How much retouching is appropriate for my age?

When it comes to retouching you probably fall into one of three camps.

The first ( I call it my Mums camp) says “ I have worked hard for my lines and wrinkles, so leave them alone”

 After 33 years of running a portrait studio, I can tell you that this is probably the smallest group!
The other end of the spectrum is the group that say “ you can never have too much retouching, make our three generations of women look like triplets”
This is the second smallest group!
Most people just want to look like themselves but on a really good day.
In our studio, we have some guidelines that we generally try to stick to:
The first is that anything temporary, like pimples, scratches or bags under your eyes because you have been up with a crying baby all night are taken out as a matter of routine.
 ©Sam Kuruvita
The next thing is for permanent things like scars, moles and birthmarks. For these, we will generally have a discussion about them with the customer and decide what we are going to do together.This is the time to put your modesty aside and have a frank and open discussion about what you like and dislike about the pictures. Some things we can't fix, but there are lots of things we can, so I would rather you tell me at this stage rather than not quite love the portraits when they are up on your wall. 
As most of my portraits are black and white,  sometimes  a scar or a birthmark will look more prominent than in real life. 
In these cases we might reduce their  intensity and fade them back a bit so they don’t stand out more than they normally do in real life.
Double chins can be adjusted a little bit in post production, but we always try to manage that while we are shooting.
I generally soften or remove those two frown lines some people get between their eyes. No one has ever missed them!
Because modern cameras are so good, and show so much detail, we tend to  soften the image a little bit, while making sure that the eyes are always sharp. We also add some grain to make the image less clinical and a bit more like the film we used to use, and I tone the image so that it is just  slightly warmer in tone. 
With digital photography , anything is possible, but I want the image to be realistic and flattering. 
We can remove every line on your face, but when you friends ask you when this image was taken, and you tell them a month ago, 
I want to avoid them looking at the picture, and  then looking at you, and coming to the conclusion that it must have been a very hard month!
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1st Year done!