When we consider retouching on a photograph, I see it differently that most clients and even other photographers. It's one of the things that separates me from the rest, good or bad.
I was in conversation with another photographer from a different state recently. Looking on her website I noticed that her portraits looked a bit unfinished. Yes, the zits were gone, but other than that I could not see any sort of extra retouching or enhancements. She told me she goes for the "natural look," which I can respect. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just her style. And quite frankly, she does quite well with it.
My own style dictates that post production in a portrait is just as important as the capture of the image. It's also part of the creativity that makes what I do a lot of fun, and makes me unique.
While the photo on the left is lovely on it's own, the photo on the right is my interpretation of this girl. It was "my take on it." Other photographers may have left it at its original style, or figured out something totally different or even better. Using artistic liberty is a benefit I appreciate a=having in my profession. However, the customer is number one. If they don't like it, it's worthless. That doesn't happen very often 🙂
In the feature photograph at my sister's wedding in January, I grabbed this shot of them outside the reception room at the Morten Arboretum. While the original captures the feel of the day, I made this gift for them by combining two photographs together. (Actually there's a third if you count the Snow Owl.) The cyan/blue tones in the background symbolizes the cold of the outdoors, I made Mimi and Bill a very warn tone as a contrast. By combining the two images, it created a fantasy feel, leaving the bricks of the original background and leading off to a very happy ending!