Retouchup Blog

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

raw vs jpeg (1)

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!

r e t o u c h u p . c o m

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!