Image Editing & Retouching

Photo manipulation is almost as old as photography itself. The practice dates back to the second half of the 19th century, only a few decades after the first photographic processes were introduced between the 1830s and 1840s. Before the evolution of photography into the digital realm, photographers and retouching specialists would alter traditional photographic prints and negatives by hand, using various tools and complicated techniques which required a high level of expertise, time and money. The 1990s brought the shift from analog to digital photography with the introduction of the first consumer digital cameras and the release of Adobe Photoshop, an advanced imaging software for adjusting and manipulating digital image files. Nowadays, there are numerous professional digital photo-editing software available, but also mobile applications which are easy for everyone to use and edit photographs. The possibilities of digital photo manipulation are endless.

The possibilities of digital
photo manipulation are endless.

The terms editing and retouching are very often used in the photography world to describe the process of digital photo manipulation. Even though they can be used synonymously, along with other terms such as enhancing, post-processing or post-production, they mean different things.

Image editing generally refers to simple photo-editing techniques. These techniques are fairly quick and easy to execute such as tonal and color correction or cropping. Editing a photograph can only take a few minutes. This may not sound like a lot, but when dealing with a high volume of images it can translate to many hours of work. Overall, image editing enhances and brings more life to the original images.

Image editing techniques include:

  • Exposure: balance the light in images which are underexposed and appear too dark, or overexposed and appear too bright.
  • Contrast: enhance the difference between the black and white tones in an image by making them darker and whiter respectively.
  • Shadows/Highlights: bring out details in the shadow and highlight areas of an image that are bright or too dark to see.
  • White Balance/Color Temperature: correct the overall color of the light in the image, making it neutral, warmer or cooler.
  • Saturation: change the intensity of colors in a photograph, making them more or less vivid.
  • Sharpness: adjust the overall clarity of detail in an image, making it appear crisper and sharper.
  • Noise Reduction: reduce the visibility of noise and grain in order to smooth out the image’s appearance.
  • Sensor/Lens Spots Removal: remove unwanted elements such as dust spots, dirt, hair particles or scratches.
  • Cropping: improve the framing and composition of an image by removing unwanted parts, straightening, rotating, or changing its aspect ratio.


Here are some examples:


Exposure Correction

Renieri, Danae. Prickly Pear Cacti at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden. September 6, 2019.

Shadows & Highlights Correction

Renieri, Danae. Leicester Castle Gardens. July 14, 2016.

White Balance Correction

Renieri, Danae. Untitled. May 4, 2008.

Sensor & Lens Spots Removal

Renieri, Danae. Leaving Chalikiada Beach. July 13, 2013.

Cropping Adjustment

Renieri, Danae. Swedish Farmhouse. May 4, 2008.

Retouching is more advanced than image editing. Retouching techniques are a lot more complex and require expertise, professional photo-editing software and high-end computer equipment. Basic retouching can take around 15 minutes to work on an image, whereas extensive retouching involves intense processing and can take from 30 minutes to an hour per image.

Retouching techniques include:

  • Portrait Retouching & Body Sculpting: fix the complexion and body shape of people in images. This is achieved by removing “imperfections” such as facial shine, spots, blemishes, red eyes, dark circles, glasses glare, or fly-away hair. Also, by whitening the teeth and eyes, softening wrinkles, adding digital makeup, hiding hair loss and adding hair volume, and making subtle alterations to face and full-body portraits.
  • Lens Correction: fix camera lens issues such as distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration and perspective correction.
  • Color Conversion: replace the color of an item or element in the image with another color.
  • Element Removal: remove unwanted elements or objects from a photograph.
  • Photo Filters & Effects: apply a variety of filters and effects to change the mood and feel of a photograph. For example, convert images from color to black-and-white, add a vintage sepia tone filter, apply a matte effect, create double exposure effects, or make photographs look like paintings.
  • Layers & Masks: layers allow images to be stacked on top of each other and edited without altering the pixels of the original image. Masks, which are applied on layers and control their transparency, allow image information from one layer to show through to another layer. Layers and masks are especially helpful when it comes to group and family portraits as they can be used to do head swaps or copy replacement facial expressions to a new layer. Images can also be blended together in a composite or to create collages.
  • Overlays: add images, drawings, textures, colors or text as an additional layer to the photograph.
  • Clipping Paths & Background Replacement: 100% handmade closed vector paths used to isolate subjects and remove the background from the image which can then be replaced.
  • Stitching: seamlessly combine two or more images together in order to produce panoramic or high-resolution images.

Portrait Retouching & Body Sculpting

Renieri, Danae. Untitled. September 6, 2014.

Lens Correction

Lauren, Jéssica. Danae at the Academy of Athens. February 13, 2014.

Color Conversion

Renieri, Danae. Dog Balloon. September 08, 2013.

Element Removal

Renieri, Danae. Santorini Donkey. June 26, 2013.

Photo Filters & Effects

Renieri, Danae. Three Generations of Cretan Women. March 18, 2013.

Layers & Masks

The face, bodies and head that were replaced in this group family portrait were copied from two other photographs of the same shot.

Harris, David. Untitled. June 24, 2017.


Renieri, Danae. Aloha from Kauai. May 18,2019.
Renieri, Danae. Christina. February 04, 2013.

Clipping Paths & Background Replacement

Renieri, Danae. Vintage 1980s Patapouf Doll from El Greco. December 28, 2013.

Not all photographers have the experience to process their images themselves or to edit them to the best possible standards. Some may hand over your images unedited and charge extra for retouching.


Danae Renieri offers image editing and retouching services. Can edit and prepare photographs for print or for the web using Adobe Photoshop, always paying attention to detail to ensure the best results. Always retouch responsibly and aim for simple, clean, natural-looking images. Able to process images in various formats, including JPEG, RAW, TIFF, GIF and PNG files. Prices vary depending on your project’s needs and volume of images. Feel free to contact for more information.