I was giving my two cents in a forum for retouchers showcasing their work who were looking for feedback when I saw that someone created a thread questioning the morality of retouchers who post the before images (the original image as shot by the photographer without any revisions) of their work. There were mixed views of course.

I stand on the side of: No it isn’t immoral.

How can one expect to showcase the depth of their capabilities to a client if they do not display the before images? Points were made that it shows the flaws of the model/client and in some cases the flaws of the photographer. This is indeed true, but that is also the basis of the reason why the retoucher’s position exists. In post-production, the retoucher cleans the image and adds the finishing gloss. The only way we can properly showcase our capabilities is by giving the example of what the image looked like prior to us touching it.

Scenario: A retoucher has a port of beautiful high-end post-work images. A new client sees their portfolio and is elated; this is the quality level retouching they’ve been seeking. When they ask the retoucher for before and after samples, they discover the retoucher’s before images show that the retoucher only really had to clean up mild skin blemishes and the retoucher really played no part in making the images so outstanding. The client has just wasted their time.

If the before images in the previous scenario were on display, the client and the retoucher would have both saved time and avoided disappointed.

Just more of my two cents 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *