What’s the Difference Between “Basic Editing” and “Touchups”


This is indeed another question I receive a lot and all be it, it is a CONFUSING one. What on earth is a touchup? Will you edit our photos? Is editing included? Are touchups included?

Editing will always be included in your photos. I never give anyone unedited photos because well…I want them to look their best. I edit each photo by hand, one after the other in Lightroom. So what kind of editing is included? Simple, basic editing for lighting and coloring corrections is included with each session and package. As I’ve said in posts before, about 99% of the photos on my website, Facebook page, galleries, and portfolio are all edited this way and I think it works out great.

Now here’s how I define Touchups.

Touchups are anything that go above and beyond editing for basic lighting and color corrections. Touchups are used to minimize blemishes, clothing stains, hair flyaways, bandaids, etc. Things that are unsightly or annoying that you may notice. Touchups are a fairly extensive process and their aim is to make each picture perfect.

Why don’t I touchup every photo you ask? Well, mostly because they usually aren’t needed. On the day of the wedding, brides typically have makeup and hair professionally done, which eliminates blemishes and leave smooth, silky, camera ready skin. This also allows me to keep my prices relatively low for those that would like to choose whether or not they actually need touchups. Which is why I do offer them, but I just don’t add them to the package. I encourage everyone to view your wedding photos first before purchasing touchups.

Many couples also ask me for an examples of touchups, so I’ve included a comparison below.


1. No Editing has been applied.

This first picture below has not been edited yet at all. No basic editing or touchups have been applied. It’s a great picture, straight out of my camera, but it’s just okay. It doesn’t have any life to it really and the colors are muted a bit.


2. Basic Editing has been applied.

This next photo looks MUCH better. It has been edited with basic editing for color and lighting corrections, which is what I apply to all of my photos. The photo looks more lively, has color, and is a huge improvement from the previous unedited photo. This photo has had basic editing applied but no touchups.


3. Problem Areas.

Next is the same photo as above, but I’ve circled some problem areas. If you look closely, you can see that there are a lot of blemishes. Acne on his and her face, hair flyaway on her forehead, some drifting hair on her shoulder and a single strand of hair out of place behind her. It’s okay for those blemishes to be there, but sometimes you may not want those problems to show.


4. Touchups have been applied.

And this next photo is what a completed, touched up photo looks like. The problem areas have been healed or removed and it produces a much cleaner, more elegant photo, with smooth skin, and fewer hair flyaway.


These are the differences between an unedited photo, a basic edited photo, and a touched up photo. These are large differences and it’s why I encourage everyone to view their photos first before selecting or purchasing touchups. It’s really hard to know if you will need them are not and I’d much rather you wait and ask for them after you’ve viewed your photos, then before and find out that you won’t be needing them after all.