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Who First Retouched a Photo? And Ergo Invented What Became Digital Image Editing

First recognised photographic retouching example of an iconic nature

A very good, if not wordy, question worthy of consideration in this latest photo retouching blog.

So we duly did.

First we gave you ‘Old School Retouching’. Which explained how retouching artists of their day invented techniques – and graphic improvisations – so as to visually correct or enhance images. Pre-Photoshopping. Then we spoiled you with our ‘Potted History of Photoshop’. We even treated you to ‘What was the first Photoshopped Image?’

Because we’re like that*

*Thoughtful/informative/compelling reading

However we’ve left you completely in the dark (room) when it comes to the equally important matter of just who invented photo retouching. As in pre-Photoshop, obviously. And as in from an actual photography/image-creating angle.

Shock! Horror! Photographers Invented Photo Retouching (the clue’s in the title)….

A shock to any readers born after the last Millenium, maybe. Yet we can confirm that image editing techniques WERE being practiced by photographers (and not, as potentially imagined, by much sought-after digital photo retouchers like DT) many, many moons ago. Before most of us were even thought about.

And way before the Adobe Brothers were getting hip to the hop over Photoshop. Even before Neil Armstrong was setting foot on the abovementioned lunar surface.

And one name more than any other keeps cropping up when we trawl the internet archives to determine just who was first guilty of fiddling with existing photographic imagery. All in the name of enhancement/beautification. Or just plain, good old-fashioned tooling around.

Only minus graphic software tools.

And that name belonged to an American called Ansel Adams.

For it was he who is widely credited as being amongst the very first of the creative photographer types to dabble in the dark arts. Which went on to become globally recognised as photo enhancement. Or image manipulation, if we’re keeping a weather eye on SEO.

And to put this in perspective, we’re rewinding the timeline clock back to the 1920s and monochrome pictures. Which required the application of light exposure techniques in a conventional photographer’s dark room. Which was a lot more trial and error in execution than twiddling some Photoshop knobs, we should coco.

And perserverance. The very sort which would trouble even a saint, according to historical adages.

Come Again. What is Photo Manipulation?

In Layman’s terminology, photo manipulation is the act/creative process which results whence a digital image editor applies various methodologies and principles to the subject of photo metamorphosis. Or to put it in other words. Which is all fair and well in this image editing software age in which we live/work. However this wasn’t always the case of yore.

Photographic retouchers (typically those who practised professional photography for a living) relied heavily on darkrooms rather than laptops to weave their image magic. A whole host of relatively rudimentary equipment and techniques were applied to the tasks in hand. Scratching, sandwiching and/or overpainting of negatives, vibrating while exposing, blurring, colouring, photomontage and combination printing were all the rage. Pre-Photoshopping.

And along with the more basic fundamentals of airbrushing and dodging and burning, were routinely facilitated so as to photographically capture events of historical relevance and politically-motivated importance. Not simply to serve the needs of the fashion or beauty industry. Or alternatively, to manifest imagery which appeared to mimic paintings and more traditional works of art doing the rounds at the time.

When Did It ALL Start Then? This Photo Editing Lark?

You might have hitherto thought that digital retouchers like us have got Photoshop to thank for making us the successes we are today. But that’s not entirely true. Plus we’ve already dispelled that theory. What’s more, it would be a disservice to our naturally-occuring skillsets. As analog post-processing began in the 19th Century; borne out of photographical experimentation.

In the 19th Century, many photographers experimented with hand-tinting of their portraits. To give them a more vivid and life-like look and feel. Elsewhere, others would compose large group portraits by photographing individuals separately in the studio. Then creating a post-photo shoot collage by way of pasting them onto painted backgrounds. More often than not depicting outdoor scenes.

But then along came people like Henry Peach Robinson. A photographer who was enthusiastically giving photo compositing techniques a go as early as 1858 (year, not time). While George Hurrell was Hollywood-ising Joan Crawford – and her skin tone/complexion – a few decades later in 1931.

Famous photo retouched image of Hollywood star, Joan Crawford.

Hollywood Got in on the Whole Image Retouching Act Too, Didn’t You Know

With regards to the former, perhaps Robinson’s most instantly recognizable image is that of an ill and bed-ridden young woman in the centre-ground to ‘Fading Away’. This manually-constructed composite photograph is the direct result of what was referred to as ‘combination printing’. Which essentially saw the fusing together of different negatives, coupled with the principle elements of over exposure.

Concentrating on the latter example, and Hurrell’s glamour shot of screen siren, Crawford at the beginning of the 1930s remains one of the very best illustrations of photo retouching. As it was found at the very inception of superficially-focused image enhancing by the Hollywood machine.

The visual embellishing of a face.

