Nekkid Truth, Part III: Getting the…Biz-ness

With hair and makeup out of the way, we sally forth to our third and final essential ingredient of a winning publicity photo.

The retouch.

“But I want to look like myself,” you say.

Coiffed, buffed--and retouched. Photo by
Coiffed, buffed--and retouched. Photo by

And good for you. You should. In a recent Vanity Fair interview, 51-year-old film star and legendary beauty, Michelle Pfeiffer was asked to comment on the preponderance of plastic surgery among celebrities. To paraphrase the presumably unaltered Pfeiffer, as we grow older we should still be recognizable to our friends.

Candid shots are great for family and friends, the people who already know and yes, love us. But when a photo is intended for wider, public distribution, we want to put our best…face forward.

Arguably those smile lines and crow’s feet are badges of honor. And our faces are mobile, ever changing landscapes. A photographic portrait, however, is a static freeze frame capture of a set of sub-seconds. With unlimited time to look, viewers invariably hone in on the flaws.

In publishing we say, “the writing is in the rewriting.” Similarly, the “art” of photo editing/refinishing is every bit as essential to a great final product as capturing the winning shot.

A good photographer knows how to steer clear of overly plasticized perfection while conveying a polished yet natural look. 

In the before/after photos shown here, notice how photographer, Biz Urban manages to “disappear” not only the puffy dark circles beneath my eyes and the small scar on my left cheek but also a good part of the last decade!

Before: A perfectly nice photo for family and friends but for promo not so much.
After: note how the puffy circles disappear from beneath my eyes. Ditto for the scar and freckle on my cheek.









Voila, publicity photos that look like me–currently–with the photo retouching equivalent of a few light (and pain free) nips and tucks.

For more information on Biz Urban, including samples of her work, visit her website.

Photographer Biz Urban.
Photographer Biz Urban.


7 thoughts on “Nekkid Truth, Part III: Getting the…Biz-ness

  1. I have agree, sure there’s always some retouching necessary, but you were an AWESOME subject, it was so much fun shooting with you, Hope, and I was THRILLED with the results!!

  2. Like an editor, a photographer’s work isn’t done until the client is satisfied. A little brushing up can’t hurt because the light can be so revealing.

Comments are closed.