Skip to Main Content

The Art of Retouching Headshots Part Two

The Elephant In The Room

Before continuing with The Art of Retouching Headshots Part Two, I wish to first address the two-ton elephant in the room. The pachyderm I speak of is the prevalent misconception that exists within our communities as to what constitutes the art of retouching and its necessity.

A week does not go by without someone telling me that either a friend or family member is a “professional photographer” and they can “do retouching on their own.” I have yet to speak with a photographer who has not experienced this firsthand. It’s hard to know what to say – well, at least it is for me.

I’ve given up asking about the qualifications of the “professional photographer” of which they speak. The narrative is invariably the same – something about how they love photography and are really good with outdoor photos of kids/family. They come to me for headshots because “they don’t do all that studio lighting” – not realizing the very essences of photo-graphy is writing with light

As we are all too well acquainted, anyone with a few extra bucks can subscribe to Photoshop and can begin manipulating pixels. In fact, an ever-increasing segment of the American population is doing exactly that. 

The Elephant In The Room
The Art of Retouching Headshot Part Two – If all it takes to be a professional are tools, even an elephant can boast that it’s a Professional Photographer

Regardless, when these same people are asked if the mere ownership of a scalpel makes them a surgeon, they answer decidedly in the negative. They also recognize that toting a hammer does not make them a master carpenter, nor buying the finest cookware magically transforms them into a chef. But owning a Camera/Photoshop/Wacom Tablet? Voila! They’re miraculously transformed into a professional photographer!


The Art of Retouching Headshots Part Two: “The Elephant In The Room

The Art of Retouching Headshots | Part One – PREVAILING PERSPECTIVE
The Art of Retouching Headshots | Part Three – IT’S ONLY NATURAL
The Art of Retouching Headshots | Part Four – CONVERSATIONAL RETOUCHING

This misunderstanding of what makes for a professional photographer is key to understanding what’s worsening the confusion as to what establishes bonafide retouching. There are two primary causes:

  1. The general public is unaware that an “Art of Retouching” actually exists, and that it requires extensive study, talent and dedication to master it.
  2. The level of respect afforded the “profession” of photography, which is instinctively conferred upon a host of other professional services, is profoundly lacking for those who’ve earned the title “photographer.”

To wit, the most common remarks voiced by clients are variations of the following:

  • I don’t need retouching – I want to look natural.
  • I want very light retouching – I want to look natural.
  • I don’t want your best level of retouching – I want to look natural.

Do you see the pattern developing here? Everyone want’s to “look natural” – naturally! Appropriately so. After all, who wants to look UNnatural? Not me. Nor do my clients.

Wonderful, at least we are ALL on the same page. More on what “natural” looks like and how we might educate our clients in Part Three and Part Four (here’s Part One, just in case.)

So ends The Art of Retouching Headshots Part Two. Next up is Part Three: why the phrase, “It’s Only Natural,” is anything but natural when it comes to professional headshot photography.

Should you have ANY questions regarding any aspect of The Art of Retouching Headshots Part Two, please know that no concern is too small.

Mark Jordan

Master of Photography
Photographic Craftsman
International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum
EPCOT Center World’s Greatest Photography Award
Family Portrait of Excellence & Dedication Award
International Loan Collection Award – 11 Time Recipient
Portrait Photographer of Excellence Award – America, Norway & Germany
Orange County Photographer of the Year
American Society of Photographers

The Art of Retouching Headshots Part Two

Orange County Headshots Photographer, Mark Jordan, is internationally recognized, and serves all of Southern California, including San Diego County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire.

For over three decades Orange County Headshots has served and created professional headshots for the cities of Aliso Viejo, CA | Anaheim, CA | Brea, CA | Buena Park, CA | Corona del Mar, CA | Costa Mesa, CA | Coto de Caza, CA | Cypress, CA | Dana Point, CA | Dove Canyon, CA | Fountain Valley, CA | Fullerton, CA | Garden Grove, CA | Foothill Ranch, CA | Huntington Beach, CA | Irvine, Ladera Ranch, CA | Laguna Beach, CA | Laguna Hills, CA | Laguna Niguel, CA | Laguna Woods, CA | Lake Forest, CA | Los Alamitos, CA | Mission Viejo, CA | Newport Beach, CA | Orange, Placentia, CA | Rancho Mission Viejo, CA | Rancho Santa Margarita, CA | Robinson Ranch, CA | San Clemente, CA | San Juan Capistrano, CA | Santa Ana, CA | Seal Beach, CA | Shady Canyon, CA | Trabuco Canyon, CA | Turtle Rock, CA | Tustin, CA | Tustin Ranch, CA | Villa Park, CA | Westminster, CA | Rancho Mission Viejo, CA | Yorba Linda, CA

Contact Us Today

When looking for an Orange County Headshots Photographer, please call 949-713-4050 or complete our online request form.