Retouchup Blog

Color Correction Division

By Gary Poole Color Division manager


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If you have never used our color correction division let me give you some reasons to consider using this convenient and time saving service.

Nearly every image we take, even in the best lighting conditions, can be improved through some kind of post capture color editing. Our reputation is on the line with every session we deliver so the images we show should be of pleasing natural color and exposure.

Excellence in color rendition will set us apart from the casual shooter and show our clients that we are serious about our craft.

Braces Removal

 Do you remember the day that braces on a high school senior almost guaranteed a small order with a promise to return after they had been removed?  Braces are no longer a problem thanks to the magic of digital retouching. For only $5.00 you can have those braces removed to reveal a beautiful natural smile.


The Benefits of Shooting RAW
by Gary Poole, Color Division Manager

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RAW versus JPEG is an ongoing debate among professional photographers. The discussion can get as emotional as disputing Ford versus Chevy, Yankees versus Dodgers or Nikon versus Canon.  The truth is in some situations JPEG is perfectly fine while in other situations shooting RAW is the better option.  While many people argue that RAW files take up so much room on a card or a hard drive it would be wise to put this in proper perspective.

Image storage has never been cheaper. Consider that a 3 TB external hard drive that can hold countless thousands of RAW plus JPEG images is less than $100.00 and that a 32 GIG CF card is also less than $100.00 and both still cost less than the typical price of 20 rolls of professional film. For me file size is a very minor consideration.

As a color editor I would like to concentrate on the superior ability we have to properly color balance RAW files as well as the flexibility to recover highlight details that are overexposed. JPEGS contain less data than the RAW file and overexposure of more than 1/3 stop and incorrect white balance cannot always be adjusted to a natural color and texture.

In photo 1 the white point of this RAW image is extremely yellow. If the only file saved was a JPEG it would be unusable as a normal portrait. See the adjusted JPEG file compared to the corrected RAW file (I had both files).

Photo 1 (1)

In photo 2 the original RAW file was a bit overexposed and there is loss of detail in the whites and the background area. The corrected RAW file shows good detail in both regions while the adjusted JPEG is still blocked up lacking any texture and detail.  Also note how the flesh tone is blotchy in the adjusted JPEG.     

Photo 2

We created the Color Correction Division over 2 years ago to offer a low cost option for your RAW conversion with fast turnaround time, usually 36 hours or less. Since very few labs offer a RAW file conversion service this is a very economical way to get the best color and exposure possible from your RAW files. We return HI-RES jpegs or .xmp files on request.

Imagine the benefits of having color corrected files. You can create a new retouching order right from these JPEGS. There is even a way to create a new order in our system without even having to download the new files.  You can also use multiple labs for different products and have color and density that is a virtual match. Also most labs give a substantial price break for pre-corrected color.

We realize that color preference is very personal so we created a unique color profile system that allows us to have your images and a description of your preferences stored in our database. See Photo 3. You can select this color profile each time you upload a color correction order. This way your color tone and exposure stay more consistent no matter which color artist is working on your order.

Photo 3

If you have never used our color correction service you have 25 FREE corrections in your account automatically. We invite you to test us out. If you have never shot RAW you may want to consider this option.

If you have any specific questions regarding our color correction service or about RAW files or how we can help you integrate color correction into your workflow, please contact me directly.

Thanks so much for using



Find out what it means to me! 
-RTU Customer 
*sung to the tune of Respect by Aretha Franklin

We want to find out exactly what R-E-T-O-U-C-H-U-P means to you! offers 3 retouching levels: Complete Retouch, Complete Plus and Special Services. 99% of our work falls under ‘Complete Retouch’ which covers anything that is extremely typical with portraits and wedding photography: Stray hairs, facial shine, blemishes, whitening of teeth or eyes, bags under eyes, sensor dust, chipped props, etc. Although all of those issues are covered under the Complete Retouch, we know that every photographer and studio has their own sense of improvements they would like to see on their images. So we rely on you to let us know what RETOUCHUP means to you, so we can tailor our service, as much as possible to your specific studio preferences.

After upload you will find an option under Workflow Tools called ‘Default Retouch Notes’ which lets you specify your retouching preferences one time and automatically list what you want for each order. It can then be edited for a specific order if one of your regular preference doesn’t apply.

Happy Uploading! If you have any questions on any RTU services let us know. We are here to help!


Tips on Giving Retouching Instructions is a family owned, multi-cultural company with headquarters located in American Fork, Utah and retouchers located in Lima, Peru. We also serve pro photographers from around the world! With that in mind we wanted to post some tips for retouching instructions that can help our retouchers better understand your needs and in return provide you with the best service possible!

