Photographer’s notes for professional headshot retouching
Retouching is the post-process enhancement of a photo after basic editing. That is anything beyond color balance, exposure, and global stylistic choices.

My portrait and headshot retouching philosophy

Retouching is an essential part of my photography process. And I take pride in giving clients an elevated image with a professional polish that they can be proud of.

My goal is to keep you looking like your natural self on your best day. To achieve this, I prefer to do as little retouching as possible after the photos are taken.

Therefore, if you have any concerns about your appearance, let me know ahead of time. This allows me to prepare better or even choose different photo session approach.

Unretouched professional studio headshotprofessional studio headshot edited in Photoshop

Un-retouched (left) vs basic retouched and color corrected (right) professional business headshot.

What is included in basic headshot retouching?

While there is some fluctuation depending on the person and their specific needs, my retouching process addresses:

Skin tone and color

  • Boost color in pale skin
  • Balance dark/bright areas and skin color


  • Removal of temporary things such as blemishes, pimples or small cuts
  • Softening of some permanent items


  • Removal of minor debris like stray hairs, dandruff, lint fuzz*
Example of unedited and un-retouched headshotbasic headshot retouching example

Un-edited (left) vs basic retouched (right) professional actor’s headshot.


  • Remove and soften flyaway hair
  • Even out hair’s the overall shape and fill in small gaps


  • Ease fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles around the eyes
  • Overall brighten the eyes and catchlights


  • Usually reduced and balanced with other features**


  • Mildly lighten and lessen yellowing

*Basic retouch does not include wrinkles and dirty clothes retouching. It is important to check wear well-fitting clothes and check for debris beforehand.
**Basic retouching does not include remove wrinkles or otherwise try to take years off your look.

Keep in mind, the more retouching that needs to be done, the more likely the photo will have an “overly photoshopped” look. Therefore, it’s crucial to take care of yourself before the shoot to ensure you are picture ready. I go into detail on how to prepare for your portrait or headshot photo session here.