Before & After: Retouching Exposed – Candice

Well… It is finally time for another B&A!! I have been focusing a lot of my time lately on fashion magazines for research purposes, BUT I really want to do another retouching post! This may me a little more of a controversial post than last time. But I can’t wait to see what you all have to say and what you think!

For today’s B&A I chose to feature one of my Beauty shots. I discussed this a little bit last time, but with my beauty images I really am shooting for perfection. This is controversial because the end result isn’t very realistic of the model and how she looks in reality. However, that is the style that I am going for. Perfectly smooth skin, perfect symmetry, perfect facial structure and so forth.

Lighting Setup: For this specific shot I used a continuous Ring Light. There are a lot of different types of ring lights and flashes, but I just have a simple cheap continuous light. I love/hate this light and I will tell you why. It is a very interesting and unique lighting, but it has ONE look and that is it. Also, not being a flash, it is like shooting with lamps instead of strobes. Not very effective and you can’t really use other lights with it.

The Image

Candice is a beautiful girl, but she is not perfect, just like everyone is not perfect. There were a few things that I noticed about her face that I really wanted to touch up. Firstly, the coloring from the ring light was way off and so that needed to be fixed immediately. Second, her skin was blotchy and had inconsistent coloring, which needed to be smoothed out. Finally I just wanted to overall reshape her face so that it was very crisp and clean in all aspects.

With this image my entire goal and focus was purely on creating a beauty shot that emphasized perfection. In my opinion, the original image is merely a canvas and there is much more work to be done. However my vision was clear and I began retouching the image until I felt that everything was consistent with my initial vision.

After Editing

As you can clearly tell there were a lot of changes made to Candice’s face. I remember when I showed her the finished product her reaction was, “Wow, that looks beautiful. But that’s definitely not me!” That is almost exactly what I was going for, to create beauty but not focus so much on the person, rather let the person be a canvas for the beauty.

The Details

  • Reshaped the Hair
  • Filled in Hair Gaps
  • Recolored Skin
  • Smoothed out Skin Complexion
  • Removed Blemishes and Pimples
  • Smoothes Neckline
  • Reshaped Nose
  • Reshaped Jaw
  • Reshaped Lips
  • Added Contouring to Face and Lips
  • Enhanced Iris Color
  • Whitened Eyes

Before & After

Seeing the images side by side helps to see all of the changes that were made! would love to know your guys’ opinion on this image and on portrait retouching in general. I have so much fun with this type of image because it feels like I am not just taking a pretty picture, but I am actually creating some sort of art.

Obviously I would never alter an image this much without consent from the model first. I feel that when you use someone’s body and retouch the image this much the model should be aware. I was very clear going into this shoot that these images would be HIGHLY retouched and she might not even recognize herself anymore. She gladly consented and was not surprised when she saw the final product.

Please be considerate of others when doing this type of work. This is a very touchy subject and can offend people pretty easy. Just be respectful and honest about the direction you want to take as the photographer.

Comments are strongly encouraged for this post! Thoughts?! Was the image too retouched in your opinion? Do you find this type of image beautiful or does it just feel too fake? Would you have been able to notice the retouching had I not shown you the original image? Please leave me your thoughts below!

For more of my work please visit my website at or my fashion portfolio at!

Until next time, live your dreams and may passion never die!