goal is to capture the moments exactly as they are, as such by default I do not do ANY retouching of the photos I post. Because of this, I may get compliments on my photos, how real they are, clear, and crisp, but then comes some people nitpicking.
It is true, people do nitpick some photos, particularly of themselves. The most common one I get, is the fact you “can see every wrinkle” on their face. Yes, if you’re older, you will have beauty lines or wrinkles as many people call them. It comes with age, but everyone is their own worst critic. I’m capturing exactly who you are, and the gear and quality will show you who you are. The picture will be a flattering picture outside of the fact you are showing the beauty lines.
Can I remove the lines, or lessen them? Yes I can, will I just do that on every picture? NO! I’m culling through over thousands of pictures, trying to get them down to the best couple hundred with the most variety. Then I’m correcting camera tilt, color, exposure, and more, so I wont be going into each photo and removing beauty lines, marks, scars, or anything out of the photos.
What if I ask?
What if you ask me to remove the lines, marks, or other edits of the picture? I’m happy to do that for you, but it does take time, and it will cost to make those changes. Most festivals I attend are not paid photography gigs, as such the only thing I get for compensation is what is sold in the galleries. So the hours at the event, and the hours after the event are not paid. The number of prints that sell per festival can be counted on one hand for each festival. The gear, time, skill, equipment, and more is always a loss. As such, if I’m asked to do extra edits for a picture, I will charge to do said edits.
Even though I will charge for edits, the final picture will be available with the rest of the gallery, replacing the previous one. If I’m available to do the edits, have the time, then I’ll let you know a price, which will not include the full res file. The full res file will be available to purchase in the gallery, unless you’ve already purchased the previous one.
Because of this, no one so far has asked me to do any edits. Most people don’t even know that retouching is a thing, or expect it for free. I’m offering so much for free already, and if you want more than what is available for free, there is usually a charge. It’s the cost of trying to make a living or to do a business. The same goes for rights to print, publish, use commercially, and more. So yes, I will edit pictures if asked if you are willing to pay. I wouldn’t expect any less from another photographer or professional.
Do you feel this is fair? Do you feel retouching or editing the pictures is something myself or others should do, offer to do, or not at all? Should I be more upfront in my galleries that I offer retouching services? Is cropping considered retouching? Let me know below in the comments or contact me!