Which of course, has experienced a systematic evolution through the subsequent decades. Culminating in today’s very contemporary photo-filtering apps downloadable to our smartphones. And testament to the underlying fact that seeking out the perceived ‘perfect body/face’ image was in motion long before the advent of both Photoshop (from a commercial stance) and the abovementioned apps.

In terms of how Crawford’s visage was subjected to pictorial revisions, Hurrell’s retoucher, James Sharp described a process whereby he’d smooth the actress’s skin and remove the fine lines to ensure that her face appeared more youthful. This was achieved courtesy of a retouching machine. Operated via a series of controls which actively vibrated the negatives. Thus affording the retoucher the platform to then manually paint away the blemishes. Including freckles.

'Fading Away', captured rudimentary early photo retouching practices, pre-digital.

Adam’s Apple Moment

But returning to Ansel Adams, and a name synonymous with photo retouching; largely thanks to his game-changing 1941 compositional piece, entitled ‘Moonrise’.

Still lauded in the digital image enhancing sector as the master of darkroom dodging and burning techniques, Adams was instrumental in changing the future landscape of photographic retouching. And landscapes just happened to be his ‘thing’ any way.

The photo retoucher’s photo retoucher was responsible for the advent of the ‘zone system’. And Adams’ post-processed images fired the imaginations and highlighted what dynamic effects were previous believed to be virtually impossible. Traffic-stopping effects in many cases, especially when contrasted with what had been observed up until that seemingly transitional juncture.

We don’t exagerate when we say that the creative world of the early 1940s sat up and took note when in 1941 Adams whipped the dust covers off ‘Moonrise’. And almost singlehandedly changed the way we viewed image manipuation and rationalised elementary photographical captures.

The Photo Retoucher’s Photo Retoucher

Shot in New Mexico as the day was ending, the monochrome photograph depicts a rising moon. Pictured in an immense sky dominated by the impending blackness of the rapidly encroaching nightfall. Beneath the steely gaze of the moon, a collection of dwellings and a church, along with snow-covered mountains are observed.

Standing as one of the most iconic photographic images in history, Adams perfectionistic approach to the darkroom treatments which followed significantly added to his enduring sense of legend.

Adams spoke at the time about ‘Moonrise’, describing how he’d achieved the final composition and what photo retouching techniques he’d administered.

Adams; “The sky was of such low saturation blue that no filter would have had much effect… Considerable burning (darkening) and dodging (lightening) are required.”

He went on to add; “I hold back the shadowed lake and foreground for about three-fourths of the exposure time, using a constantly moving card held relatively close to the lens,” concluding; “The lake surface is burned in later to balance the amount of dodging of the surrounding hills and foreground.”

Debunking the myths that pre-digital era image-making was untouched and was a product of a camera and the equipment alone, this blog uncovers where it began. And draws the conclusion that digitalization is pretty much the only key difference between processes available during the last century, and today. Making for faster and more exacting detailing.

And moreover, we’ve learned who the pioneers of photo retouching were.

7 Works of Art Which Have Been Digitally Image Edited Repeatedly in Name of Popular Culture

Digitally image edited version of 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa'

Art supposedly imitates life, so it stands to reason that every once in a while life should get a chance to turn the tables on art, right? Be it for the purposes of popular culture, contemporary grime music or for omnipresent social media memes. Sorry, did we just say culture, while simultaneously imagining Vin Diesel digitally image edited into the Mona Lisa?

OK, we did. Guilty as charged.

I guess it’s not quite as embarassing as thinking about Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster riding Katsushika Hokusai’s seminal ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ Japanese woodblock art masterpiece though, is it.

Which is also ‘a thing’.

So you already see where we’re going with this, don’t you?

That being the (socially awkward) ‘celebration’ of a somewhat eclectic collection of the world’s iconic artworks which have been recurrently subjected to parody. And examples which we all instantly recognise.

Irrespective of whether the Mona Lisa is looking all fast and furious. Or if a baked biscuit-obsessed, wobbly-eyed, blue glove puppet is surfing a monster wave. There’s no use hiding from the existence of such things, as clearly the digitally image edited sector has played a key part in these frivolous pictorial responses to questions. Questions which really ought never to have been asked.

On which note. Just who would ever ask something along the lines of; “Just what would Donald Trump look like with a man bun?”

Yup. Don’t adjust you screen, as this has JUST happened (in social media land) and can never be unseen. Courtesy of one digital photo retouching masochist out there.

Photo Retouched Works of Famous Art Which are More Than a Little Amusing

Naturally (or should that be, unnaturally) for life to imitate art, digitally image edited witchcraft nearly always ensues. And obviously figures prominently in the resultant photo enhanced finished articles we see before us.

