Retouching in photoshop

Photograph showing a lady with dark hair sweeping in front of her face - before retouching

Many people associate the term ‘retouching’ with a process of turning natural beauty into an artificial look. In other words, retouching = airbrushing. While photoshop can be used for this, the program can be a useful tool in a variety of applications. Many of these applications do not define beauty, but rather serve a specific purpose. This case study givesĀ  a better idea of how photoshop can be applied.


The Challenge

One of my clients had tasked me with the responsibility of selecting imagery for use in several marketing emails. The choice of stock photography was carefully mapped around their target audience. The product was aimed towards women from roughly 25 to 45, of all skin colours and body types.

For one of the emails, I had selected a woman closer to the end of the age range that exuded genuine joy and positivity. She was a perfect fit for our audience. When presenting the picture to the client, they agreed, but raised one issue. The hair in the face of the woman made the photograph appear messy. It took away from the overall impact of the image.



As the picture was a good fit in all other aspects, I did not feel replacing it would be the best option. Instead, I took to photoshop and replaced all areas where hair was showing. I was careful not to make the woman look too ‘polished’ – the aim was to remove hair only, not her natural wrinkles. The hair remained wavey and windswept to retain the natural look of the photograph. My main focus was to remove hair only in places where it covered her face, to show more of her facial expression. The final image was exactly what the client was looking for, and was subsequently used within their email campaign.