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Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia


Hi Tony!
Most people don’t even take the time to tell a person how to reach their goal. I want to thank you for everything and for responding to my messages. Sometimes I just test people to see if they really care about my career and you do. You can continue to send me some tips on how I can accomplish my goals, because you inspire me a lot. Thank you for caring.
Jeffrey, Dallas, TX


Hi Tony!
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada


I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Mischa, UK


Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress


I did what you said and…I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you…how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA


This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA

Photo Retouching: 5 Golden Rules
Interview With Retouching Expert
Joe Barna

Tony: Before we get into photo retouching Joe, Why don’t we start by telling everyone a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been in the photo retouching business?

Joe: I’ve been in this business for more than thirty-five years. I’ve retouched everything from refrigerators to people. I love the business. When it comes to people I really love people make the best presentation possible of themselves.

Tony: So, what can an actor expect who takes his/her headshots to Colorworks to be retouched?

Joe: Well, I conduct a sort of mini interview with my clients. I try to find out what they want. When they talk, I listen. I analyze what they say and try to see if they have a realistic view of themselves. That helps me in the work I am to do. I know after many years of experience, that actors, for example, are very sensitive. It’s important to find out exactly what their needs are, so I can ensure that I give them what they want while at the same time making sure that their photos are retouched just enough to bring out their best. I want them to know that I care about their careers. If I do my job, then that can help them get seen and maybe even lead to them being cast in something. I get a lot of gratification out of being part of that. As a matter of fact, when I finish a job with a client, I’m always interested to hear what they are doing and how their careers are progressing.

Tony: What happens then after the interview?

Joe: At the conclusion of the interview I ask them to trust me and to leave it to me, that I will retouch their headshots and get back to them in a day or so and that’s what I do. When I have then finished my job of retouching their headshot as it needs to be in my opinion, I call the client and we sit together and make adjustments to the work I’ve done until they are one hundred percent satisfied.

Tony: Sounds pretty simple. Is it always that way?

Joe: Most of the time things are that simple. Occasionally it is not. What sometimes happens is that an actor will come to me and we go through the process I described above. We sit together and they start to pick out any and everything that they feel is wrong. First they ask if I can take ‘that hair’ out of their face. Then we look at it and I think I’m finished and then they notice a small blemish to take out. Then a small mole. Then another small blemish. And then… And then… And then… After a certain point, with a genuine smile, because I’ve seen this kind of behavior many times over the years, I say, “Let’s stop. Your headshot looks great as it is now.”

Tony: But you said that the customer should be 100% comfortable with the photo retouching service you provide?

Colorworks photo retouching

Joe: That is absolutely true. What I tell them is that it is important not to try and second guess what casting directors and agents and personal managers and directors, etc want, because the fact is, you really don’t know what they want. You could have the most magnificent headshots in the world. But what if the casting director is having a bad day? Or what if some of those imperfections you want to hide are exactly the things they might like to see? What if…? What if…? What if…?

Tony: Yeah, that reminds me of a workshop I took once with a prime-time casting director. She told us that sometimes actors will come into an audition and ask questions like, “Would you like me to read the sides in a certain way?” or “What is the relationship between these two people in the scene?” or “Should I raise my voice at this point in the scene?” What she told us was, “What I want you to do is to make a choice and commit to it. You don’t know what I’m looking for and I’m not going to explain it in detail to every actor who comes to audition. Make a decision and don’t try and think of what I want.” So I see what you are saying Joe.

Joe: Like I said, this kind of thing happens, but it is the exception and not the rule. One thing is for sure though. When you walk through that door of a casting director or agent’s office that called you in based on your headshot and résumé, you better look like that picture! If it is too retouched to the point that it no longer really looks like you, that’s not good.

Tony: So in conclusion Joe, can we make a list for my website visitors of the rules for proper photo retouching what would it consist of?

Joe: Ok. Here we go.

1. Look first at the work that the photo retouching service has done. For example I have some samples with before and after headshots you can view. That way actors can see how I work.

2. Don’t try and second guess what casting directors and talent agents want. You just don’t know. You’ll make yourself crazy trying to figure it out.

3. Always remember that less is often better. By retouching photos too much, you run the risk of having the photo not look like you anymore.

4. After the photo retouching service has done it’s job, make sure you do a test print out. Things can change from what you see on the computer to what you actually get when the photo is printed out.

5. Maybe the most important rule of all is, make sure that the photo looks like you!

Colorworks photo retouching

Joe Barna is the owner of Colorworks NYC photo retouching service. You can contact Joe directly at for photo retouching and headshot reproduction. Joe is a thirty-five year veteran in the business.

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