Because without professional photographers and/or digital photo retouching experts being behind them, most of these extra-curricular visions (some of which are vaguely disturbing – hello Miss Piggy, we’re looking at you!) would never have seen the light of day. And remained out of harm’s way. Existing purely within the mind’s eye of those with fevered imaginations.

Or image editing artists in the desperate throes of answering their own client briefs. The conclusions of which leaked into the public’s conscience and therefore pitched up on our radar.

We haven’t even waxed lyrical about The Muppet’s take on Boticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ yet, have we? The version which depicts the aforementionedMiss Piggy stood in the middle of a clam shell looking all coquettish? Nope. It’s not too late to bail/stop reading about here, you know.

We won’t take it personally….

C’mom. Who Doesn’t Find a Digitally Image Edited Version of Marge Simpson with a Pearl Earing Vaguely Amusing??

Still, if all this image ‘enhancing’ cock and bull is good enough for the Royal Academy of Art (no less) to bring to the world’s attentions, then it definately gets the nod from DT. After all, those guys are an authority on all things arty. The actual embodiment of pretty much everything culturally significant. As well as being originally responsible for compiling this compendium, believe it or not.

Now, purists amongst you might argue that these lighthearted and whimsically/digitally image edited variations on seminal artistic themes are borderline blasphemous/offensive/insert your own ‘Angry from Manchester writes to complain’ letter HERE. While others might even pedantically debate the legitimacy of this ensemble being referred to as actual photo retouchings as such. Due to some of them appearing to having been afforded the old oil or watercolour treatment. But rest assured, they’ll have been digitally image edited to achieve these much-shared presentation values; trust us on this.

We know our swag.

Anyway, that’s all academic. Because what all 7 of these alt images are, is amusing. And distracting, during times which otherwise challenge/frustrate us (please see Trump’s hair above).

And there’s absolutely no harm in that. Plus, just HOW can the Cookie Monster EVER be considered anything if not entertaining? OK. And slightly irritating. And cookie obsessed. But let’s overlook that for the sake of this blog. And clickbait. Etc.

The Top 7 (in no semblence of order)

Digitally image edited interpreted vision of The Mona Lisa, feauturing Hollywood actor, Vin Diesel

Da VINci’s, ‘The Mona Lisa’ – Photo retouched in the medium of Vincent Diesel

We know not where nor whence it came kicking and screaming into this (virtual) world, or indeed; just which online photo manipulation person(s) was responsible for this Da VINci twist. Only that it cohabits are virtual spheres. Spinning out tee-shirts and various other merch since its almost immaculate conception. And which perpetuates the stock value of Leonardo’s masterpiece among the high command of duplicated – and sympathetically photo retouched – famous compositional pieces.

Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ – Photo retouched in the medium of Cookie Monster

According to the font of all social media knowledge that is Twitter, Sonny Malhotra was the photographer (and director of music videos and short films) who gave rise to ‘Sea is for Cookie’ back in 2013. And we love him dearly for it. Inspired by Japanese woodblock artist, Hokusai’s seminal view of Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain. Yet distantly depicted in this image and notably eclipsed by the towering presence of a colossal Cookie Monster wave.

Digitally image edited translation of 'The Birth of Venus' parody, featuring Miss Piggy

Sandro Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ – Photo retouched in the medium of Miss Piggy

Illustrated by The Muppet’s long-standing photographer, John E Barrett (and lifted from the hardback book temptingly entitled, ‘Miss Piggy’s Treasury of Art Masterpieces from the Kermitage Collection’), this much sought after, Pre-Raphaelite-inspired print is certainly an eyeful for fans of both Botticelli’s and, er, Jim Henson’s creations. And adds to the tally of parodies which ensure the original artist’s defining art makes this definitive list.

Digitally image edited parody of Da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'; created for Stormzy's album

Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ – Photo retouched in the medium of Stormzy

This digitally image edited album cover was captured and styled by photographer, John Ross, and appears on leading UK grime artist, Stormzy’s 2017 ‘Gang Signs and Prayer’ LP. Do the kids still call them LP’s?? Controversial, perhaps, what the creative team behind this photo retouched album artwork did was recreate one of the most revered biblical scenes. In a gangsta styley. Complete with balaclavas replacing bread. Having been parodied to within an inch of its natural over the years since Da main man, Vinci first painted it, this intensely moody and atmospherically-lit interpretation is wholly different than what’s gone before.

Digitally image edited parody of Van Gogh's 'Starry Night'; inspired by episode of Dr Who

Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ – Photo retouched in the medium of Tardis/Dr Who

Various digitally image edited sources can lay claim to first hallucinating this out-of-this-world concept. As you can discover for yourself simply by Googling ‘Van Gogh, ‘Starry Night’ – Tardis’. So the jury is still out on who the originator was, suffice to say a LOT of people have rolled with it since. All influenced by a particularly awesome episode of Dr Who which featured Vinnie himself, from the days when Matt Smith was (peerlessly) portraying the eponymous Time Lord. And that’s just ONE contemporary example of Van Gogh’s most famous composition being parodied left, right and centre.

