BOUDOIR PHOTO EDITING
In today's world, it is easy to think anything and everything can be "Photoshopped". As a boudoir photographer I do everything possible to create images that are properly exposed, free of distractions, and where my subjects are posed in positions that are flattering to their bodies. Naturally, everyone wants to look their best. There are many things we can do as professional photographers to highlight your facial and body attributes you adore and are proud of while taking attention away from the areas you might not want to showcase so prominently.
WHAT IS PHOTOSHOP?
Photoshop is a tool. Much like a chef seasons the food he prepares in a way his restaurant is known for, photographers will edit images in a way to create a signature style that makes them unique. This creates consistency, which is one of the pillars of being a professional. With that said, if the raw ingredients are subpar, no amount of seasoning will earn a Michelin star award. We do everything we can to create a perfect image in-camera; Photoshop is just the extra polish at the end.
There are features that certainly exist in Photoshop which allow us to alter reality. We can even out skin tones, remove blemishes, and even morph certain features in a way that gives the illusion of being slimmer in some areas or bigger in others depending on our desires.
On that note, there are two factors to consider.
Just because we can, does that mean we should?
Firstly, just because we can, does that mean we should? Body image dysmorphia and its effect on mental health of both men and women is something we have all heard of at this point, so I will not go into too much detail on this topic but it is very much a reality. Our bodies are beautiful the way they are and boudoir is about acceptance of ourselves, not attempting to become someone we are not.
How far do we push it?
Secondly, there are different levels of "photoshopping". These levels are:
- Minor Retouching
- Extensive Retouching
So what is the difference between editing, minor retouching, and extensive retouching? And what is included in your boudoir session experience?
All of your purchased images will be edited and receive a minor retouching treatment by default, with an option to purchase extensive retouching on any image you wish in addition to this service.
Editing covers global adjustments that correct for exposure, contrast, and color saturation to create the signature style you see throughout the portfolio.
Minor Retouching is a more detailed and precise operation that would cover delicate skin smoothing, minor blemish removal (a couple of pimples, a few stray hairs, etc), and teeth whitening. As a general rule, I do not remove birth marks or scars unless specifically requested, but I might lighten their visibility so they do not distract from the main focus of the image.
Extensive Retouching (which is billed additionally by request) includes taking care of larger blemishes such as bruises or considerable areas affected by acne, smoothing armpits, removing larger or more prominent stretch marks, neck lines, skin folds, more than 5-6 fly-away hairs per photo, or even body shape modification. We can also enhance some of your makeup, such as adding a smokey eye look or removing shine from your skin to some degree.
Each of these levels enhance and alter images to varying degrees. The time investment required for one single image to be extensively retouched can take as long as 1-2 hours depending on the work required.
You might be thinking, but how? I use an app on my phone and this takes seconds to apply a skin filter.
Technology certainly has come a long way. Apps like this do a decent job on cell phone images that are posted on social media and viewed on phones the size of our palm. The moment we start printing our images or viewing them on a larger screen, the imperfections are immediately visible. We've just ruined a Michelin star meal by overseasoning it.
EDITING IS LIKE A CAR WASH
Let's use another analogy here: car wash and detailing. You go in through the car wash and get their most basic option. It's relatively quick and gets the most visible dirt and gunk off of your car. Your car is shiny and presentable. This is editing.
Let's say you upgrade to a more premium option and have the inside vacuumed and wiped down; they'll even spray that fancy stuff on your tires to give them some shine. This is minor retouching.
Editing and minor retouching are both included in every boudoir collection offered by Blvck Fox Studio and does not cost extra.
To take it the next step further, you can have it professionally detailed, which is a much more precise and manual process requiring additional time and attention. During this process every little nook and cranny will be closely examined and carefully cleaned with special brushes and cleaners. Maybe you need the leather seats restored or a couple of scratches touched up. Whatever your unique situation requires, the extra attention to detail will be provided. This is extensive retouching.
Now, let's take a look at some visual examples below.
Example 1: RAW Photo
This photo is exactly what it looks like straight out of camera. No adjustments have been made. It is a great base, properly exposed and composed. The white balance needs some work, a bump in contrast, and a small increase in midtones and highlights will make it pop. The model has great skin, so no need for blemish removals.
Minor retouching would apply to (almost) anything under the "two week rule", meaning any blemishes that would naturally dissapear on their own in two weeks or less would be removed such as bruises or pimples.
Exceptions to this rule would be things like a poor spray tan, which I advise against in my 3 Part Boudoir Prep Guide.
In any case, there is nothing here to retouch as far as blemishes go.
Example 2: Edit
We've now applied the adjustments I described above and reached the signature style of Blvck Fox Studio. In my eyes, this image is perfect and needs no additional work. It showcases the model's natural beauty and is realistic, which is what I strive to capture and deliver to my boudoir clients at Blvck Fox Studio.
Example 3: Extensive Retouching
For demonstration purposes only, I've gone ahead and given this image the extensive retouching treatment.
Her skin has been smoothed, eye shadow applied, and the front of her tummy has been slightly flattened from protruding. Her lips are more saturated while the whites of her eyes are brightened for a glamorous look. The crease in her back behind her elbow has been removed which was not bothering anyone for the sake of illustrating what is possible. I would be willing to bet you did not even notice it previously.
To me, personally, this is too much. Your opinion may be different, and that is ok!
If this is the style of retouching you wish your images to have, I can accommodate this request for an additional fee which will vary based on your unique images.