One of the most time-consuming parts of pet photography is retouching. I'm pretty type-A, must-have-everything-perfect before it leaves my computer. Whether it's stray dog hair on a person's sweater (by that I mean dog hair no longer attached to a dog, not necessarily hair from a stray dog), or eye goobers, or a distracting passerby in a park, I like to clean it up. Sometimes we're talking major Photoshop changes, and sometimes it's minor touch-ups on a pet's eyes to make them as beautiful in a photograph as they are in real life.
My husband always says that the best Photoshop is when you can't tell there's any Photoshop work done. Even without significant work, it takes me about 20-30 minutes per photo. One thing most people can't tell I do is remove any leashes - clients will even forget that we had their dogs completely restrained! There is one photo of a boxer in my dog portfolio with his leash on, but that was purposely left intact by request. He has a favorite leather leash and the photo of him in his front yard with the leash draped casually on the ground makes it look like he just got back from a walk, so it works! Typically, though, leashes come off and eyes get retouched and the texture of fur gets special treatment so darker dogs don't look like a black blob but rather have a beautiful rich coat. I have some magic I work on pet eyes to make them look wet and soulful, as the camera tends to flatten them and make them look dry, when we all know that animals have glossy, bright, moisture-rich eyes.
I thought I would post TWO examples of photographs before and after editing. First, our before picture - YIKES. Sorry, this is exactly why I don't usually show any before pictures!