For many years,before owning Photoshop became affordable,

and before digital media replaced film, photographers used the word ‘retouching’ to mean the following (as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary):

    • to alter (something, such as a photographic negative) to produce a more desirable appearance.
    • to make small changes to (something, such as a photograph) in order to improve the way it looks.

Los-Angeles -Theatrical-headshots
Deon Jones: Creative Professional / Best Friend / Office Guy / Urban Hip


Jerry Terhorst: Hipster / Cross Fit

Lately, the trend is actors asking that their photographs be ‘edited’ to look better.

What they MEAN to say is they want the image ‘retouched’ for an improved appearance.


Megan Lomeli: Victim / Best Friend


Nathan Tucker: Country Club Dad / Villain / Casual Dad

 According to Merriam-Webster, the definition for editing is:

  • to prepare (a film, recording, photo, etc.) to be seen or heard: to change, move, or remove parts of (a film, recording, photo, etc.)
  • to assemble (something, such as a moving picture or tape recording) by cutting and rearranging edit a film.


Tony Okungbowa: Hipster / Backyard BBQ Dad / Lawyer or Doctor / Urban Hip


Elizabeth Alan: Detective / Casual Mom / Hipster

The key difference here is in the terms altering or changing an image (retouching) vs. removing, cutting or rearranging (editing) an image.

I felt compelled to finally write about the difference because when I explain to actors my process from start to finish, I catch myself using the correct terms, but then using the incorrect terms just so that I’m understood.

Los-Angeles-Child headshot-photographers

Wesley Valek: Hero / Military


Tarriq Nassar: Urban Hip / Hipster

Call me a purist, but to set the record straight…

The common workflow with photographers is to remove (delete) photos that are not going to be presented in the final selection (see below of grayed out images).  This is called editing.


From that final selection (or ‘edit’) of images, the actor makes his or her selections, and the photographer alters them by making a series of retouches, usually by first custom color correcting them, then perhaps reducing smile lines, neck lines, and removing stray hairs etc. (see below).

And now the record is straight!


If you found my post valuable, it would mean sooo much to me if you would take a moment and pop over to Instagram where I hang out and comment on one of my posts!


Bryan Lowe: Musician / Hipster / Computer Geek

Los-Angeles -Kids-headshots

Piedad Inca: Casual Mom / Mafia Wife

Recommended Posts
    pingbacks / trackbacks

    Leave a Comment