In some scenarios, photo edits and retouching work in tandem, creating an effect that can be helpful for a piece’s overall visual clarity. In other areas, they can have completely opposite effects that can actually make a piece look “ugly.”
To help you decide who has the most power in an edit’s production, we have broken down the differences between a photo editor and a retoucher.
How should one determine whether they are an experienced photo editor or a retoucher?
Before entering the industry, do you think it’s a good idea to buy a photo editing suite? No, it’s not, unless you’re a student and want to improve your photos.
If you think about it, all editing suites are created for a specific purpose and one of those tasks is developing a visual representation for the viewer.
However, in the industry, each of the editing tools has a particular purpose and is usually only used for specific situations. For example, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements are all excellent tools, as well as Premiere Pro, After Effects and Corel Painter.
If you’re serious about becoming good at photo editing, you shouldn’t be worried about spending hundreds for a suite or paying a professional to work on your photo sets or projects. The cost of using an editor like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or Photoshop Elements is not an acceptable risk in our industry.
If you’re not a student or have a great editor but want to improve your skills, you can start by investing in a small, high-quality photo editing program. You’ll be surprised at the time, effort, and quality difference that you can make.
If you want to make video, though, the answer is no. There are plenty of great tools out there, just not built for video editing.
What’s the advantage of working with a retoucher over a photo editor?
Before I went freelance, I worked in a corporate environment that had many photo editors. In that environment, one of them had a great reputation but was not very good at working efficiently and consistently. I was one of the few who didn’t trust him and didn’t rely on him to be able to do a good job.
Once I started working freelance with a good retoucher, the amount of time and effort they were willing to put into an edit was significantly more impressive than their photos.
The biggest advantage I saw was that retouchers
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