Keep it Real Folks!
The topic of "Photoshopping" has been a hot one in recent years with much angst directed at the unrealistic expectations created by today's media. That "perfect" representation of how people should look.
Yet when it comes to headshots there still appears to be this thirst for Photoshopping. Remove the wrinkles, get rid of those bags under my eyes, smooth the skin, fix my double chin, etc… a lot of that actually comes down to the self-acceptance gap but we'll cover that another time.
Believe it or not, many of these perceived issues can be dealt with in-camera as long as you're working with a headshot specialist who has the right lighting and understands the attention-to-detail techniques to get that great jawline or minimize wrinkles. How an image heads into the retouching process makes a big difference.
Unfortunately, either due to improper technique or over-zealous retouching, a lot of headshots these days end up looking like plastic skinned barbie-doll faces that don't look realistic or match the real you. Its perfectly fine to clean up blemishes, stray hairs, whiten teeth a little, etc… but there is a fine line that can't be crossed.
Here's an example of taking it too far with skin softening, eye brightening, etc... something I see a lot of. This is a shot of me with a little retouching in the before, and too much retouching in the after. The after just looks too fake and while it might flatter my ego more, it doesn't look real to anyone else.
You have to keep it real folks. Your headshot is a first impression machine and if you show up in person looking very different to your headshot, or ten years older, you're inserting an involuntary reaction into that meeting. Have you ever expected one thing and received another? Ok so you know how that feels. It can even go so far as to display a lack of integrity or honesty. Keep it real folks!