Digitally image edited parody of Dali's Melting Clocks artwork; featuring fat cats

Salvador Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ (or ‘Melting Clocks’ to the rest of us) – Photo retouched in the medium of Fat Cats

Another instantly recognizable work of illustrative genius, this time from the past master of all things surreal and moustachioed, Dali. Only on this occasion the relentlessly parodied original offering has been sabotaged by chubby moggies hell-bent on lazing around. Courtesy of digital artist, Svetlana Petrova and her cat, Zarathustra. Who’s also inspired a number of other fine art parodies, for the record.

Digitally image edited parody of Andy Warhol's 'Marilyn' art work; influenced by Boris Johnson

Andy Warhol’s ‘Marilyn Monroe, 1967’ – Photo retouched in the medium of Boris Johnson

Pop Art pioneer and all-round creative svengali, Warhol famously declared that in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes, if you recall. For current UK PM, Boris Johnson, that 1968 prophecy is lasting a little longer than for most, it would seem. But politics aside, here he is as bold as brass in an amusing pastiche of Warhol’s ubiquitous work of art. Or rather, as digitally image edited/retold by British designer, Dm2 back in 2016. Designed in Photoshop for the project ‘Modern Renaissance 20’.

How very Rule Britannia. And just one example of why ‘Marilyn’ continues to be much parodied far and wide.

When Being a Digital Photo Retoucher Demands The Most Human of Touches

Removing People From Digital Photo Retouching Briefs, With a Sensitive Nature

What personal qualities do you need to become a digital photo retoucher?

You’ll be surprised, but we get asked this question a lot.

So, what do we tell those interested parties? People who we meet often tend to be genuinely intrigued by what we do for a living.

Well, we would habitually suggest that anyone considering becoming a digital photo retoucher benefits from the key attributes cited beneath. Not that we’d actively encourage anyone to pursue the same goal as us. As we’d be running the risk of creating healthy competition for our services, which would be counterproductive.

That being said, we’ve got two decades of online image editing experience behind us. 12 years under our belt elsewhere, and 8 years and counting with DT. So we’re not going to worry just yet. Nor for that matter divulge any secrets of the trade.

Plus, in all seriousness it would likely take anyone new to the photo retouching sector a good 20 years to play catch up with us. As Photo retouching is definately not an industry you can get up to speed with overnight.

If it was, everyone would be doing it. Providing the ‘everyone’ were equipped with the following credentials. Which we’ve cautiously itemised below in the name of impartiality;

Keen eye for detail

Creative intuition

Patience

Experience of customer service

Excellent grasp of image editing software packages

Yet there’s another hugely important aspect which any budding digital photo retoucher should possess. In abundance too, if they are serious about making a career from it. And it’s a personal quality not everyone might have realised.

However, we’d argue that having a ‘sensitive’ nature, demeanour and general disposition is something that should be found very high up a check list of the perfect digital photo retoucher’s DNA; if indeed there is such a thing.

Why It’s Imperative that Photo Retouchers Need to Adopt Sensitive Approach

Primarily because you’ll be dealing with some potentially delicate topics when speaking with would-be clients. Taking on board precisely what they’re looking for in their briefs. And by that, we’re not simply referring to the importance of client confidentiality. Despite that being an equally critical part of any digital photo retoucher’s role, it goes without saying.

No. We’re delving a little deeper than that.

Essentially talking about what can sometimes be very private, almost intimate subject matters. Conversations and dialogue around which can be difficult, challenging and incredibly soul-searching for both the client and the digital photo retoucher when asked to fulfil the client’s emotive brief.

Subsequently one has to exercise a degree of subtlelty, together with a measure of decorum from the get-go in these instances. Be it during early interactions with the client (and when determining the very nature of the brief) and of course, at every pivotal point once undertaking and ultimately seeing the work through to mutually satisfactory completion.

Certain Image Removal/adding Requests, Can Consist of Emotionally Edifying Elements

Conversely experiences such as these can be extremely rewarding and to many ends, life-affirming. Especially in a more spiritual way. As well as inadvertently presenting a compelling test of your photo manipulation skillset when conveying and delivering image editing wishes of such a personal complexion.

Let us explain just how and why.

Sensitivity and a thorough understanding of the client’s exacting needs are heightened when dealing with a significant percentage of object removal/addition requests. Especially when said objects happen to be of the human variety, and inevitably could be your client’s former partner, relative, friend or work colleague. Or someone who until that juncture, had played a significant role in their life and times. Until now, when – for want of a better word – you’re approached about digitally erasing said individual from your client’s life and times. Visually at least.

