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The body retouch

Remodeling the forms of the body is the first step of the photo retouching process, in order to adjust the shape and curves of the body, and thus remove a possible overweight or accentuate some strengths. The photo retoucher will start by working on the silhouette curves in order to refine or expand the overall outlook, to remove a few pounds or even add sometimes, and to harden the butt or to back of the belly, among other things.

Then the retoucher will reshape more in detail each part of the body, in order to finely to reveal the subtle details that let us guess the muscles hidden behind the fat. The fat and the lack of muscle are actually the two main targets of this stage of the retouching process. While a too muscular body may seem unsightly for a female body, a slight musculature remains an essential element of a beautiful body in good health.

The under-development of the muscles will lead to a distension of the skin and the forms : butt and breasts fall out, legs and the arms are get more round, body get increasingly subject to the laws of gravitation. Therefore, the photo retoucher shall have perfect knowledge of the human muscular anatomy, and in particular, of the very slight details of the women musculature.

The skin retouch

Clean the skin disorders and soften the derma while remaining natural and invisible, such is one of the great challenges for a retouch artist. As there is no universal technique, each retoucher will have to develop his own technique, which explains why the rendering of a retouched skin can differ so much between one retoucher and another.

Many software can be found for smoothing or softening the skin automatically, those software are so democratized that they are even integrated within our mobile phones. But a precautious photo retoucher will never use this kind of software, not only because of their quality, but because they don't lead to a bespoke editing : it is the software that decides what it is necessary to edit and how to edit it, not the retouch artist.

Here the technician is gonna delete by hand, if necessary, all traces of acne, scars and other stains, but also any unwanted tattoos, derma marks, piercings traces and other wrinkles. Then he will work on global textures such as the cellulite, fat and other marks of aging. Finally, the retoucher will adjust the skin tones and correct any pigmentation problems or other marks of tanning.

The style retouch

The style can sometimes play a very important role, by highlighting the photo and therefore the model. In conventional photography we called it the photo development. We used to go to a laboratory with our negative rolls, and came back a few days later to retrieve the developed film and the corrected printed photos.

The development consists of transforming a negative film into a positive image. In digital photography is quite similar. The sensor of a digital camera actually captures not an image but a sequence of data like a negative film, which has to be decoded by a software in order to get an image, according to some determined parameters. While any camera will automatically develop the photos, a professional photographer will prefer to handle that step manually with his own preferences, rather than letting the camera doing it blindly.

The development will consist of a global adjustment of the lights, shadows, dynamics and contrasts of the photograph, as well as the hues and saturation of each color. Such was the work of a photo developer at the analog photography time, and such is still the job of a retouch artist in the digital era, to match at maximum to the style and preferences of a photographer.

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