One of the things I really enjoy is taking an image that’s missing something, or has too much of something, or has been damaged in some way, and either repairing, or, where possible, making a better photo out of it.

Photo manipulation can include a number of techniques which might include retouching, and restoration. I consider manipulation to be a general term. But I primarily use the term to mean that I’ve made some major adjustment.

For example, I worked with a model who I knew liked zombies. Now, I’m not partial to zombies myself. I kind of like my brain. But since I knew she liked them, I decided to surprise her by turning her into a zombie pin-up.

Zombie Pin-up
Zombie Pin-up (No brains were eating during the production of this image.)

To achieve this zombie look, I altered the image quite significantly, as you can see by looking at the original below.

Celtie Pre-Zombie
Celtie Pre-Zombie (I should warn you that I don’t normally censor nudity on this blog.)

For those who wonder at the copyright notice on the image, So Shoot Me!® is a federally-registered trademark of mine. I don’t use it as often these days as I have in the past, since I’m trying to promote my own name.

At any rate, you can see that I have significantly changed this image. And that is what I tend to mean when I use the term “photo manipulation.”

Another example – less adult, and less a transformation of the image – involved this photo of my office manager’s daughter, which was shot in my studio before I added a few elements from other images I’d shot elsewhere.

Good Witch: Before & After
Good Witch: Before & After

Retouching, on the other hand, is a term that I use when there is some kind of minor alteration to an original image. I usually use this for portraiture, or other types of images where only something like a softening of wrinkles, or other slight correction is needed.

This picture of my father, for example, taken at a restaurant in Hanford, needed some minor tweaks, including bringing out his eyes a little more.

Dad - Touched Up


Eyes almost always benefit from a little touch-up.

Vickie's Eyes: Before & After
Vickie’s Eyes: Before & After (click to enlarge)

It’s not just people who benefit from manipulation, either. Here’s a shot you’ve probably seen here a few times in the last month: the first-place winner of the Sorensen Studio 6th Annual Black & White Show. This image shows the evolution from a dull color image taken during a rainy overcast day, to the winning image.

Thor's Well: Before & After
Thor’s Well: Before & After (as always, click to enlarge)

Lastly, there is “restoration.” This involves taking an image, particularly an old image. It may have been damaged, or it may have faded with age, or it may just be that you want to “update” it with a little color. The image at the top of this post (the “featured” image) started out as a black and white photo, and a request from the owner that I see if I could colorize it.

The image below is of my family. As you can see in the first photograph, there is significant damage. I’m pretty sure it included dried cat vomit, into which were plastered some hairs. There was some significant rebuilding needed to get to the “after” picture.

My Family: Before & After
My Family: Before & After

Sometimes, both restoration and colorization are performed. The image below is of some previous generation of my wife’s family. The only thing I know about this image personally is that it has “1918” written on the back. First, minor repairs were done to remove scratches, and spots; then I colorized it based on how I thought the colors most likely would have appeared.

"1918": Before, During, After
“1918”: Before, During, After

As you might imagine, developing the tools and skill to handle these kinds of changes can have other uses.

Removing people:

JP Family: Before & After
JP Family: Before & After

Adding elements to an image:

Moon River: Before & After
Moon River: Before & After

Or completely transforming a particular scene from Day to Night:

Centerville: Day & Night
Centerville: Day & Night

If you are in need of photo manipulation, retouching, or restoration services, contact me for further information, and pricing.

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