Image Manipulation. The best retouching is sometimes an art, but it can go too far.

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January 9, 2012

This Photographic retouch took about 16 hours @ £100 ph, it is about as high a quality of professional retouching as you can get, not just because the work goes down to pore and fabric level, not just that the original image file was of huge pixel quality, but also because there are a million wrong choices and alternative directions that can be followed by even a highly skilled retoucher, most of which end in something that looks far too fake or just weird, getting it right in each case, is where the expertise lays.


This was a make or break shot for Ministry of Sound – Fantazia album cover, the model is the sexy sister of their bosses girlfriend, but she has to pass muster with the best looking girls on magazine covers and TV adverts. A little computer is used in almost every shot we do, the most important thing normally is it should be impossible to tell what is changed. Take a look at this image and try to figure out what looks unreal.




Here is the raw shot… maybe a bridge too far… but fantastic work and great fun to do.



  1. Leo says:

    I’m a big fan of MofS….At least back in the days. 🙂
    Haven’t gotten a chance to check out their new stuff.
    If I may…
    Change the pink heels to red, and add a touch of spark to the glitter on the shoes. All else is done rather well.
    *Smirk adjusted
    *Legs tampered
    *Slight tummy tuck
    *Slight nose job
    *Breast slight boost and perk
    *nail color, Fingers flare and thumb
    *blemish + skin tones

    Oddly enough I think she looks “better”/more of a person in the original, but I know we do this for all the mags.

    16hrs? A bit long unless it was a: Do X, submit, revise, repeat basis. 🙂

    • Shooter One says:

      16 hrs! it was two full days, but it was a huge file and they used these as massive 18feet high prints in clubs so the changes had to work right down to fabric level the detail in this retouch is unbelievable. We tried the shoes red as well, but it made her tan look too fake and she just seemed to loose that little tiny bit of “class” she seemed to have gathered…

      • Leo says:

        Makes perfect sense what you say….Well, Ok, did you try the shoes white/creme etc to try and work with fethers 🙂 Maybe its this thing I have with pink, and how all fem kids have to have pink, HA!

        It actually looks really nice. well done. Yes with these large files and output to proof…oofff, hope you were able to make some profit worthwhile…..Cheers!

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