As it happens, this answers the second most popular question we routinely get asked as photo retouchers. After what personal attributes people need to enter the profession.

That poser being; “What is the one editing request we receive more than any other?”

To which we respond without any hesitation; “Image removal.” Or to be more eacting; ‘removing people from images’. With wedding photo retouching briefs being the area we encounter this enquiry the most.

Removing (or Adding) People from/to Images Challenges Both Talent and Mindset of Photo Retoucher

When moving on from important relationships, the act of aesthetically extracting someone from a photo can be a cathartic passage as part of the healing process. Irrespective of how matter of fact it might sound in this particular context. Rest assured, nobody will ever take this decision lightly or reach a conclusion without much deliberation. However life goes on. And sometimes we all need to reboot and start over. The only way we can do that, is to rid ourselves of otherwise inescapable pictorial reminders at every turn.

Tragically, in some circumstances removing objects from photos extends beyond the realms of relationship breakdowns. Effectivley crossing over into incredibly sad and intensely distressing emotional territories for all concerned.

There are times when a client has got in touch with us to ask if we could digitally edit images of a truly somber or more wistful aspect. Where the re-composing of a photo might include the removal of tubes from an infant in a hospital surround. So that the grieving parents can remember their baby the way every human should. And picture their newborns free from pain, clinical support and perceivably appearing as nature intended. Words cannot describe just how special this feels. If not the embodiment of bittersweet. To create the exact image clients in mourning for a lost loved one are searching for.

Being a People Person Is Key to Being Successful Photo Retoucher

This represents the time and place when projecting warmth, compassion, the utmost respect and unfaltering professionalism in terms of digital photo retouching briefs is paramount. And which arrives the very moment client requests are constructed around the heartfelt desire to either remove (or add) loved ones from/to certain photographic images.

Images of a highly sensitive nature which may involve a host of different personal challenges to a photo retoucher, yet ones which unequivocally mean the absolute world to the client. Requests that won’t have come easily to those doing the asking, given the very notion of the topic. The imagery and moreover, the individual narrative. Often focusing on poignant or painful stories which lie behind the photograph we’ve been handed.

For example we might be approached to photographically enhance an image in a way that sees a person who wasn’t present when the picture was originally taken. To seemingly look as though they were. And yes. We can be referring to juxtapositioning a recently deceased family member or close friend within an exisiting shot. With a view to reuniting, or purely reimagining, a moving scene.

There you have it then.

The art of either removing or adding objects (predominantly of the human variety) to images can take a photo retoucher on an unpredicted sentimental journey. Without them realising the enormity of it at first. And is therefore why we’d always highlight the need for a digital photo retoucher to possess a sensitive nature, above any other personal attributes. After all, the other qualities can be nurtured.

Incredible Wedding Photo Retouching Services Sees Late Fiance Appear in Bride’s Wedding Shots

Wedding photo retoucher imagines late fiance in bride's wedding photos

Wedding photo retouching services have the power to transform the way a bride looks. Not just that. But equally how they feel on their most important day. That much we do know here at Digital Touch. Where we ourselves are well versed in the art of applying digital techiques to the way in which we execute wedding photo enhanced briefs. And have long ensured brides receive the shots they envisaged from the outset. Especially when question marks hang over the original photographic captures. Which ultimately leads concerned brides to us.

Yet every once in a while, additional poignancy – and indeed, heartbreak – propels the craft of image editing into an entirely new stratopshere of human emotion. Episodes of which make the very nature of our digital wedding image retouching business all the more worthwhile. Not to mention, spiritually uplifting and rewarding from our perspective.

We work in an age where we’re often instructed to interchange different skies into the backdrops of wedding photos. Or alter the shadows and light in a picture. Perhaps remove (or conversely add) people from/to exisiting images. Providing wedding photo retouching services, we can truly relate to being gifted the visual opportunity to instil our practices for something even more meaningful. And way beyond the realms of our normal level of requests.

Realising One Brides’ Wedding Dream, Digital Photo Retoucher Makes The Impossible, Possible

As every bride will tell you, their wedding is the biggest day of their lives. Births, notwithstanding. Little else matters in the lead-up to what is, arguably amongst the most memorable gathering of family and friends in our lifetime. Let’s be honest. Everything else is pretty much put on hold as the date looms large.

That being said, unavoidable stresses and strains – together with various trials and tribulations – are par for the wedding course. Despite the best will (and forward planning) in the world. No matter how focused – and possibly blinkered – a bride is, as her special day approaches certain things still have the potential to go awry.

