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Retouching

When I started in photography, retouchers were true artists who worked directly on film negatives, transparencies, or prints with brush and pigment. They applied their skills in a variety of ways. Some worked on assembly lines, improving the complexions in millions of high school senior portraits with a few deft dabs. Others were involved in more painstaking efforts, laboriously restoring treasured family photos or perfecting a high-ticket portrait. The most skilled artisans were employed in advertising, using both retouching and compositing skills (described next) to turn a product or fashion photo into a marketing masterpiece. Today, Photoshop enables those with artistic sentiments who lack an artist’s physical skills the ability to retouch images. Even the most ham-fisted among us can remove or disguise blemishes, touch up dust spots, repair scratches, and perform many tasks that were once totally within the purview of the retouching artist.


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