5 Types of Photo Retouching and Why It is Important to know the Difference

Photo retouching to you may just seem like the usual or mundane photo editing services, but it is in fact more than just that. It involves many subject-specific areas such as editorial, portrait, commercial, product, creative and beauty retouching.

Each photography style has its considerations on retouching. Editing a portrait is very different as compared to editing a product photo.

Table of Contents

5 Types of Photo Retouching We Do

In this blog post, we will show you the 5 most generic types of photo retouching that Mount Studio does for our photography services offered such as outdoor, catalog e-commerce, portrait, product, and commercial shoot.

This way, you will be able to differentiate between our retouching types and understand the care we take into getting your photos ready. For lighter intensity of retouching, the lead time we need to edit and submit the photos to you will be shorter as compared to the more intense retouching where we will need a longer lead time to get your photos ready.

Photo Retouching for Outdoor Photography (Basic)

Retouching Intensity: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Usually Used For: Outdoor Photography, Event Photography, Events that require on-the-spot submission of photos, mainly outdoor or location-based photo shoots


  • Basic Edits like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & Colour

For outdoor photography, retouching is mainly done by adjusting the brightness, contrast, and color. Heavy retouching is not done for outdoor photos to maintain the natural look of the outdoor space.

We use presets with a ready-made setting and tweak them to make sure that the presets sits well on the photo. Slight cropping and rotation of the photos may be done to bring out the best in the photo. Skin retouching, clothing creases and backgrounds are not retouched.


Photo Retouching for Catalog Photography

Retouching Intensity: 1.5 out of 5 Stars

Usually Used For: Studio Photography for E-commerce Stores


  • Basic Edits like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & Colour
  • Clean Studio Backdrop Floor
  • Color Correction of Clothing

As for catalog photography, the retouching is mainly focused on how the photo is being cropped, cleaning up of background floor and most importantly, making sure that the color of the clothing matches the actual product.

Cropping of the photo usually depends on what type of cropping our client prefers. Our cropping style is to make sure that there is equal space on all sides of the photos. Photos that are being uploaded to sites such as Zalora usually requires a certain type of cropping size. This is to make sure it matches Zalora’s standard of cropping.

It is also important to clean up any unnecessary dirt on the background or floor so as to make the final outcome of the photo clean and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Lastly, the clothing has to be color corrected to make sure that it matches the actual product. Tops and bottoms are mainly shot for catalog photography thus it is extremely important for consumers to receive the product with expectations that the color of the product in the photo matches what it is in real life.

Photo Retouching for Portrait Photography (Skin & Hair)

Retouching Intensity: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Usually Used For: Corporate Portraits, Casual Studio Portraits, Family Studio Photography, mainly studio-based photo shoots


  • Basic Edits like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & Colour
  • Professional Skin, Face and Hair Retouching to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, eye bags, dark circles and oil while keeping you looking natural, and remove flyaway hair
  • Clean Studio Backdrop Floor, if photos are shot in our photo studio

For portrait photos, the main focus is in the skin retouching. Portrait photos tend to be taken up close and near the subject. All of the subject’s personal qualities and characteristics are kept intact.

Intimate details such as pores, oil on the skin, dark circles and eye bags can be seen very clearly in the photo. As such, our photo retouching includes editing the skin to make it look smooth and almost flawless, whiten teeth and mask blemishes, yet keeping the subject looking natural.

Basic edits like brightness, contrast and colour are also done to enhance the photo. If photos are taken in our studio, the backdrop paper is also cleaned up in post-processing to remove dirty marks and stains, if any.

Such retouching takes a much longer time to edit each photo as compared to non-skin retouching photos due to the details involved.

Photo Retouching for Product Photography

Retouching Intensity: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Usually Used For: Product shot against White Background, Product Flat Lay (Styled), Still Life, Food, 360 Product Photography


  • Basic Edits like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & Colour
  • Change and/or Remove Backgrounds
  • Remove Marks, Scratches & Imperfections on the Product
  • Perfect the Stitching, Buttons, Corners and Edges of the Product
  • Highlights and Shadows Adjustment to bring out the Dimensionality of the Product
  • Liquify to correct the product shape, if appropriate

It is extremely important to make sure that the images highlight the most interesting and beautiful part of a product. This is done during the photo shoot itself and the post processing after helps enhance it. It requires skills such as changing backgrounds, compositing, and retouching.

For starters, we will first identify the things that makes the product unique. We will get down to the details to make sure the stitching, buttons, corners, and edges of the product looks picture perfect. This is the time to identify the marks, scratches, and imperfections that will only make the product not pleasing to the eye.

Highlights and shadows adjustments are often incorporated into the retouching process. Even though some products are transparent and highly reflective, by adjusting the lights and shadows, it helps to bring out the dimensionality of the product.

Ghost mannequin photography also falls on the product photography section. To ensure a smooth and flawless final product, the retouching is made in a way that we will liquify the mannequin to fit the shape of the clothing well.

During post-production, the ghost mannequin is composited, leaving behind only the clothing. This allows the final product to be focused only on the clothing.

It is this very difference we do in our retouching that will create the picture perfect product photo that sells well.

Photo Retouching for Commercial Photography (Intensive)

Retouching Intensity: 5 out of 5 Stars

Usually Used For: Advertising and Commercial Usage where photos are printed


  • Basic Edits like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation & Colour
  • Professional and Intensive Skin, Face and Hair Retouching to reduce pores, wrinkles and fine lines, eye bags, dark circles and oil, and remove flyaway hair
  • Highlights and Shadows Adjustment
  • Clean Studio Backdrop Floor or remove Distractions in an Outdoor Background

Photos taken for commercial usage tend to be of higher resolution. This means that the finer details in the photo can be seen since it is very sharp.

The retouching process involves many steps such as retouching the blemishes, scars, brighten & whiten teeth, even the skin tones, getting rid of stray hairs and smooth all wrinkles. Higher resolution photos will result in pores being seen clearly.

Hence, intense retouching is required to make sure the photo is perfect and ready to be published for commercial use as they are usually used in printed formats such as in brochures, posters, standees and even buses and MRTs.

Correction steps such as color correcting, adjusting the brightness, contrast, and shadow also plays an important part in the retouching process. Color correcting a photo itself can change the whole mood and the artistic direction of the photo.


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