All about Headshot Retouching

Headshot retouching determines how professional and polished your headshot looks (examples below).

Every headshot you receive from Rebecca Little Photography is retouched.

It’s included in the price of your headshot.

My studio is in Pasadena, CA and I focus on branding, headshots, and portraits for women.

This is a side-by-side image of a headshot client of Rebecca Little Photography showing the before and after of headshot retouching. On the left is a beautiful image of the client before headshot retouching and the image on the left is after headshot retouching. I have softened her skin, removed fine lines, reduced facial redness, and enhanced the blue of her eyes. There is a noticeable difference, but she still looks like her self. You don't want to overdo retouching because you want to look natural and you want your headshot to be recognizable
(Above) Before and after headshot retouching examples by Rebecca Little Photography

The difference between editing and headshot retouching

An image that comes straight out of a camera usually needs editing. This process is an all-over, global adjustment and is referred to as a “clean edit”. It’s like prepping the canvas before painting and includes

  • Correcting any color cast
  • Adjusting the contrast
  • Making the blacks a rich black
  • Making the whites clean and bright
  • Correcting exposure

Headshot retouching goes one step further

Professional headshot retouching takes the clean edited image and refines it. It’s like you’ve moisturized your face and applied the serums and now it’s time to apply your makeup.

Retouching removes some imperfections and reduces others to make them less noticeable.

My standard facial headshot retouching procedure is to

  • Remove blemishes
  • Enhance the catchlights in the eyes (The catchlight is the light that reflects from the eye and makes it look alive and sparkling. Eyes without a catchlight look dull.)
  • Remove signs of sun damage
  • Reduce smile lines. The point is to be subtle, so you don’t want the lines removed completely.
  • Reduce wrinkles
  • Remove dark circles under the eyes
  • Lessen eye bags. You shouldn’t remove the lines below the eyes completely because it looks unnatural. I want you to look like yourself, but like you just returned from the most relaxing vacation ever.
  • Bring out eye color and whiten the sclera (SCLEAR-uh, the white part of the eye)
  • Reduce the redness and clean up any noticeable broken capillaries from rosacea. Some people, especially men, have overly red skin and a ruddy complexion. This can become more obvious in a photograph. I have professional software that shows me where there is extra redness in the skin and makes it easy to correct it.

Most people will see your headshot on LinkedIn or on your website where it’s pretty small, so some of these imperfections are not super obvious. But it’s always a good idea to have your headshot retouched in case it is ever displayed larger.

Here are two images that show the before and after of headshot retouching This client is wearing a beautiful bright blue - almost teal - blouse with decorative edging around the collar. The sun is streaming through the window behind her and surrounding her with the most flattering bright light. It creates a halo around her hair. Her hair is red and cropped short. She's wearing large silver hoop earrings. Her skin is pale. During the retouching, i smoothed her skin, reduced facial redness, lessened the bags under her eyes, whitened her teeth, and smoothed her hair. This headshot was taken by Rebeca Little Photography in Pasadena, CA.
(Above) Before and after retouching examples by Rebecca Little Photography

Retouching makes a world of difference

Besides the face, my retoucher also give attention to your neck and arms and hands.

Retouching for neck, arms, and hands includes

  • Smoothing skin
  • Removing redness
  • Removing sun damage. A lot of us have a sun-damaged area on our necks from wearing V-necked shirts. Even if you wear sunblock religiously, this area receives a lot of sun and is prone to sun damage. I remove the redness and blend so there’s no visible area.
  • Reducing the size of veins. As we age, our veins become more noticeable, especially in our hands. They shouldn’t be removed completely (again, because we’re going for a natural look) but I can make them less noticeable.

Most people want to look like themselves, but the best version of themselves.

You want your headshot to be recognizable. It’s your professional calling card. A headshot that’s too heavily redone is just as frowned upon as a headshot that’s over 5 years old.

Some extra magic sprinkled in

A fun thing I like to is add a bit of volume to hair. It’s subtle, but in the headshot below you can see the slight difference it makes. If you have long hair, I usually have a fan going during the session to give movement to the hair and create a “cover girl” look. It adds energy and a modern magazine look to your headshot

We can also slim arms just a bit, tuck in the waist or minimize a double chin. Ask about my Magic Wand retouching – lose 10 years and 10 lbs.

Before and after photos showing headshot retouching on female client photographed by Rebecca Little Photography/ Sandee has beautiful thick light brown hair with golden highlights. It is being blown with a fan that's just off camera. She has pale skin and a generous smile. She's wearing a dark blue sleeveless dress with large pink and white flowers. There are two photos. One shows before retouching and one shows after retouching. Headshot retouching is important to present a flattering image. We have removed blemishes and reduced skin redness. Her hair has been smoothed and fluffed out a bit. We slimmed her upper arm and removed red spots. These imperfections are present in everyone.Headshot retouching gives a polished look to the finished product.
(Above) Before and after headshot retouching examples by Rebecca Little Photography

I’ll ask you how much retouching you’d like

We’ll discuss retouching once you’ve selected your favorite images.

Almost all women opt for my basic headshot retouching and they’re happy with the results. If you want anything additional, I’m happy to comply.

If you choose to have no retouching, that’s fine too.

Some women want scars or moles removed and some don’t. It’s up to you. My goal is for you to love your headshot.

Complex headshot retouching

If you need additional retouching beyond what’s complimentary, I’m happy to ask my retoucher about it. We’ll discuss the price at your session. This could be extensive body slimming or extensive stray hair removal. Not everything is possible, but I’m happy to try and make it happen.

Do you need a headshot?


Need website photos?


Contact me to schedule a session

Use the contact form in the menu above or scroll to the bottom for Contact info.

My studio is in Pasadena, CA and I accept QuickPay with Zelle, credit cards, and cash.


serving Pasadena, CA and surrounding areas since 2010


Form submitted successfully, thank you.Error submitting form, please try again. Or you can email directly at

Contact info



Phone 626-676-9295


Pasadena, CA



Privacy Policy

Terms of Service