What Is Photo Retouching And Why You Need It (With Before & After Examples)


Did you know that almost 70% of adults edit photos before posting them online? Nowadays, almost every single mobile phone is capable of not only taking photos but also editing them. But, of course, none of the mobile phone photo editing software can compare to the professional editing services, where the specialist photo retouchers take care of your images.

So, what is photo retouching and why do you need it?

Photo Retouching VS. Editing VS. Enhancing VS. Airbrushing VS. Post Production / Post Processing

When talking about photography, terms like ‘photo retouching’, ‘photo editing’, ‘airbrushing’ and ‘post-production’ often get confused. Even though all of these terms are related to image manipulation, some photographers use them meaning the same thing, while others differentiate them. We’ve decided to dig a bit deeper and explain the difference between these expressions in order to make it easier to understand what outcome you should expect from your photography or photo retouching service.

Photo Retouching means the elimination of all the imperfections from a photo, which usually includes colour and tone correction, blemishes and under-eye circles removal, change of brightness, contrast and saturation. Apart from it, the photo retouching process sometimes also involves airbrushing, which means removing certain elements from the background or adding the elements that initially weren’t in the photo.

Photo Editing is the basic adjustment of the photos where images are getting cropped or having the exposure or colour temperature corrected. Please note that the term ‘photo editing’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘photo retouching. Moreover, some of the photographers state that editing is the process of filtering out the raw files from the photo session and narrowing down the gallery to the best images.

Photo Enhancing usually means improving the overall style and look of the image. For example, changing the colour scheme (to black and white), toning or vignetting. Usually, enhancing is done after the retouching in order to make all of the images from the event create a certain mood or feel and make sure the colours are consistent within the gallery. 

Post Production / Post Processing is basically all of the above. It includes performing any changes in the photos after taking them. 

Please note that the meaning of each type of post-production services can vary from one specialist to another. Therefore, you would need to consult with your photography or retouching company to find out what changes exactly will be made on your photos.

For example, at Splento we offer 2 types of retouching: Standard and Premium.

While the Standard retouching takes our specialists about 5 minutes per photo, the Premium one can take up to 5 hours per one single photo.

Our Standard Retouching costs only £0.49 per photo and includes activities like:

  • Colour and tone correction.
  • Brightness, contrast and saturation changing.
  • Small blemishes removal.
  • Vignetting and toning (per request).

Here are some ‘Before & After’ examples of our Standard retouching:


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On the other hand, Premium retouching takes much more time, effort and attention to every single detail in the photo in order to make it look like a magazine cover. Our Premium Package includes everything the Standard Package consists of, plus:

  • Removal of unwanted objects.
  • Teeth whitening.
  • Hair retouching.
  • Sharpening.
  • Photomontage (replacement and/or extension of the background, change of clothes, hair or eyes colour – according to the client’s brief).

Our Premium retouching is perfect for editorial, fashion, beauty and product photography. Here are some examples  of such ‘Before & After’ images:

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Learn more about our packages and view more ‘Before & After’ images here

So, apart from getting beautiful pictures, what are the main benefits of photo retouching?

  1. Great photos sell. Almost 70% of the consumers claim that the overall quality of a product photo is ‘extremely important’. Think of the mouth-watering pictures of restaurant dishes or high-quality photos of the real estate for sale.
  2. Building a reputation. Your website and social media will be evaluated by your potential partners and customers, therefore, using your unique professional photos instead of stock images will contribute to building credibility and support towards your brand.
  3. Standing out from the competition. Photo retouching could help you establish an authentic style for your company’s visual content, that will help you distinguish your brand from your competitors.
  4. Social Media Marketing. Your target audience is much more likely to engage with high-quality images rather than low-resolution ones. Professionally taken and retouched photos are extremely shareable and will help you grow the number of your followers on social.
  5. Printed marketing materials. TheThe majority of sales representatives use printed materials like flyers, tri fold brochure design and catalogues at the meetings with the potential customers. Therefore, it is imperative that you only use professionally edited photos that look appealing to your target audience.

Who will benefit from Photo Retouching?

The short answer would be: ‘everyone’. Though some people and businesses would find professional photo retouching services particularly useful:

  • Brands.
  • SMBs.
  • Bloggers & Influencers.
  • PR & Marketing Agencies.
  • Event & Conference Managers.
  • Photographers looking to outsource retouching services.
  • People looking for a new job.
  • Graduates looking for their first job.
  • Parents and parents-to-be.
  • And many others.

Are you still considering photo retouching? Please contact Splento if you have any questions regarding our photo retouching packages or if you would like to book a photo session.

Contact Splento if you are in need of:

Event Photography and Videography

Professional Headshots

eCommerce Photography and Videography

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