Perhaps, “before & after” is one of the hottest topics on retoucher’s forums. When I started my retouching carrier, it seemed to me the key to getting a job. But 12 years later I realise that people overestimate the importance to this.
So why I don’t showcase “before & after” retouching examples in my portfolio anymore?
In a way, such examples demonstrate the retoucher’s skills. On the other hand, when we see “before & after”, it diverts attention from the actual image and we focus on the difference only. But when we have the final image in front of our eyes, we perceive it as a complete work. Also it confuses retouchers themselves too if they work with this idea in mind. They just forget about integrity and harmony, and accordingly cannot get the right result.
Professionals don’t need it.
Industry people can easily define how much the image was retouched and was it appropriate for the particular image or not. A visually good final image speaks for itself. Nobody cares what was before. The significant difference between “before & after” is not a sign of professionalism. It’s rather a sign of a newbie who is fascinated by this wow-effect.
I think it’s not very ethical, even if it’s a TFP project or purchased RAW. Personally, I always feel like it’s an attempt to promote myself via someone’s imperfections or mistakes, which is weird to me. I believe that this attitude separates the retoucher from the rest of the team, instead of being united with. It takes us away from the main goal.
Definitely, I have a few before-after examples to show, but upon request only. Though I can’t even remember the last time I was asked for it.