WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RETOUCHED IMAGES AND TONED IMAGES?
I’ve been getting this question a lot lately, and I’m not surprised as a lot of photographers use these terms interchangeably. So I wanted to take a minute to clear it up and help you understand what I mean when I use them. Every photographer prides themselves in being able to provide a certain kind of visual standard in their images. The process of taking a series of images into a program such as Lightroom, Photoshop, CaptureOne or similar and creating an overall synchronized aesthetic is what I refer to as Color Toning. Different photographers may use different terminology, but in the end it all boils down to the same process. We find the colors that make your images sing and then apply those colors to all of the photos that were taken within the same lighting conditions. This process will occur many times over for images taken in different lighting scenarios, different locations, and even if we just want to give certain images a different feel. Ultimately, this is where the “vibe” of the image comes from. While toning is definitely part of a retouching workflow, it only gets us part of the way to a retouched image.
WHAT MAKES RETOUCHING DIFFERENT?
Retouching is a meticulous, detail-oriented process that makes an image the best it can be, drawing attention to the most important elements within a photograph and removing distractions. This is where skin tones are perfected, structural contouring is applied or removed, skylines are changed, color casts are created or altered, unwanted items are carefully removed, along with many more changes which would simply be too complex to write into one article. Retouching a photo can take anywhere from hours to days, because every little detail is accounted for and uniquely important. The following images will help give you a better understanding of toning vs. retouching and what we are looking at with each.
While this photo has beautiful colors and is well composed, the background and color casts distract from the bride. There are also several items that need to be removed, such as bark on the patio and stains on the pillars.
For certain images it can be crucial to spend a lot of time evening out skin tones, removing blemishes and making a portrait more dramatic. This can only be achieved in a retouching workflow.
There are also times that you just need to make your subject stand out more and add depth to an image.
As you can see, both toning and retouching are incredibly important to achieve the best images possible, and we are proud to be able to offer high-end retouching services to brides in our Essentials Package.