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Use as few words as possible to convey the message. By being short and specific, the instructions will be easier to understand and follow.

Example: The mother was not very happy with her daughter Sarah that day, and she feels that her expression does not look natural in image 21, so she requested that we use the girls head from image 23 where she is sitting next to her grandpa.

Better: Use #21 as the main image. Swap head from little girl in pink from image #23.

Avoid using language that is not universally known. Descriptive words can mean different things to different people.

Example: Saying “Remove the fizzy spots” can translate to something else and the retoucher might not understand what “fizzy” means to you.

Better: Saying “Remove spots from clothing.”

When referring to a person or object in photo that might have a lot going on in it, indicate “Photograph Right” or “Photograph Left” This way the artist knows it’s their right not the subjects right.

Example: Please remove the groomsman on the right.

Better: Please remove the groomsman on photograph right.

Consider if a reference photo is needed. 

For instance: Please remove the ring bearer from in front of the bride so we can see detail in the gown. In this case without a photo of the gown we wouldn’t be able to fill this request.

Consider the feasibility of the request. 

Sometimes photos come in with requests that us just being shy of magicians, we aren’t able to fix or retouch. We want to… we really want to! But we simply can’t.

For instance: Please turn the grandmother’s head 90 degrees so she is looking at the group. Also we know she is in the shade but can you make it look she is in studio light. And if you could change her apron to the one she used to have. (sorry no photo available.)


We love working with you and appreciate your business. We hope these retouching instruction tips help insure that the upload process is easier and faster for you as well as helping our retouchers give you the best service possible!

RTU Tutorial: How to Mark a Reference Photo

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When it comes to retouching, while you may regularly send in one unretouched image and need one retouched image in return, occasionally you will need to send in reference photos for head/body swaps, or sample photos to show a particular effect you want. In these cases, you need a way to mark a photo as “Reference Only”.

To send reference photos, simply upload them along with the rest of your order using the regular order process. Once all photos have been uploaded, click “Refresh Uploaded Images”. You will then see the thumbnails for all uploaded images. You can then mark a photo as a reference photo by toggling the green “Retouch” button below any reference photos to say “Reference Only” (it will then change to red).

The Reference Photo Tool makes it easy for you to use for head swaps, adding or removing people, or even changing background. ( charges just $5.00 for head swaps, which INCLUDES a complete portrait retouch. Adding/removing people or background changes are just $10.00).

If you need additional assistance or have questions on your orders please feel free to contact us via email or by phone 1-888-700-3686.

We are more than happy to help!



Pro Photographer Spotlight: Ann Monteith

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We recently have had the pleasure of getting to better know Ann Monteith who has so many wonderful accolades behind her name including being a past president of PPA, owning three successful photography studios and running workshops where she teaches fellow photographers the many ins and outs of successfully running a photography business.

Ann is truly an industry leader and we hope you enjoy getting to know Ann and pick up some great business wisdom like we did during our interview with her!

“Once upon time there was time.” Ann said when I asked her why it was so important that a photographer outsources to be able to grow as a business. She explained that a photographer traditionally thinks that because they work for them self they often think they need to do all the work by themselves and that there is just not enough time to do that. “Well, there is enough time…” She continued, “But if you do use your time like that, your photography business will simply not be profitable.”

Ann then filled me on her experience, where she started, how she struggled, and how she gained control of her photography business. In the 1980’s her and her husband started a portrait photography studio and enjoyed it very much. Soon they realized however that they were in debt, bills were piling up, and even though they had business coming in they were losing money. Ann and her husband didn’t understand how that could be, being that they were working so hard and her husband even had an MBA. “We soon realized that even though he had an MBA it was structured to support a person working for somebody else, not yourself.”

Ann began to search out for others in the photography world who could help, give advice and teach more about how to run your photography business as… a business. Learning from the greats like Bud Haines and Ken Whitemire, Ann could see how much other photographers would benefit from having more business education. After becoming president of PPA, Professional Photographers of America, Ann was really able to focus on providing all the business and financial management skills she had learned to others on a large scale, really turning around how studios viewed their profit making ability.

We then discussed how the film to digital change has impacted how studios thought of outsourcing all over again. She explained how back in the day a photographer only took 20 – 30 photos during a session, (another word of advice to being profitable these days says Ann, “Stop shooting so much!”) then they went back to their darkroom, developed the images, made prints, and then delivered them to the client.

From shooting to showing, the photographer had about 2 weeks to work, edit, create and learn.  But photographers soon realized that being stuck in a darkroom, processing and printing themselves was not profitable at all. They learned that the better solution was for them to keep shooting and outsource their darkroom work to photo labs. “You can’t be doing what someone else can do better and certainly more efficient if you intend to make money in this business.” Being stuck in a darkroom 20 years ago is now the equivalent of being stuck behind your computer. Then Ann commented, “It has the same outcome – you are losing aspects of success when you don’t outsource.”

