Adjusting vs. Retouching
There’s a difference between the images that come out of the camera and the ones that I deliver to a client. Straight off the memory card the images are flat and lack punch. A lot of times I need to fine tune exposure (sometimes it’s more than a fine tuning). When I deliver digital images on a disc to a couple they are adjusted for exposure and contrast and if that couple were to get those pictures printed at a local lab the pictures would look awesome but when I deliver a print or an album I take it one step further. Since prints and albums are finished products I make further adjustments to take the size of print and paper/ink/printer combination into account. That probably involves steps like noise reduction and sharpening, but it may also involve steps like skin smoothing and blemish removal. Below is an example of a fully retouched portrait versus the same image with exposure adjustments.
The final image.
The original image before retouching but after being adjusted.
In the image below the original camera image was flat, under exposed and there were some distracting elements in the background. A few quick adjustments and a trip through Photoshop makes a world of difference.
Underexposed image fom the camera, after adjustments and the final image with the distracting background elements removed.
Of course not every image requires extensive retouching. In the image below I made some contrast adjustments and converted to black and white. If I were to print that image the only further enhancements I would make would be to make adjustments for the specific printing conditions so that it would be the best possible print.
Not all images need retouching, the image on the left is out of the camera and the the right is after exposure and contrast adjustments converted to black and white.