What to Expect From My Portrait Retouching | Columbus Senior Photographer

Most of my high school senior clients ask if I’m able to clean up their skin in portrait retouching. And the answer is always, “Yes. Of course!”


I actually include basic retouching for every client, whether requested or not, as a complimentary service. I do more of a “polishing” of each image, so the results are subtle while still keeping the integrity of the client intact.


So if you’re planning a session with me or are just curious about what’s included in the retouching process, this post should answer some of those burning questions. And you’ll see side-by-side examples of my editing, so you’ll know what to expect.



After My Portrait Retouching

Before My Portrait Retouching
Before My Portrait Retouching



What I Include In Portrait Retouching


I always clean up three key areas during the portrait retouching process. Those are skin, eyes, and distractions. Beyond that, I’ll edit as necessary to please the client.


I aim to keep retouching subtle and natural, so the client still looks like themselves but the version we all see on their best day!



portrait retouching of high school senior photo


1. Skin


It’s important to me to maintain integrity in skin tones and texture. I remove things that are temporary blemishes, like acne or bruises. But for permanent scars, moles, or birthmarks, I ask the client specifically what level of retouching they want.


Skin Retouching Includes:

Blemish Removal

Skin Tone Balancing

Oil and Shine Removal

Skin Softening (lightly, as needed)

Skin Brightening (as needed)



portrait retouching of high school senior photo
Subtle is key! I smoothed out her skin a little, and that's it!


Right photo is the final edit. I polished up skin tones, a small bruise on her arm, and cleaned up my reflector in the bottom left corner.




2. Eyes


Since eyes are the focal point of a portrait, I always do some retouching to make them pop!


This includes a bit of sharpening and brightening of the eyes. Occasionally, I’ll also brighten up under the eyes and the T-zone. Like all of my editing, this is a very subtle process.


Eye Retouching Includes:

Sharpening eyelashes

Brightening of eyes

Brightening under the eyes

Lightening around the eye socket and bridge of the nose (T–Zone)



portrait retouching process of columbus ohio senior
I brighted up eyes, T-Zone, and smoothed out skin blemishes in this photo. Right photo is final edit.