Over the years photo retouching has been controversial. What is real (in camera) and what is changed and manipulated (in post and at the hands of a person sitting at the computer)? The controversy usually comes from brands or editors who take license with a curvy female body and make it overly thin (we call that the nip tuck). It can also be frowned upon when the enhancement and/or restoration of a digital or printed photograph looks overtly obvious or “fake.” When a retoucher is an artist, however, the eye cannot detect a heavy hand or even a light hand. The retouching artist puts the finishing touch on the overall look of the image making it a creative masterpiece.
When retouching is incorporated into an overall creative plan it becomes an integral part of a photography assignment and is a welcomed team member on the assignment. Jon Birdseye, master retoucher and creative partner, likes to be included in the photography assignment early on in the process.
“If I know what the photographer is going to be shooting upfront I can talk to her/him about what pieces of the puzzle I need prior to retouching. It is in that communication that we can all be most efficient. There is nothing worse than a client asking me to recreate something out of nothing. If I need extra drips on a bottle, for instance, I will ask the photographer to shoot those alongside the main bottle so in post I will have something to work with.” Says Birdseye.
"When I work with Jon I know he has my back, especially in situations where I need to show a reflection, enhance a color or add or take away from an image." Says food photographer Sarah Flotard. “He is so skilled and creative that it is a pleasure to have him on board any project.”
Below are some amazing images Jon retouched for a variety of clients. Before and after images can be found on his site at www.jonbirdseye.com.