What is this “retouching” thing?

Technically, it means photo manipulation for image restoration or enhancement.  Images are often edited and manipulated for marketing purposes and that’s why photo retouching has become a common practice in newspapers and magazines.

What kind of equipment do you use?

If you’re worried about color representation, you have no reason to. I’m using an Eizo monitor, calibrated with Datacolor Spyder 4 Professional, so I have a great coverage and accuracy when it comes down to working with different color profiles for print or web usage. Each stroke is made on a Wacom Intuos graphic tablet.

What needs retouching?

Just about everything. There’s no such thing as perfect picture. To get the best image possible, post-processing and retouching are essential parts of the process.

These services include the adjustment of colors/contrast/white balance (or gradational retouching), the adjustment of sharpness, the removal of excess elements or visible flaws, cosmetic retouching, image airbrushing (including wrinkle removal), photo slimming, photo restoration, profile picture enhancement, hair-color changes, re-sizes, photo manipulation, glitz retouching, cut outs, straightening and many more photographic improvements.

The devil is always in the details. You can get an idea about how many details there are by reviewing the Work page on this website. If you don’t know what your image needs, don’t worry. Part of my job is to offer suggestions.

Photos from magazines don’t look real

Lena Dunham, the creator, writer and star of the HBO series “Girls”, was one time accused of “altered image” after her face appeared on the cover of Vogue US. She replied:

“A fashion magazine is like a beautiful fantasy. Vogue isn’t the place that we go to look at realistic women. Vogue is the place that we go to look at beautiful clothes and fancy places and escapism and so I feel like if the story reflects me and I happen to be wearing a beautiful Prada dress and be surrounded by beautiful men and dogs, what’s the problem? If they want to see what I really look like go watch the show that I make every single week.”

This is the truth and couldn’t have been said any better. The keyword from her statement is “escapism”. It doesn’t matter how hard people argue – if given the chance, they won’t buy fancy magazines to look at unretouched images like these (Beyonce) or like these (Cindy Crawford).

Also, if you think that photo retouching is a totally new age thing, that’s not the case at all. Our dreams of flawless classic film stars may be shattered, but the truth is that images were altered way before Photoshop was released. Here is a retouched image from 1930 and according to Wall Street Journal – “the earliest and most rudimentary alteration to be found in the exhibit, is dating to around 1846”.

What do you think about using skin plugins?

I strongly recommend not using them. When a skin plugin is used, its job is to blur out the image (using a mathematical algorithm) with the purpose of making it look smoother, but blurry has never been and will never be a style. You shouldn’t like the idea that an algorithm will decide the look of the skin.

The main reason why skin plugins are bad is because their functions are based on selective bluring of intermedian frequencies and some details contained in those intermedian frequencies are essential for a good looking image. When a plugin is used, you have no control over the frequencies because the process is automated. On the other hand, when the work is done manually, every stroke is decided by the human’s extremely intelligent (relative to what we know) brain and this cannot be compared with the fist method.

I know, skin plugins work much faster, but keep in mind that for a trained eye the results will look cheap. If your intention is to get results good enough for Facebook, then plugins may do the job, but if you plan to grow as a professional, just forget about them.

How do we get in touch?

Simply use the contact page to drop me a line and we’ll take it from there. If you’re contacting me for Post-Production or Retouching work, it may be a good idea to be as detailed as possible and include information such as timeline, budget and design/technical requirements.

Please notice that I only work directly with photographers/agencies. If you are a model or makeup artist, please have your photographer contact me.

What’ll it cost?

There’s no such thing as universal price for every photo.  Basic Retouch (like remove bumps and/or major wrinkles, remove any unwanted shininess, enhance eyes/mouth and definitions, eliminate any fly-aways, whiten teeth, fix color on roots etc) has a price and Advanced Retouch (like digital surgery, background changes, digital makeup etc) has another price. That’s why it’s important to send me a sample so I can give you a fair quote. In any case, you’ll know the cost beforehand. No surprises.

If you hire me to do the job of a retoucher, I will charge you accordingly. If you hire me to do the job of a retoucher, a makeup artist, a hair stylist and so on, again, I will charge you accordingly. A retoucher’s job is not to finish the sloppy work of the rest of the professionals involved in a production. It’s to provide what was impossible for the other professionals to achieve.

Do you match prices?

The answer is no. Post-production isn’t a commodity. “A commodity is anything which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation. In other words, sugar is sugar and coal is coal. Stereos, on the other hand, have many levels of quality and points of differentiation, hence, the better a stereo is, the more it will cost.” — Wikipedia. By matching prices, I would have to cut corners in order to meet the price and that would take away from getting you the best results.

How do I pay for your services?

There are two ways, but Paypal is the most chosen one due to its lower fees. When the job is done, I’ll email you a payment request – this will include a link where you can pay. If you’re not familiar with Paypal transactions, you can choose to pay via Bank Transfer.

Partial client list

Over the years I had the pleasure to do retouching and post-production work for Brands like: Maybelline New York, Cartier, Armani, Chanel, Calvin Klein, L’Oreal, Gucci, Karen Millen, Lacoste, Samsung, Tiffany & Co, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton and Magazines like: Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveler, Tantalum, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel, Flare, Marie Claire, Savoir Flair and Esquire.

© 2012-2017 Andrei Ivascu