Difference Between Photo Editing and Photo Retouching

Difference Between Photo Editing and Photo Retouching


Digital photography plays a crucial role across a plethora of industries. Starting from the e-commerce sector to the retail sector, the need for digital photography is ever-increasing. Photo retouching and editing are the most integral part of the business wherein the companies can improve their brand visibility and brand reputation. Nowadays, photo retouching services are also sought among individuals for their photography. 

Whether it is for any industrial purpose or personal, photo editing and retouching have grown leaps and bounds as it caters tailored solutions to every need. Even though these are not so much mandatory in the case of personal photos, with the advancement of digitalization, people want to look perfect, and here comes the concept of enhanced photography. An enhanced photo of any product is likely to attract potential buyers when compared to a normal photo. Moreover, it will help to rejuvenate brand uniqueness, thus playing a major role while representing the brand image in the market.

What is Photo Editing?

What is Photo Editing?

Photo editing is defined as the alteration of images by using basic photo manipulation techniques such as straightening, cropping, sharpening, resizing, light, and level of color adjustments. The light adjustment in photo editing includes exposure, temperature, white balance, brightness, saturation, color, and contrasts. These minor changes and alterations are not meant to deliver the final photo, but to create a clean base photo.

Photo editing can be done in minutes by using any photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom. As photo editing is the initial step of photo manipulation it can make the picture look soft or crisp or stark, depending on the specific digital treatment provided to the image. Photo editing is used mostly for advertisements in print media like magazines, brochures, logo creation, and digital media such as website images and enhanced product images.

What is Photo Retouching?

What is Photo Retouching?

Photo retouching is defined as the high-level photo enhancement technique that includes advanced techniques like eliminating unwanted elements, smoothening, toning, adjusting the frame, and the list is never-ending. The process of photo retouching goes beyond photo editing and basic image adjustments. Photo editors mostly use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom for doing this high-level photo enhancement.

Types of Photo Retouching

As photo retouching includes many alterations far beyond photo editing, the process can be divided into 2 categories such as:

1. Basic Retouching

Basic retouching is defined as the simple alterations done with the image to create a high-resolution photo. Basic retouching features include teeth whitening, blemish removal, skin smoothening, removing distractions, brightening, and so on. 

2. Extensive Retouching

Extensive retouching includes complex techniques that usually transform the whole photo to its perfection. The features used in extensive retouching are improving facial features, slimmer body, removing or adding objects in a picture, adding fancy effects, composting images together, application of digital makeup, etc. for adding more depth in the image.

Difference between Photo Editing vs Photo Retouching

Though the concept of photo editing and photo retouching look the same, they are very different from each other from a professional photo editor’s point of view. Following are the few differences between photo editing and photo retouching that are explained in a detailed manner.

  • The basic elements of photo editing include noise reduction, white balance, color adjustments, contrasts, exposure, resizing, cropping, and basic background removal. Whereas basic elements of photo retouching include blemish removal, improving facial features, digital makeup application, adding or removing any objects in the image.
  • Editing a photo can take a couple of minutes depending on the desired requirements and effects. On the other hand, photo retouching needs more than 15 minutes to an hour as per the requirement.
  • Photo editing is mostly used in enhancing product images for e-commerce websites. Whereas, though photo retouching requires professional help its usage is not only used for industrial purposes but also for personal use such as baby showers, wedding photos, travel photos, and the list is endless.

Wrapping Up

It is essential to know the difference between the concepts of photo editing and photo retouching so that you can decide what image manipulation features will enhance the photo. To make the images surreal, either way, you need some basic changes rather than extensive features. By having an in-depth knowledge of photo editing and retouching, you can easily decide which specific effect will make your photos to the optimum perfection. However, a photo does not need extensive photo retouching to make it an exceptional one. Some images only need a few minor tweaking and edits to become appropriate. 

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