Photo retouching happens in all types of industries.
It is not just about making people look better and cleaning up and restoring old photos. Property developers often use property retouching techniques to finish a property or show what the development may look like when its completed. They may wish to de-clutter a driveway or patio or place grass over a rubble filled garden. Even the interiors of houses get the interior retouching treatment too to show off the design and internal architecture to its best
Below are some examples of the type of retouching that is carried out.
Driveways can be cleaned and grass digitally planted where the once was builders rubble. Patio pots moved or removed, shadows corrected or lightened, wall finished or cars removed. The list is long but essentially its all photo retouching. Digital images allow many adjustments and changes to be made if those images meet some essential criteria.
Good retouching relies on good images. For a retouch to work well here are some points to consider. The image must be:
- High resolution, sharp and well focused
- Contain a good tonal range
- Low file compression
High resolution, sharp and well focused.
Retouching images with low resolution does not work well. In order for details of the image to be used again or transplanted from one area to another the image needs to contain many pixels. Too few and the details that are pushed around become a mess of blocks or pixels. The details cannot be matched in well and realism is lost.
If the image is not sharp or out of focus, aligning details can be made tricky. Areas that are out of focus cannot be used to patch, focused areas, the details will not match and the image look wrong in every way.
Contain a good tonal range
If an image contains too much contrast and too much brightness, details within those areas can be lost. If there are no details to use to improve the photo, the retouch will be impossible. An example could be where a fountain is shot against a light background and the camera has exposed for the foreground. Recovering the detail in the highlights will not be possible if there is no detail to recover. If the photographer is taking *RAW (explanation at bottom of post) photos these may be sued to help recover lost details.
Low file compression
Images that contain too much file compression have details that are smeared and as we know we need those details. Professional photographers know this very well but with cameras having so many settings, not all of us can remember everything. Check the quality setting on your camera, resolution may be set high but the quality also needs to high. Quality often translates to file compression. The better quality the less file compression and when it comes to file compression, less is more!
* RAW – details from Wikipedia
“A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital camera, image scanner, or motion picture film scanner. Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor. Normally, the image is processed by a raw converter in a wide-gamut internal colourspace where precise adjustments can be made before conversion to a “positive” file format such as TIFF or JPEG for storage, printing, or further manipulation, which often encodes the image in a device-dependent colourspace. There are dozens if not hundreds of raw formats in use by different models of digital equipment (like cameras or film scanners).
Raw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as negatives in film photography: that is, the negative is not directly usable as an image, but has all of the information needed to create an image. Likewise, the process of converting a raw image file into a viewable format is sometimes called developing a raw image, by analogy with the film development process used to convert photographic film into viewable prints. The selection of the final choice of image rendering is part of the process of white balancing and color grading.
Like a photographic negative, a raw digital image may have a wider dynamic range or color gamut than the eventual final image format, and it preserves most of the information of the captured image. The purpose of raw image formats is to save, with minimum loss of information, data obtained from the sensor, and the conditions surrounding the capturing of the image (the metadata).”