How much do you retouch?

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Superzoom2 Regular Member • Posts: 206
How much do you retouch?

I'm a portrait photographer, and I hate retouching!

I love taking the pictures, and they look great straight out of camera, but most of my portraits can use a little retouching of skin imperfections and eye bags.  The modern standard seems to be do lots of retouching and make people look close to perfect, sometimes too perfect.  I usually try to strike a balance between real, believable and perfect, although every client seems to want something different.

I find I'm spending between fifteen and forty-five minutes in Photoshop retouching every single portrait shot that I take.  I wish I could just do basic corrections in a few minutes and be done.  This is a list of what I do to pretty much every picture:  curves, colour correct, saturation, skin blemish removal, skin smoothing, eye bag reduction, sharpening, vignette enhancement.  I don't use plug-ins or portrait fixing programs because I like to have total control of the application and degree of effects.

How long do you spend retouching people photos?  Do any of you do almost no retouching--just basic colour and curves adjustments?  Do you have any suggestions as to how I could speed up my workflow?  Should I in fact start using plug-ins to speed up the process?  Or is it normal for professionals to spend fifteen to forty-five minutes retouching individual shots?

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