How far can retouching go?
The question of the aesthetics in industrial photography retouching will certainly never be answered exactly or the associated limits can be defined. Of course, advertising also deals with the same issue, especially in the fashion and cosmetics industries. While the customer here today basically knows that the flawless beauty of the models is manipulated, this is not the case in industrial photography. Customers usually assume that they are seeing a realistic picture.
Since my clients are concerned with transporting an image and thus ultimately marketing products, I also believe that massive interference with reality is legitimate. Of course, on the condition that they appear believable to the viewer. Here I would like to use an example from the field to show just how demanding the wishes of my clients can be.
The initial photo shows a picture of a factory gate shortly after sunset in autumn. My client criticized various soilings by exhaust soot at the check-in house and an unspectacular sky. In addition, it would look as if it’s already closing time. Whether I could help a little bit more and give the photo more drama, that was the question and thus the default. But in the end the customer decided to have a less dramatic sky…
- Original photo unprocessed
- Sky, road markings, dispatch booth
- Two trucks, open barrier, front lawn on the left, asfalt
- Normalized alternative