However all of the above pales into insignificance should fate deal the cruelest of blows to your scheduled nuptials.

Which is the scenario which tragically played out for one woman who, like many, was busy preparing for the day she’d dreamed about since she was a girl.

Visually Reuniting Bride With Her Recently Departed Fiance, Wedding Photo Manipulator Touches Hearts

Faced with the unthinkable, this bride-to-be had her world turned upside down when months before she was due to tie the knot, her fiance was killed in a motorbike accident. Understandably the woman was devastated by this shocking turn of events. Left reeling and seemingly unable to pick up the pieces in the immediate aftermath of this unprecedented loss.

Despite this, and during the passage of time which elapsed, something very precious emerged from something so horrific. Something which allowed the grieving bride to observe how both she and her fiance would have looked on their wedding day, if fate hadn’t dealt such a catastrophic blow.

Thanks to the undeniable power of wedding photo retouching technology, the would-be groom’s memory was digitally kept alive. Coupled of course, with the raw talents of an experienced wedding image editing professional.

Said prodigiously skilled and detail-orientated individual possessed the creative tenacity and emotive werewithawl to photographically wed the beautiful bride with her late fiance. And illustratively work with the tools at their disposal. In tandem with the priceless photos the bride supplied them with.

When Wedding Photo Retouching Creates Even Greater Miracles for a Bride

The resultant wedding photoshoot took place in the Arizona desert. With the bride choosing her long-standing actual wedding day in which to share the stunning shots. Unsurprisingly coverage of this tear-jerking occasion went viral soon after. Subsequently touching the hearts of a global audience.

Such is the reach of the internet.

Proudly – and bravely – the bride wore the gorgeous wedding dress she’d planned to all along.

For their part, the wedding photo retoucher digitally manipulated images of the bride’s late fiance into the intensely moving pictures, post-shoot. Superimposed into the carefully choreographed wedding shots, each photo sought to capture the almost transparent groom lovingly enveloping his bride-to-be.

Restoring an aesthetic which otherwise might never have been pictorially manifest, this incredible example of digital wedding photo retouching underlines just how far our sector has come. Just a few decades earlier, the image enhancing possibility to create this lasting impression simply wouldn’t have existed.

Product Photo Retouching Tricks: The White and Wrong (Backgrounds)

We’re big fans of white backgrounds, you can tell straight away simply by taking a look around our product photo retouching pages. Where you’ll immediately share our vision(s) in white. And note our own product photo retouching tricks.

Not that we’re alone in thinking digitally-enhanced images are brought into sharper focus/leap off the page when juxtapositioned (yeah, we said that) with a plain white photo-manipulated backdrop.

Sorry, did someone just mention a certain online ecommerce giant which is considered among the big four global tech companies and was founded by Forbes’ current number 1 billionaire??

OK. We’re about to address the elephant in the room. And trust us, it’s a sizeable one. But definately not a white elephant. Or is it?

Yeah, Christmas is just around the corner. Well, once we’ve got Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night out of the way.

And the run-up to the big day usually means one particular tradition for millions of us.

Forget all about slowly roasting chestnuts, a cheery rotund bloke getting wedged in your chimney and sourcing a Norwegian Spruce at least 10 feet taller than your neighbour’s. Because Christmases for the past few years have meant one thing, and one thing alone. After another riotus Black Friday, of course.

And it’s got precious little to do with celebrating religious symbolism and presenting gifts of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh to that someone special either. Although a small, bald dude named Jeff puts in a fleeting appearance in our ecommerce nativity play (on words) here.

We Don’t Know About You, But Digital Product Photo Retouchers Have Long Dreamt of Enjoying a White Christmas

If you enjoy browsing Amazon for bargains as much as we do, then it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that the majority of the items you run the rule over are photographed on a veritable sea of white. For ‘majority’, read ‘all’.

It’s the law, you see.

Well, according to Amazon it is. Which stipulates that anyone advertising/selling goods via Mr Bezos’s multi billion ecommerce juggernaut adheres to its well-documented code of conduct. Which categorically states that under no circumstances whatsoever must sellers photographing a product they’re keen to find a new home for digress from the hard and fast white background rule.

Them’s the rules.

Listen.

You’ve heard of white noise, plain white tee-shirts, those cliffs near Dover, Billy Idol’s white wedding and the White House. But what about white space? And acres of the stuff at that. It makes for some seriously impressive product photo retouching tricks, put it that way.

Like the TV Room in Mr Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, if you like. Only on our laptop (and or handheld device screens). Think smartphone and tablet. Which, incidentally, Mike TV might, hypothetically be teleported and pixelated into in a weird art imitating life way we’ve just thought of.

But, they might be on to something.

Who, you ask?

