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Chapter 6. Simple Retouching Techniques > Photographic Techniques for Retouchin...

Photographic Techniques for Retouching

One of my favorite analogies involves philosopher/martial arts choreographer Bruce Lee’s concept of the “art of fighting without fighting.” Some of the most sophisticated “retouching” techniques involve taking the time to avoid the need for retouching in the first place. Of course, hindsight makes it easy to say that, if you’d taken your photo right, you wouldn’t need to retouch. In fact, you’ll probably get comments like that from every smart aleck who learns how much time you spent fixing up a particular photograph. What the wise folks don’t realize is that the mistakes are already made, and the effort is worth it to come up with the finished product.

That being said, I’m going to provide some tips on the art of retouching without retouching. Sometimes, having a few of the often-broken rules spelled out for you can be enough to keep them closer to the forefront of your mind when you take your photos. For example, I was a professional photographer for more years than I deserved, with my photos used in newspapers, magazines, television ads, wedding albums, and so forth, ad nauseum. The only advantage my experience gives me when I set out to take photos at my daughter’s soccer games or on family vacations is that when I, predictably, take a real clunker of a photograph, I can usually provide a detailed technical description of the terrible goof I made.


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