Image editing and image retouching are widely used terms in today’s world. Many times, these words are interchanged, causing confusion to the best of people.
Image editing is a term that defines very basic alterations on images. These include cropping, cut-outs, removing dust and / or noise, enhancing the colors and brightness, change color temperature, sharpening of the image, straightening of the image etc. Image editing also includes adjustment of exposure, contrast and white balance.
Image retouching generally starts when image editing stops and it goes beyond basic photo adjustments. Image retouching includes smoothening skin, removing wrinkles, teeth brightening or whitening, removing blemishes etc.
Cropping is basically the resizing of the image, depending upon your requirements. Removing noise is done by smoothening the image. Brightness and color contrast can be played with to make the images visually appealing and more attractive. By adjusting the white balance, the cool temperature of a picture can be edited to make it look either warm or cool. There may be some photos which might require isolating the subject from the background and this can be done with the help of a basic background removal, preparing the image for a background change.
Another difference between photo editing and retouching is that very simple manipulation is required in editing whereas high levels of photo manipulation techniques are required for a retouch.
There are two types of retouching- basic and extensive. In order to create a more pleasing and high resolution photo, simple alterations are done such as teeth whitening, blemish removal and skin smoothening. This is referred to as basic retouching.
In simple words, extensive retouching is basically transforming the photo to look perfect. It generally requires more time as it involves advanced techniques to make the body or facial features slimmer and by applying digital makeup among others. The techniques that will be used will depend on the type of photography used.