We know that our clients can’t always supply professionally shot photographs for us to use. Often images are underexposed, backlit or are tinted with fluorescent lighting making skin colour appear unnatural. As long as the image is high enough quality for print (see our previous article: Image resolution – what does it mean?) and is fairly sharp, we can fix these problems by retouching them.
What is photo retouching?
Photo retouching is usually when an image is improved in terms of brightness, sharpness, improved skin tone and cropping but the overall image is recognisable from the original.
Below is a demonstration for you to show you what we do to retouch a photo so it looks great in print.
The before image is exactly as it was supplied. The composition of the shot is great and we really like that all the cows are looking to camera. However there are a few areas to improve to make the photo suitable to print.
The image is too dark, especially for use in print work. All of the details of the grass by the cows’ feet would print as a murky horrible mess.
The sky is typical of British overcast weather. It looks bleak and will bleed into any white space on the final design.
The cows have spots of black on their faces and green mud on their sides. The mud on their knees is ok as it indicates they’ve been lying down but the spots and smudges look messy.
There is a streak of purple/blue lens fringing on the side of the tree.
This is where our retouching skills come in really handy. In the after photo we lightened the dark areas to bring out details in the image. This has also made the grass much more vibrant. We added in some new blue sky to make the image feel bright and summery. We retouched the cows to remove the spots and smudges. We removed the lens fringing and finally brightened and added contrast to the whole image. The retouched image will now look nice and bright when printed.