We also discussed why some photographers are reluctant to outsource. As Ann travels across the country offering Business and Financial Management Workshops for photographers that very subject often comes up. Ann talked about how 95% of those that don’t think they should outsource are clinging to controlling everything in regards to their photographs. In reality, she concluded, they are controlling nothing. Others say why they don’t want a retouching service is because they don’t like “the photoshop” look. Ann learned what they really mean is they want a “natural, polished look” and they are afraid others won’t have the same eye or understanding.

Ann said, “It’s really important to understand when you are outsourcing your work to another in the industry, it’s not about you just giving them work, but you are now working with them.” She talked about how important it is to keep communicating instructions, ideas, and opinions as you work with one another to keep business moving forward and successful. Some photographers get hung up on outsourcing because they feel their clients expect them to handle everything from start to finish. “Clients should expect an excellent finished product, how we as photographers get there is unimportant. What is important is that our time needs to be used wisely. And wisely means it needs to be profitable.”

At the end of our conversation Ann said something that really stood out to us, “We call ourselves professional photographers not because it sounds great to the ears, but because this is a business. A professional business.” If you’re not profitable that doesn’t make your photography a hobby, but it does mean that with the right business and financial management along with outsourcing, you can be!

Thank you for your time Ann! We really appreciate all your insight on the photography business!

For more information on Ann Monteith and her “Get Down to Business” workshops click here!

Pro Photographer Spotlight: Welcome Them Home

Photography by Bethany Cox

Since July 4th is this Friday we thought it would only be right to point the spotlight on Welcome Them Home. This meaningful service, put together in 2011 by Bethany Cox of Bethany & Dan Photography, is made up entirely of a network of pro photographers who have volunteered their services free of charge to document soldiers returning home to their families.

One thing we really appreciate about Welcome Them Home is how much the photographs capture the spontaneous and heartfelt emotions the families and soldiers have when they see each other for the first time after being apart for so long.

On Welcome Them Home’s Facebook Page you can witness photographers work from around the country and how it shows that everyone can help in supporting our troops even if you’re not in the military. Photographer Asea Tremp shared here thoughts with Welcome Them Home saying,

“As a photographer, and a business owner, I have always felt that it is important to use my talent to give a little something back wherever I can. To shoot simply for the joy of shooting, and not because it is my “job.” This helps me keep in tune with why I love photography and keeps my inspired to create for others. When I first stumbled upon Welcome Them Home I just knew it was something I wanted to be a part of, and the experience has been nothing but incredible. My husband is a Marine veteran and we spent the first couple of years of our married life together as a military family, so supporting our troops, especially our Marines, is something personal for me. It is such a blessing to be asked by a family to share their special homecoming moments with them, and it is a privilege to be tasked with the responsibility of capturing it on film.”

If you would like more information on how you or your studio can share your talent and work in these joyous homecomings go to!

Thanks Bethany for letting us share your story!

Why Wait?



Recently I went to my local Starbucks to enjoy a cup of my favorite brew, Pike Place Roast, and observed at least 18 cars waiting in the drive thru line. As I drove around the building I observed that there was NO ONE WAITING inside. After I went inside and ordered my coffee I asked the barista why so many people chose to stay in their cars when no one was in line inside. He replied, “I guess some people just like to wait.” Well I am not one of those people.

At we don’t make you wait. Our typical turnaround time for most services is 24 hours or less which means you can spend your valuable time on things that makes you the most profit. Simply upload your files through our easy upload method, select your desired service and relax knowing your files are in the skilled hands of our talented artists. Before you know it your images will be ready to download.

The next time you see a long drive thru line, think about and our super fast delivery time.

Gary Poole


Photo Quiz Contest!

We’re launching a big Quiz Contest to put your knowledge to the test all in the name of photography! Three winners will be chosen by the highest scores to receive Gift Cards!


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Here’s how to enter:

  • Like on Facebook.
  • Take our Photography Quiz! You have 10 questions to score as many points as possible. Invite your friends and earn +25 extra points for each referred entry (up to 125).

*Limit one entry per person. You must have a Facebook account, like on Facebook, and complete the quiz in order to enter this giveaway. Winners will receive one of three gift cards to be used at future orders. Value: 1st Place $100, 2nd Place $50, 3rd Place $25 based on their quiz score total. Giveaway closes June 20, 2014, at midnight MST. Winners will be selected at end of contest and announced on June 23, 2014.  Click here for official contest rules.


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