High-end Photo Retouching Vs Basic Photo Retouching

Updated on March 21, 2024 in Photo Editing by

High-end Photo Retouching Vs Basic Photo Retouching

Photographs play a central role in everything from social media to professional advertising. However, photo retouching enters the picture when it comes to taking your photos to the next level.  

As the name suggests, retouching is a process of fixing imperfections and enhancing model and product presentation. It is used in fashion, advertising, and promotional branding. 

High-end photo retouching elevates images to a level of professionalism to achieve the desired look. Basic retouching, on the other hand, is making simple changes to an image.

In this article, we aim to explore the difference between Basic photo retouching and high-end photo retouching service. And since we are covering everything you need to know, let’s dive right in!

What Does Basic Photo Retouching Mean?

Basic Photo Retouching

Basic retouching is the process of making simple edits to the product or model without modifying how it looks. The goal is to enhance the photo without changing the subject’s appearance. 

Basic retouching works for portraits, fashion, beauty, product and skin photo retouching. It includes removing minor debris like pimple marks, wound or patch marks, stray hair on the face, dusk specks, scratches, and removing tags from products.

It is commonly used in all types of photography, from day-to-day photos and social media content to portrait & product photography. 

What is High-End Photo Retouching?

High-End Photo Retouching

High-end photo retouching is extensive Photoshop work done professionally to get the desired look. It goes beyond basic retouching and is often used for luxurious cosmetics, e-commerce products, brand models, editorial, fashion, and beauty photography.

High-end photo retouching is basically manipulating and correcting images. This correction includes makeup retouching, stray hair removal, removing eye glare reflection, birthmark removal, removing dusk from eyelashes or eyebrows, and color correction on the client’s demand. 

Difference Between Basic Retouching Vs High-End Photo Retouching

Turnaround Time

Basic retouching usually takes 3 to 4 minutes per image. On the contrary, the turnaround time for high-end photo retouching can be 15 to 20 minutes per image and can also go up to 30 minutes, depending on the complexity of the photo.

The time needed to retouch a photo depends on the type of photography and the client’s requirements. The work can be done in a few minutes if it’s a simple retouching task, such as removing a few dust particles, which is part of basic retouching.

However, if the retoucher is tasked to reshape a product or remove baggy eyes and shadows from the face, it can also take anywhere around 30 min to process high-end photo retouching.


Adobe Photoshop is the most widely used professional retouching software. Other options are Lightroom, Fotor, GIMP, Pixlr, Luminar Neo and many others.

Basic retouching, spot healing brush, patch tool, blur and sharpen tool, healing brush tool, and stamp tool are used.

Meanwhile, high-end tools use advanced tools like dodge and burn, color grading, content-aware, red eye, stamp, and liquefy tools.


Basic retouching focuses on removing spots, pimple marks, wound or patch marks, stray hair on the face, dusk specks, and scratches from images for a balanced look. 

High-end photo retouching focuses on more advanced edits, such as correcting blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone, while retaining pixel quality. It also includes reshaping, liquifying products, and manipulating damaged products. 

You’ll notice the improvements in basic retouching, but they won’t be as drastic as in high-end photo retouching.


Basic photo retouching costs $1 to $2 per photo because it requires minimal edits, no high-end tools, and is less time-consuming. High-end photo retouching can cost $2 to $6 or even more per photo because of the time and expertise involved. 

How to Choose Between Basic & High-End Photo Retouching?

When it comes to deciding between basic and high-end photo retouching, it can be tricky. Here’s a breakdown to help you pick which is right for you.

Consider Your Needs

Basic Retouching is ideal for everyday photos, portraits, products, and social media content. Here, the only focus is minor corrections for a natural look. It includes services like:

  1. Removing dust spots or marks
  2. Balancing brightness
  3. Sharpening the product for clarity
  4. Removing stray hair on the face

High-end photo retouching is for transformative results. It is perfect for high-fashion campaigns, eComm product shoots for advertising, and magazine/editorial covers with a desired professional outcome. It includes services like:

  1. Skin smoothing 
  2. Color correction & color grading
  3. Reshaping & liquifying products
  4. Manipulating damaged products
  5. Removing eye glare reflection

Budget And Time

If you’re looking for quick turnaround time and limited changes, basic retouching is the best fit. However, high-end photo retouching takes longer if the desired change exceeds basic corrections.

Basic retouching takes less time and expertise, making it affordable for day-to-day retouching work. However, due to the level of expertise, experience, and time involved, high-end photo retouching is comparatively more expensive.

3 Questions You Need To Ask

  • Do you need simple changes for the day-to-day photos? Basic retouching is the way to go.
  • Does your photo require extensive corrections and manipulations? High-end photo retouching will be a better fit.
  • What is the use case of the image? For natural presentation, Basic retouching. For editorial presentation, High-end photo retouching

By understanding your goals & requirements, you can choose between basic and high-end photo retouching services.

How To Choose the Best Photo Retouching Service?

How To Choose the Best Photo Retouching Service?

Selecting the ideal photo retouching service requires careful consideration. 

Trial Run 

Many reputable services offer a free trial or sample retouch. It allows you to assess their skills and compatibility before committing to a full project. 

Additionally, it helps you gain a trustworthy retouching partner and maintain a long-lasting relationship. 

Clear Communication

Choose a provider with transparent communication channels who promptly responds to your inquiries. Discuss revision policies and turnaround time expectations.

Retouching might require a few feedback loops to understand your preferences. A clear communication channel will ensure the work is done smoothly according to your instructions.

Pricing Structure

Compare pricing models (per image) and ensure it aligns with your budget. Be wary of meager rates, as quality retouching takes time and skill.

Turnaround Time

Consider how quickly you need the retouched images. Different services offer varying turnaround times based on workload and complexity. 

PixelPhant offers day-to-day photo retouching service with a turnaround time of 15 hours. However, one can also opt for 2-hour delivery services in rush orders. Having these systems in place ensures that you never miss your deadlines.

Customer Reviews

Read online reviews to gauge client satisfaction with the service’s quality, communication, and reliability.

Considering the above points, PixelPhant, a professional photo editing company, provides a free trial. It is the one-stop solution for eCommerce and commercial studios for the best photo retouching service. 

Final Words

Basic retouching is an excellent choice for quick or minor changes. It’s ideal for situations where natural, slight corrections are preferred. 

High-end retouching, on the other side, offers a higher degree of transformation, making it the best option for commercial and editorial purposes. 

The best way to proceed would be to take trials and choose the service that delivers the best output according to your preferences. Sign up without a credit card to get started with the PixelPhant trial.

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