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What Do Digital Retouchers Do?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 26 July 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Digital retouchers edit photos using computer software, either to correct imperfections or make stylistic changes. Retouching photos is a common practice for advertising companies, as well as fashion magazines or really any type of publication in which photos are used. Digital retouchers make subtle changes to the digital file, ideally ones that are unnoticeable afterward, but simply improve the look of the photo. Usually this refers to small changes, such as removing red eye or removing a blemish from someone's face, but larger changes may be made to the photo as well, such as adjusting the light or changing the color tones.

The photo retouching process allows digital retouchers to manipulate the photo so that it looks the best it possibly can, as well as fit into the specific parameters required by the advertisement or magazine. For instance, in some photos the background will need to be altered or removed, or the photo will need to be resized to fit into a specific area. Digital files make this process much easier and more possible than it was with images shot on film, which would then need to be scanned into a computer for digital retouching.

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It is necessary for digital retouchers to use photo editing software for this process. There are a number of different types of photo editing and graphic design software available, much of it with very extensive capabilities. There are also now plenty of options for home use as well; it is not necessary to be a professional digital photo retoucher to make some quick adjustments to family snapshots, for example. Retouches such as removing red eye or removing a blemish from someone's skin is relatively simple, but some retouchers use photo editing software to make more significant changes to the image. For instance, some women's magazines have drawn criticism in the past for retouching photos to make a model appear thinner.

Actors and actresses who require headshots will often hire a digital retoucher to make their casting photos look as professional and impressive as possible. Digital retouchers do not just work with photos of people, however. Retouching a photo to change the appearance of the light, to highlight a specific area, or to change the tones are common practices as well. This can include making the colors of a picture appear warmer or cooler, to make the photo black and white, or to adjust the colors in certain areas.

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