Retouching means lots of things to different people. Someone who's interested in fashion may think about the type of high-end glamour retouching that's used for magazine covers. Another person who's interested in photographing landscapes may think of retouching in terms of removing unwanted image content, such as a small sign or litter. In this chapter, you learn exactly what retouching is, and how to use a common set of tools and techniques to accomplish almost any retouching task you're faced with.
In the most basic sense, retouching is minimizing a weakness in an image by removing it. For example, if you have a great photo, but there's something objectionable in the scene, you can simply remove it — whether it's a pimple or a sign.
The funny thing, however, is that when you remove a distraction from a photo, you don't actually remove it; you cover it up with something else. So retouching is actually a process of copying pixels from a good part of the image and then painting them over unwanted parts of the image.
Naturally you want to create the best photos you can at the time the shutter clicks. However, that's not always possible due to things that are out of your control, or outside of your photographic experience. If you have one of those good-to-great images, but it has a minor flaw, isn't it nice to know that the photo can still be great after a bit of retouching?
The two photos in Figure 10.1 show a nice example ...