WHAT I DO
My initial edit, done before I upload your preview images to a gallery, includes general exposure adjustments, white balance (color) adjustments, and removal of large distractions. Later fine-tuning edits include:
* selective brightening and darkening to bring attention to the face
* selective color correction
* removal of small distractions -- distracting twigs, the occasional blemish, etc.
What the one-hour photo machines can't do
Some of you have experience editing your own photos, and understand the value of brightening, contrast, and color correction. Suddenly you can rescue some snapshots that are a little too dark! Here are the differences between those basic edits and what I do: hundreds of hours of experience, an artist's eye, and the ability to selectively change parts of a photo without changing all of it.
The final advantage I offer is patience. It's not uncommon for me to spend an hour on a special photo. When you order an enlargement or a digital image, be assured that I'll allow my perfectionism free rein!
Retouching vs. Makeovers
My standard portrait edit removes temporary blemishes and scratches.... Dirt, on the other hand, can add both charm and realism to the portrait of a toddler! It all depends on what type of portrait you're after.
I lighten under-eye circles, brighten eyes a smidge, and whiten teeth a little bit, but don't remove birthmarks or moles unless asked. I might lighten them slightly if the lighting and angle of a particular picture makes them particularly prominent.
Unless asked, I will give no one a Photoshop glamour makeover. If you do want wrinkles softened or severe acne removed, that level of retouching is available at $25/hour.
My goal is not to change your appearance -- unless looking at before and after shots side-by-side, typically people don't comment, "that's beautifully edited!" They'll just say, "Wow! You look great!" My goal is to make you look as you would look on the perfect day, well rested and well lit.