Retouching Natural Beauty | Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer

August 04, 2016  •  Leave a Comment


Today's Washington Post contained an article about Chinese beauty apps that automatically enhance selfie photographs.  According to the article "A Billion Downloads has Chinese Selfie Start-up Looking Good" by Emily Rauhala, the Chinese company Meitu uses facial recognition and 3-D modeling software to create "beautifying" apps that automatically widen eyes, lighten skin, and narrow chins to create idealized portraits from selfie snapshots.  Raula reports that the apps are referred to by their fans as "zipai shenqi," meaning "godly tools for selfies."  

Impressive technology but a little over-the-top for my taste!

I believe that the classic portrait should be well retouched, not overly enhanced.  Some photographers prefer significant skin smoothing, so much so that the portraits can look artificial.  That look can work in fashion portraits, where the intent is to sell a fantasy; but, for most "real people" portraits, I prefer natural beauty.  In this case, the retouching is meant to produce a portrait that looks like you, on your very best day.  It is a form of flattery -- not photojournalism but not fantasy either.  

I like this candid portrait of Lisa, who has just finished getting dressed on her wedding day.  I love the emotion and the honesty of the portrait.  The retouching is minimal, emphasizing her natural beauty:  Her beautiful hair, lovely eyes, and radiant smile carry the image.  It is a timeless portrait that will still look good even when people find today's Meitu enhancements faddish and silly.  

If you are a bride-to-be, be sure to talk to your photographer about retouching and portrait enhancement.  If you understand your photographer's style and he/she understands your retouching sensitivities, the final portraits will be ones you'll enjoy even more.  

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For your wedding and family photography needs, contact Ashburn wedding and portrait photographer Roger Hammons for a free consultation.  Our professional photography studio is conveniently located in Loudoun County, Virginia, just west of Dulles International Airport and north of the Brambleton shopping center.  Call 703-729-3780 to chat today!



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