Behind Every Great Photographer is a Great Retoucher

 Before and After Photo Retouching by Jon Birdseye
Sometimes a picture can be taken 100% in camera, but, more often than not, an image needs to be finessed behind the scenes before it is launched into the visual world. That’s where our friend, high-end retoucher Jon Birdseye enters the picture. 
 After by Retoucher Jon Birdseye

Birdseye earned an MFA in photography before embarking on a successful career in retouching. I started 4x5 large format film long before simulating the creative process using digital technology," says Jon, who credits his hybrid analog/digital education for his ability to render authenticity." I work to finesse the technology rather than having it determine the output." 

 After by Jon Birdseye on an Adidas project
Jon started his career in New York where he gained much-needed exposure to the demands of high-end editorial retouching.  It was there that he learned a good photograph is merely the starting point of the final image. He came to understand that a talented and skilled retoucher can more closely mirror the vibrancy seen by the naked eye.

As retouching has taken on a greater significance, Jon finds himself operating more frequently on set. This vantage allows him access to the creative team’s artistic vision. “I might work with 14 frames to produce one image but I first need to interpret what the photographer and art director are after. This can be quite nuanced. I mean, blue means something different to different people.” 

According to Amazon Photo Producer, Leslie De Lorenzo, photo retouchers are invaluable on most projects: “As commercial photography switched from film to digital, at a minimum, retouching became necessary to finish the image. At a maximum, even something as simple as photographing an iPhone, will require multiple shots to accomplish. In order to capture the phone’s reflective components and illuminated screen, you will need to composite as many as three to four images. This is where you can't get to your end product without retouching.  Retouchers create a workflow to make images easily alterable and reversible. This is especially important when the client wants a change; a good retoucher makes it look easy. The people hiring and booking retouchers know how complex it really is.” 

Take a moment to look at Jon’s projects at or


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