Boston photographer's headshot secret: meticulous retouching

Retouching to Perfection

Magazine-like retouching makes your headshot flawless, while maintaining natural skin and realistic finish.

Perfectly confident smiles may sometimes come with distracting wrinkles or broader cheeks. A common mistake is to settle for a less confident or unlikable face. The best option is to retouch the best facial expression: overriding a downside of one choice with a strength of another. Retouching can be your huge advantage.

Before/after samples (on a drastic side). Imagine how retouching improves your headshots.


You will be watching the photographer performing the super-detailed work in front of you if you book your session with this option. There is no outsourcing or junior staff. People have different opinions and preferences about how they want to look and how much correction be applied. These things are challenging to zero in on once you leave the studio.

We started in fashion and beauty photography years before expanding to corporate photography, so we understand a wide range of markets, styles, and desires. You see a wide range of sample images from the past 20 years on this website. We are up to date about the current style and aesthetics.

For corporate/professional audiences: we generally aim for a natural look that minimizes visual distraction and enhances your impression significantly but resembles the same person. In particular, close attention is paid to preserving the natural skin texture when cleaning up blemishes, wrinkles, and under-eyes.

Great portraits follow the fullest use of good practices and techniques, starting with pre-production preparation, makeup artists experienced in photo production, coaching for the posture, pose and expressions, and lighting techniques. In many of our cases, those are more than adequate to produce excellent portraits. Therefore, the retouching option is generally recommended on an as-needed basis.

A typical retouching service includes some or all of the following:

  • Skin cleanup: blemishes/scars/wrinkles erased or lightened one by one
  • Skin tone: removing rosacea, fixing uneven tanning, coloring pasty skin
  • Enhancing the soft matte skin look, taming the skin shine
  • Eyes shapes made fuller, relaxing eyebrows
  • Under-eye circles lightened
  • Slimming face (cheeks) and arms
  • Neck: slimming and cleaning the neck wrinkles
  • Straightening/lining up the nose and the chin
  • Enhancing the angles of the chin and jaws
  • Remove or lighten double chins
  • Narrowing the forehead
  • Adding slight volume and movement to the hair
  • Teeth color matching
  • Clean up other distracting elements

Retouching is a powerful tool, but it does not fix some problems: signs of fatigue, sleep deprivation, or stress.


Retouching is available as an add-on service only. It is not available for photographs taken by other photographers. Please discuss this topic during the telephone consultation if you have a specific concern about your skin/face or are unsure whether retouching is helpful.

The headshot retouching starts at 200, added to your photo session cost, depending on how much retouching work is needed. When you see the detailed work involved, you’ll understand why this service is only offered as an add-on, and the studio makes no effort to upsell it.

The price varies with the level of work, such as which details need to be fixed. Photographs with more skin exposures (arms, hands, legs, etc.) or fuzzy hair require more work, as do group portraits. Anticipate proportionally adjusted pricing for retouching those images.

For example, if the scope of retouching is changed or expanded while or after the work is performed, the retouching price will go up. Additional rounds of retouching are treated similarly. Suppose a customer changes their mind or expands their desire to control increasingly minor details. In that case, we generally discuss whether it is useful first and discourage unnecessary fixes first while discussing the price. Again, we do not upsell this service at all.

If your photo is for editorial stories, PR/marketing/advertising campaigns, or fashion/beauty production, more detailed processes are involved, and the price will be estimated case-by-case.

Most photographers do not have the right retouching skills. A common mistake is to over-correct the skin to make it look like a plastic bag. We use the best-known techniques and adjust the correction to ensure the result is appropriate for your professional image.

If you see photographers who say “retouching is included in the package” or charge a much lower price, they are probably outsourcing to a low-quality vendor or using a cheap app. We tried those options, and they were all dissatisfactory. We continue to do the hard way for a very good reason.


Retouching is recommended for actors headshots and publicity headshots, at least for the primary photo. For professional or corporate headshots, if you are primarily using the image for Corporate portrait or LinkedIn bio, the retouching is probably optional. However, if your headshot is used to promote your speaking engagements, publications, or other opportunities, retouching may be a worthwhile addition. In all the above situations, retouching is recommended for both men and women.