The Magic of Retouching | Perks Of A Full-Service Studio

When it comes to editing and retouching, there are so many misconceptions, myths, and magical things that come with it. Let’s jump straight into the details and clear it all up, including surprise photo-day acne! Then I’ll show you some before & after examples of what can be achieved.

Retouching Myths Debunked

MYTH: Newborns can hold themselves up (Uh, nope!)

Babies don’t have the physical capabilities to do all of the poses you see online. Many of the ‘fancy’ poses you see in newborn photos are actually made up of one or more photos to look like they are holding up their heads by themselves, or being hung or balanced in a prop. This process is called a composite and is achieved in post-processing software, and it is done to keep baby safe at all times; it’s never worth the risk. Even for low-to-the-ground props like the one below, especially if the prop is at all wobbly, it is always safer to have a spotter.

Composite image made up from two images with the spotter’s arm, for safety. Check out the final retouched version at the bottom of the page.

MYTH: You can fix anything in photoshop

As much as I would love for this to be true, it simply isn’t. Many things like colour balance, brightness, skin blemishes or redness, etc. can absolutely be changed or ‘fixed’ in post-processing softwares like photoshop. Unfortunately, certain things like missed focus, extremely overexposed highlights (bright spots) or underexposed shadows, and cropped limbs cannot be rescued (even if a raw file). And before you go assuming a photographer can (or wants to) fix your grown-out roots, chipped manicure, or stained shirt in every photo, go fix it in real life—it will be much cheaper.

MYTH: A professional photographer can always get kids to smile at the same time for the photo

This would make my life so much easier if it were true, but unfortunately for me, no matter how good I am at getting people to smile, it’s not always the case—especially when it comes to children. Fortunately for you, swaps can be done in post-processing software on body parts to make it seem that way for one great photo made up of a couple or handful of good ones (head swaps, face swaps, etc). There are, of course, limitations to the process in that the images must be very similar (almost identical is best) for it to work.

MYTH: Retouching a photo only takes a few minutes

Contrary to what many may think, retouching takes much longer than a click of a button to apply an action or preset because there is much more involved than just changing a few things. Especially for a professional portrait session, during the retouching process the photographer does many things: corrects the white balance (sometimes on specific things), tweaks the brightness of certain areas of the photo, removes any distractions from the background that couldn’t be done in person, fixes skin blemishes and discoloration or redness, enhances and sharpens the important details, and adds their own artistic flair (that’s why it’s so important to pick someone based on style!). Each one of those tasks takes at least a few minutes, and for pros who hand-edit every single image, that adds up to several hours for a full session. Even longer if head swaps or composites are involved!

Example of an advanced composite image made up from two separate images (one with the baby and prop, and the other with an elaborate prop + florals setup) to show the possibilities of what CAN be achieved with proper planning and advanced post-processing skills.

The Magic of Retouching

Every session is different, especially with newborns, and requires a different amount of retouching depending on the baby’s skin (acne, jaundice, etc.), prop and setup choices, how well the prep guide was followed, and sometimes parents request removal of skin flakes, stork bites, etc. Here are a few examples of some images before and after the retouching process:

As a full-service studio, most advanced retouching is included with every art piece (that someone would need for a family or newborn portrait session like composites, head swaps, etc.). The only time it is extra when something that should have been fixed in person prior to the session such as changing the colour of someone’s shirt in every image (all part of the detailed prep guide clients receive before their session) or if it needs to be rushed (and likely outsourced).

If you have any questions about the retouching or booking process, reach out to or use the contact page to send a message and I would be happy to elaborate.

Family Portrait Artist: Pregnancy, Baby’s First Year & Beyond
(613) 371 – 4594 |

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