As a retoucher, especially when it is a project you also shot, you may be tempted to come up with some creative edits. While retouching is there to bring the image to a level of perfection, it could also be an opportunity to take some creative liberties that couldn’t really happen in-camera. Sure, creative edits can be a fun way to impress the client with something unexpected, but be sure to also fulfill the requirements of the retouching notes. If you’re gonna take the risk to come up with alternate edits, then do it as an extra deliverable for free.
For example, take a look at the image of the female model on the edge of the bathtub, shot for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. While the traditional retouching would call for a clean-up of the background you see in the before shot, I personally felt the background lacked depth once the reflections were removed. Therefore, I had some fun with it and came up with what you see in the after shot, with colorful reflective columns behind the models. I considered the brand colors and vibe of the client’s other assets and finished these as a little bonus. Make sure you’re still delivering what the client is asking of you, but I’d say go ahead and have fun with it. After all, retouching can be looked at as an art form of its own, and the challenge of combining technical tools with artistic skill can be an exciting exploration.
Matt Monath is a portraiture, product, beauty, fashion, lifestyle and food photographer whose work spans both commercial and editorial markets. Commanding his bold aesthetic, he’s shot some of today’s most notable talent for iconic brands. Matt also works as a premium retoucher for products, beauty, fashion and portraiture. His work has been seen on magazine covers, on large billboards all across his native NYC, on screens at Madison Square Garden, in the social feeds of notable companies and influencers, and on the homepages of some of the most visited websites today. When he’s not in the studio, he’s adventuring and exploring with his husband. website: mattmonath.com instagram: @mattmonathphoto
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