Before and After Headshots

The Difference CONVERSATIONAL Retouching Can Make

Mark Jordan Photography offers a gallery of Before and After Headshots to help you experience the extraordinary benefit that expertly applied Retouching can make to your headshot portrait.

At its essence, Retouching is the digital touchups that Mark Jordan personally applies to your headshot portrait.

Because every client’s face and needs are are unique, so are our retouching options. To that end, Mark Jordan Photography offers four levels of retouching: exPress, PrimePro and Pro-Premier.

Before and After Headshots | Orange County Headshots

“Before and After Headshot” sample depicts our exPress, Prime and Pro retouching levels on a face that is fairly blemish free. Notice how the Pro maintains her natural, beautiful character – it’s her, on her best day. CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW.

Before and After Headshots | Orange County Headshots

This “Before and After Headshot” sample depicts our exPress, Prime and Pro retouching levels on a face that is fairly blemish free. Notice how the Pro maintains a natural, conversational feel- it’s him, on his best day. CLICK IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW.

Each of our four degrees of retouching differ in the approach and extent of pre and post production refinements. While our exPress level is limited to pre and post production adjustments of the raw digital file (color, contrast, clarity, etc.) and minor blemish removal, Prime and Pro retouching employ more extensive Subtractive (softening and removing) and Additive (enhancing) digital manipulations, rendering the face naturally and at its best.

Our goal is portray you, on your best day.

Before And After Headshots Slideshow

Each retouching comparison in Our Headshot Slideshow begins with a Basic, unretouched image, followed by our three retouching levels: exPress, Prime and Pro. We also show our Pro-Premier retouching, which is identical to our Pro level, except it also includes a Tailor-Made background designed exclusively for you.


Conversational Retouching is an exclusive approach of Mark Jordan Photography. Mark coined the phrase in 2005 to illustrate why retouching is essential to one’s professional headshot.

The goal of expertly applied retouching is to NOT to render the face perfect, but Conversationally. – that is, as if viewing their face while in a “conversation.”

Have you noticed that when we interact with others we do not notice every detail of their face? Sure you have, but do you know why? The answer is as simple as our peripheral vision.

When we converse with others our peripheral vision is fully activated. Instead of hyper-focusing on every facial feature and imperfection, our attention is is distracted and divided among a myriad of visual inputs.

However, when we view the same face in a photograph, suddenly our peripheral vision is deactivated. Rather than seeing the face in its “natural” state, (i.e. in an admiring, diffuse recollection), we quickly notice every detail as if scrutinizing the face in a vanity mirror. Subsequently, features and blemishes are exaggerated, blunt and unflattering.

Therefore, since the unretouched, “natural” face is anything but “natural,” judicious retouching is an absolute necessity. Accordingly, a greater degree of retouching is not intended to alter one’s character, but rather to restore one’s facial features to how others remember themconversationally.


Yet another reason retouching is so vital to one’s professional headshot is because expressions are fleeting – this especially relevant to the smile.

The quintessential difference between the painter and the photographer is that the latter seizes the moment. While the painter’s brush reflects an idealized interpretation of one’s expression, the camera freezes facial features in piercing detail –  permanently.

Though the painter can opt to omit from his canvas the dark circles under the eyes caused by a passing smile, the photographer has no choice but to capture every eye-bag, line, wrinkle, creased brow, squinty eye, blemish and imperfection.  It’s the nature of photography and cannot be avoided. It’s also never more observable than in a portrait where it’s design and purpose is called a “head” shot!

In other words, the only way to reduce and soften the negative consequences of the captured moment is by sensible and skillful alterations of the photographed face.

The objective of retouching is to render the face as other’s think or recall one’s face, conversationally not how it is frozen in time, with every distorted, harsh and uncomplimentary imperfection that our faces express.


Keeping with our traditional of personalized service, we offer four finish styles of retouching.  You can view examples of our retouching options in our gallery of Before and After Headshots:

  1. exPress – Minimal: $ 0
  2. Prime – Moderate:  $75
  3. Pro – Meticulous: $125
  4. Premier – Tailor-Made: $250

Please note that our five options in our Before and After Headshots gallery are not seen as Good, BetterBest. They are rather a practical approach to meeting the individual requirements of every face. There is no good, better, or best – only options which are most beneficial to your specific needs.

One size does not fit all… Determining the degree of retouching best suited for your face is largely a function of listening to your concerns and then attending to your specific requests. Many clients simply ask Mark to proceed according to his aesthetic appraisal. Regardless of which approach is best for you, we guarantee our retouching for the life of your image. We are also happy to tweak your headshot until you are thoroughly delighted.

Lastly, a quick note about our fourth level of retouching, Premier, which we offer for those occasions where a client needs Mark to explore the possibilities of their headshot and create something unique. Since Mark is allowed to play and stretch his imagination, it’s his favorite. Amid the Before and After Headshots, we’ve enclosed several examples of Premier retouching.


When viewing our Before and After Headshots, you will notice that some examples reveal a dramatic change while other alterations may be subtle. This is as it should be.

Before and After Headshots by Mark Jordan Photogaphy

PRO Retouching DRAMATIC – Before and After Headshots

Before and After Headshots by Mark Jordan Photogaphy

PRO Retouching SUBTLE – Before and After Headshots

After all, Mark creates headshots to meet his client’s specific needs, not the studio’s.

Please keep in mind that retouching is all about personalization. While some changes will feel just right, other faces may feel too much for your taste. Again, if we’re doing our job right and listening to our client’s need, this is as it should be.

Pro (Meticulous) retouching, for instance, can range from slightly excessive to the understated. Though you may have to study closely to see the differences between some Pro headshots, please note that nuanced changes are frequently the most striking and effective.

With all this in mind, it’s understandable why citing the degree of retouching your headshot might require is not possible until we first see your previews and evaluate your photographed face. This is also the reason we offer differing degrees of retouching – since every face is unique, a headshot photographer too must accommodate for such distinct differences.

As always, should you have questions regarding any aspect of our Before and After Headshots, no concern is too small.

Orange County Photographer, Mark Jordan

Mark Jordan
Master Craftsman Photographer
American Society of Photographers
International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum
Orange County Photographer of the Year
3-Time Honoree -EPCOT’S World’s Greatest Photographers Exhibit

When looking for a professional Orange County Family Portraits photographer, or Orange County Headshots Photographer please call 949-888-8071 or complete our online request form.

Before and After Headshots

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