Since the world of photography went digital the image manipulation and retouching tool of choice has been Adobe’s ubiquitous Photoshop.

A lot of my clients mention the phrase airbrushing which is a throwback to the days of film when prints were retouched using an artist’s airbrush. Now it is all achieved via Photoshop and a mouse.

Photoshop is a really useful and sophisticated App but when it comes to wedding photography it’s very easy to over-do. Over ‘Photoshopping’ can look fake and skin can look ‘plastic’. There’s a big difference between removing the occasional spot and softening a wrinkle and, at the other extreme, making the skin look like that of a Barbie Doll.

I love the line by the writer Clive James “you can’t remove the signs of age without destroying the signs of life”. He was referring to cosmetic surgery but the sentiment is just as applicable to retouching.

Retouching is like make-up; less is often more. Just because the tools are there it doesn’t mean they all have to come out of the toolbox.

I rarely need to retouch the bride’s skin as more often than not a good make-up artist will have concealed any blemishes. Most of the work I do with Photoshop involves tidying up a scene. For instance removing fire exit signs, a footprint from the bride’s dress or perhaps the odd stray hair.

The image above is a good example; here I have ‘tidied up’ the pathway and removed the distracting children’s play area from the background.