A retoucher is responsible for touching up photographs in a way that brings out the best features of an image while reducing or eliminating any flaws or imperfections. This is often done using digital software and a computer, which gives a retoucher the ability to quickly and effectively work with a digital photograph. The actual changes made to an image usually depend on the specific nature of that image, but in general any flaws in the picture itself are removed and the subject of the image is usually made to look its best.
Also called photo retouchers, they are primarily responsible for editing and changing a photographed image to make it more ideal or perfect. This is usually done for commercial applications, though someone may request that personal photographs be retouched to fix imperfections that occurred due to poor lighting or flaws in photographic technique. Many retouchers work for photographers or magazines, providing correction on images to be used in that magazine. A freelance retoucher, however, often looks for clients in need of retouching services, such as freelance photographers and advertising agencies, as well as businesses working on their own print advertising campaigns.
The work of a retoucher often entails the use of photographic software in which a digital photograph can be opened and modified. General corrections and changes a retoucher is likely to make include overall color correction for an image, adjustments to highlights and shadows, alterations to color data such as changing from a color photograph to a black and white image, and cropping. More specific responsibilities vary depending on the type of photograph a retoucher is working with.
Glamour photography, for example, usually requires retouching to make a model look more perfect and correct any imperfections in hair or makeup. While most models found in professional photography are already quite handsome or beautiful, imperfections in the skin, stray hairs, and other problems may still be present. These are often altered through retouching to make the model appear flawless. Other adjustments made by a retoucher may simply be intended to make the photograph more vibrant and lifelike, such as enhancing the color of a model’s eyes and bringing out highlights on the lips and hair.
Retouching of wildlife photography, or commercial product photography, often centers on improving a scene or object in other ways. A photograph of an outdoor scene, for example, often contains flaws or imperfections beyond the control of a photographer, which can be corrected or removed by a retoucher. Objects used in advertising, such as cars, can also be retouched to appear more perfect and attractive to a viewer. Many advertisers have begun using completely digital models for products in an advertisement, however, to create perfect images that eliminate the need for retouching.