Basic Edited & Fully Retouched

November 25, 2017

I have wanted to write about photo retouching for such a long time!  To explain the differences between unedited and fully retouched photos or before and after photos is something dear to my heart.  It is such a hot topic amongst photographers and clients, I am really excited by this post.

Take a fabulous photograph

You may be asking why on earth do I want to share unedited and fully edited photos with you? Well, for many reasons really. One reason is that I put a ton of work into editing and fully retouching photographs.  Every photo that is printed in my heirloom album must be amazing, each piece of Wall Art meticulous and every photo in my portrait boxes are pristine. This is my job, my work, my art and it should be displayed with the utmost beauty and perfection.  Knowing how I edit and my process is key not just for my clients but also vendors and other photographs who would like to learn.  Also, I thought it was a cool thing to share, so keep reading!

SPECIAL NOTE: if the photos don’t load right away, give it a couple seconds as there are a ton of photos in this post.

Let us dive in with two different getting ready example photos below of two different brides.  Both photos shown are out of camera photo that is completely untouched. The second photo (when you move the slider) is a fully retouched photograph that has been converted to B&W. Side note this photograph won a few awards which were pretty cool.

iPhone &  Mobile devices TAP or double anywhere on the image to move  the slider

Example 1

[baslider name=”BeforeafterBW”]

 Example 2

[baslider name=”makeup”]


I believe in simplicity and below I have created three steps that I follow. This theme is applied throughout this post and listed here as:

  1. Out of camera photos (this is what I see once imported into my computer)
  2. Basic edited photographs (color corrected, basic adjustments applied)
  3. Fully edited photographs. These photographs have been color corrected, straightened, have all skin retouched and completely ready for print.  They may have been converted to B&W for the final finished piece of art.

To me, photography is about capturing emotions, moments in time, and then printed and displayed for all to see.  We’ve come a long way from the film process.  Opportunities with photos are now abundant.

The reason why I retouch is that I can improve details within that photograph

Before I go any further, why retouch and edit a photograph?  Simply put when I retouch my photograph, it allows me to bring out the full detail and possibilities of my photograph. The reasoning to retouch is that I can improve details within the photograph and I can eliminate distractions within a photograph (scroll down to view the last photo in this set). With editing, I am also able to change the feeling or mood of a photograph at any time to create that image I saw when I was taking it. As an artist, I am now able to develop that photo to its full potential. I have to say, hair and makeup is a huge component of a good edit. When makeup and hair have been done really well it makes my life so much easier.

Below are three photos within this slide. Make sure to view the out of camera, basic edited and fully edited photo. You will see

  1. Out of camera – this is what I get to view
  2. Basic edited – this is what my clients see for the first time
  3. Fully edited – this is what goes to print for albums



the first is a basic edit to the fully retouched photo
the second one is out of the camera to fully retouched
(click on the arrows)

[baslider name=”lakelouise”]


This photograph below is a before and after photo of a unique moment within The Canadian Rocky Mountains. The fully edited photograph was printed within the album but what you’re seeing prior is an out of camera photo i.e. not touched at all i.e. it’s an unedited photo.


[baslider name=”slider1″]



check out the two image sets within this photo
the second one is out of the camera to finished B&W

[baslider name=”Outofcamerabasicretouchedone”]


I wanted an explanation or definition of the old-fashioned film

I decided to dig deeper into what is developing and plugged into Google as I wanted an explanation or definition for the old-fashioned film (not digital):

Negative film is the name for a photographic film that will give images which have their colors inverted, after development. This inversion means that the complementary color is used. A second process (usually called making a print) is used to obtain any number of photos, which can also be in different sizes”

 It truly is incredible how far
digital has come

Pretty huge deal right! This is why digital has become so popular (well one of the reasons anyway) as you can take a photo when you look on the back of a screen and it’s like magic, there it is…done…no lab, no processing, wow.  Simple.  It truly is incredible how far digital has come. I love it and wouldn’t go back.



The photo set below is everything, out the camera to fully retouched color to B&W finished photographs.

Second set, out of camera to finished retouched set in B&W

[baslider name=”outofcameratobasiceditedtwo”]


Out of camera to Retouched B&W

[baslider name=”silvertripBW”]



The photo below is a photograph that was out of camera along plus a fully edited photograph. The edited photos has received retouching to the skin of the gorgeous bride and much more. Yep, it’s finished and ready for the album.

Take Special Note of The Retouched Skin

[baslider name=”beforeafterskinretouchedadvanced”]


The second slider is the exact same photograph as above but an example of a non-edited to a Basic edited photo. This is the photograph that my clients view for their reveal during the cinematic album presentation. Without a doubt, it is a gorgeous photo but so much can be done with this photo as seen above. By now I’m hoping you can clearly see the two levels side-by-side of Basic edit and a Fully edited photograph.

[baslider name=”beforeafterskinretouched”]



One more part of my editing process is to remove distractions from a photograph. Within the TWO similar photos below take note of the distractions that have been removed.

Distractions are things that take your eye away from the main subjects or are just simply annoying. It may be a fly, a person in the background or a tree crossing behind the subjects head, in Example 1 below. Or even sunlight hot spots in the background in Example 2 below.


[baslider name=”retouched”]



[baslider name=”distractionsunset”]


You might ask why I don’t fully edit all images?  If I had 600 photos to fully edit and it took 15 to 30 mins to fully edit each photograph it would take from 150 hours to 300 hours. Say what!! Think of how many hours you work in your job, say 40 hrs a week. Exactly, so as a Calgary wedding photographer wouldn’t make sense so I only fully edit and finish the photograph that is going to be displayed in an album, Wall Art or printed and seen forever.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, until next time, rock on and leave a message below.