Amazon, of course. And like them, we’re partial to white spaces here at DT as we mentioned earlier. As you can see from the sizeable margins of white background discovered on our website. Designed to let the visuals be prominent. And the same ethos can be applied to product photo retouching services if you think about it. The more white space directly behind any item results in said item we’re meant to be focusing our undivided attentions on standing out, obviously. It’s not exactly rocket science, yet as a simplistic ploy can have the desired effect with minimum fuss.

Admittedly there are certain objects that should never be seen floating in vast swathes of white space. Like for example, people’s heads (although we briefly overlooked this for Jeff). Which would look a bit disconcerting to be honest. Yet just about anything else you care to think of would significantly benefit from being captured stealing the limelight/spotlight on their todd. Think irons, chairs, cars, coats, bags, shoes, tables, cushions, doors, jewellery etc. Just about ANY digitally-enhanced product photo lends itself to being captured against a clinically white backdrop.

Product Photo Retouching. White On, Dude!

The bottom line is us humans tend to be easily distracted creatures, who often spend just as much time exploring background imagery as we do foreground. However the longer we spend staring into relative (cyber) space, the less time we’re actually keeping our eyes on the prize, so to speak. Which explains why various other sectors have began jumping on the same Amazon bandwagon in recent times.

Car dealerships are just one of a growing number of industries which have cottoned on to the underlying fact that less equals more, from a visual perspective, when concentrating efforts on the real deal. Or new cars, to be precise. Which is why we’re seeing more new (and used) vehicles pictured against a neutral, non-descript (and yes, even plain white background) of late. In a bid to emphasise the product as much as is physically possible. Gone are the days of cars being shot against a row of other ‘dealer specials’, outside the dealership. Or worse still; around the corner and set amid an industrial heartland of warehouses.

Instead automotive retailers have taken their advertising cues from Amazon et al, and wised up to seperating the wheat from the chaff; so as not to dilute the primary focus. Or whatever other Ford model the dealer is trying to flog that week.

Product Photo Retouching Tricks Include Total White Out

We receive countless briefs from clients asking for their product photos to have the background edited out. And yes, in many cases whited out completely to visually enhance the presence of the item/object/product which is important to them individually. Be it the abovementioned iron, chair, car, coat, bag, shoes, table, cushions, door, jewellery etc.

Many of whom may wish for their products to be showcased on Amazon. The company stresses that – and we quote – images must have a pure white background. Pure white is RGB levels of 255,255,255. Even products that are photographed against a white backdrop will require retouching to meet this requirement.’

Wow. Life and soul.

That last sentence is where DT comes into play, however.

Amazon DIDN’T Actually Invent the Wheel After All! Nor White Backgrounds (But They Might Kinda Own Them)……

Shock, horror!

It may come as a surprise to learn, but for decades now professional photographers have shot various subject matters in front of plain white backgrounds. Like on catalogue and fashion photoshoots, for example. So basically Amazon itself has just jumped onboard an existing bandwagon and utilized a visual mantra that’s long been a thing before the advent of the internet. And therein, online retailing. And ecommerce. And tried to patent the concept of late.

Yup. US Patent No 8,676,045 as it happened, back in 2014. Which ruffled a lot of creative feathers, let us assure you. But it’s not like Amazon now own all white product photo retouching backgrounds. As at the end of the day there’s more than enough to go round for all of us.

Digital Photo Retouching services Raise SEO-filled Glass As Google Turns 21 (but not neccesarily toasting Google)

Google 21st birthday, digital photo retouching services

Like any business operating in cyberspace, digital image editing services like ours rely on (ever-changing) SEO best practices and protocol to thrive. For digital photo retouching services, it can be tantamount to our online lifeblood. And should never be underestimated in terms of power and potential reach.

But where did it all start? Who invented SEO? Was it actually Google as we all assume? Not that we’re suggesting putting its birthday celebrations on hold….

And just WHERE would we all be without Google? If indeed we can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that Google single-handedly invented SEO, eh?

Well, we’re given to believe that the internet search engine monolith practically invented* the organic discipline technically known as SEO. Had it not, then personally, DT – like most 21st Century digital photo retouching services might not actually be found anywhere. Simply due to page ranking, more of which later. And that’s because we exist – and conduct our business – primarily in cyberspace.

Despite sometimes feeling like you need a PhD in Applied Science, Biometrics, Mathematics, Marketing, Computer Science there’s no denying that the exacting art of SEO is a beautiful thing to behold once you master it. Which in terms of digital photo retouching services, we consider ourselves past masters at. As do Google.

And it’s no different what online sector you ply your trade in either. As SEO has always been a dominant force to be reckoned with, and continues to play a pivotal role in leading clients to websites. Just as much as paid search is an equally significant means to a similar end. And again, a virtual division which sees Google dominate thanks to its ubiquitous AdWords. Or Google Ads, as it’s recently been rebranded.

