Most people don’t realize how common it is for businesses to use photoshopped images to make their photographs look professional and illustrate their product or services as well as possible. It’s a common misconception that Photoshop is only used to make stick thin models look even thinner, creating impossible ideals of beauty. The reality is that Photoshop is an everyday tool used to remove photographic flaws from pictures to make them workable.

With anything from blogging & social media to simply keeping up-to-date with marketing trends, it’s common practice for businesses to instruct designers to retouch images using Photoshop. Simple, honest image improvements are standard practice for making sure your business looks its best.

Standard Photo Edits Include:

Cropping and Removing Distractions

Make sure your images hone in on the action, cropping in on the subject matter will make you photographs more direct and communicative. Distractions such as the road signs dilute the message, removing them helps keep the viewers attention.

  • Changing the crop alters the focal point and often improves the composition of an image.
  • Losing the background clutter, such as road signs helps the audience stay focused on the subject.

Retouching images of  Specific People or Events

There are many reasons why clients want to edit images taken by amateur photographers. It’s often the case that the picture features a specific person or event, such as a trade show or training day. The images are unique, businesses want to use the photographs but they don’t want to look unprofessional.

  • Adjusting the brightness can bring back details that have been lost by flash photography.
  • Removing perspective distortion by straightening the vertical lines make the walls and door frame look upright rather than leaning.

Enhancing Images of Buildings

It’s common for photographs of buildings to be flawed by perspective distortion, less than ideal weather conditions at the time of the shoot or simply random clutter. Most images you see on real estate sites have been photoshopped. Typical edits include, verticals corrected to appear upright, gloomy lighting brightened, and cropping to remove unsightly items.

  • Correcting perspective distortion on buildings
  • Editing the brightness and contrast
  • Removing distractions, such as parts of the tree

Retouching Photographs Supplied by Customers

If a company wants to create a review about their product, it’s not uncommon to use photographs taken and supplied by a customer. I’m often asked to edit out items such as laundry baskets, trash dumpsters or clutter, such as the microwave and counter top items.

Creating Head Shot Images from Existing Photographs

Busy professionals often find themselves in need of a head shot but don’t have time to schedule a shoot with a photographer. A frequent client request is to create head shot images from regular snapshots. I have also used this technique to create a consistency between several images for a group of team photographs.

  • Sometimes it’s possible to remove the background of an image to create cut outs of people or products.
  • Adjustments can be made to warm the skin tone which can appear washed out by flash photography. I wouldn’t recommend altering someones appearance too much, but I think it’s okay to remove imperfections created by the photographic process, or distractions which are temporary, such as a stray hair, or creases in a shirt.


I’m often asked to create mock-ups, most of the time it’s something that does, or will exist but getting a photograph of the item is difficult, such as a book that’s in the process of being published.

I often create website mock-ups which look like a working website but in reality they are just images, it’s a good way to work through ideas and concepts in a purely visual, cost-effective way without editing the code.

  • Mock-ups are created by using multiple image layers to montage photographs and graphic elements together.