Backrub, original Google search engine name from 1997

Google Celebrates its 21st, Reminding Digital Photo Retouching Services Sector Just How Far SEO Has Come

On the note of evolution – and to celebrate Google’s coming of age party – Google has taken us all on a trip down (64 bit) memory lane this week. By way of dusting off its very first search engine home screen page. At a time when competition for search engine monopolising was still very much up for grabs. Courtesy of Lycos, Alta Vista, Yahoo, Excite, Alltheweb, Infoseek and Ask Jeeves. If you happen to have any nerdish recollections of any of Google’s nearest rivals who fell by the information superhighwayside. Inadvertently leaving the path clear for the destined daddy of them all to reign supreme.

Cast your minds back to 1998 anyway. That was the year that Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google. Only it was originally called ‘Backrub’, which didn’t quite have the same impact. Alas they couldn’t Google an alternative just yet. And let’s be honest here. Backrub probably wouldn’t have become a verb if they’d stuck with it.

Apparently Google’s moniker was chosen because of the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes. In an attempt to reflect the fact the pair were ambitiously attempting to organise all the information in the world. Literally (and numerically) EVERYTHING.

Like a giant online library.

Google Wise-up and Go On To Devise SEO and Immediately Own the Internet. Kind Of…

Although Google experienced something of a sketchy start according to experts in this sort of thing. Nevertheless everyone agreed that it had the makings of being the most powerful search engine on the internet. And from this potential behemoth rose search engine optimization. Which essentially, for the uninitiated, is a series of virtual tools which manipulate the system by which websites (and their landing pages) are ranked. In the instant that a web browser/human keys in specific search terms.

Soon after Google realised that algorithms were relatively easy to get a handle on. Subsequently being tweaked by every man and their Lycos dog. Google promptly wised up and began pushing out updates to their predominant algorithm. Adding extra-curricular new factors, these techy adaptations started punishing sites that were just out to make a killing by ranking high in the SERPs (search engine results page). And the rest is history, right?

Not quite.
UK rock band, Jefferson Starship, whose manager may have accidently invented search engine optimization
Algo-rhythm

But Wait a Minute. Didn’t I Read Somewhere That Google DIDN’T Invent SEO? And That a 70s Rock Band’s Manager Did By Accident?

Hmmm. This statement isn’t without foundation, we’ll give you that much.

And events circulating around this counter claim took place just a year earlier in 1997. When the manager of (by then) long-in-the-tooth American rock band, Jefferson Starship blew a fuse. Incidentally the band was born out of the disbanded Jefferson Airplane, for any pop pickers out there. It was the manager who accidently created the birth of a new field that grew to become search engine optimization as we know and smell it today.

Let us explain.

Said rock band manager was incandescent with rage on discovering that the official Jefferson Starship website (as was, in 1997) ranked on page 4 of some unnamed search engine at the time. As opposed to the top of page 1. Especially as geek folklore has it that he was in the midst of negotiating a deal for the band with a club promoter. While on tour at 3am and failing to remember the url of the website.

Far be it from us to imply that alcohol consumption might have played its role in this momentary lapse of memory. Anyway, all that we do know is that he wanted to impress the would-be promoter with this hip new web presence. So instead typed in the appropriate details into a search engine. Only to embarassingly scroll through 4 pages before finding the site.

So, Sounds Like Google CAN’T Claim the SEO Bragging Rights After All Then…

Cue an ensuing (and frank) telephone exchange in the early hours between Jefferson Starship’s manager and the Senior Vice President of Audience Development at website creator, Cybernautics. Suffice to say the next morning Cybernautics big wigs called an immediate and extraordinary AGM. Where they bluntly had explained to them their important client’s beef. Followed by instructions to every member of staff to drop everything they had on that day. Roll up their sleeves – in a serving Health Minister visiting a hospital fashion – and then master the art of search engine ranking. Making it the company’s number one priority henceforth.

A quick trawl on a search engine (don’t forget, we’re talking about 12 months before Google was invented), and Cybernautics’ IT movers and shakers realised this. That search engine rankings were determined by just how many times the keyword appeared on an individual web page. And that in relation to Jefferson Starship, dedicated fans pages cited the band’s name on more occassions that the band’s official website did. And was the reason that the latter fell some way/pages below.

Ergo some instant – and far-reaching – ‘optimising’ was desperately required so as to propel the band’s official online presence to the top of the pre-Google search engine charts. Hence SEO was born and a whole new industry/way of web life followed.

And why you’re reading this particular piece of content here and now. Possibly….

*OK. It sounds like Cybernautics were responsible for inventing SEO, and not Google as first thought