My career began as a retoucher and I didn’t even touch a DSLR that was providing the files that kept me employed until almost 10 years later.
Once I did my potential expanded and new opportunities came at me quickly. Without that my YouTube channel would not have been possible.
Nina on the other hand studied as a photographer in the beginning and found retouching later as the industry moved away from film. It must have been hard to trade up the equipment she learned and grow in a new direction. But clearly it made her talent and creativity expand as she now works on industry leading advertising.
I believe Nina is a great Photographer, and Retoucher because she has a passion for both skills and they compliment each other. This allows her a wider creative understanding and greater talent than either one could offer alone. I want people to know great retouching is much more than a quick colour adjustment, crop and export. What to retouch in photoshop, and how well to retouch it requires skills not naturally found in either field, in fact they are borrowed from Artists and Art Direction because of how they see digital images as artwork. They don’t care about the shots ISO or if you used a clone brush, they care that it looks perfect.
Like artwork it’s hard to judge a retouched photo as good, or bad. But what artwork and retouching have in common is that they are greatly increased in value if they have meaning attached to the decisions behind them.
If you can bring more meaning to what you do, you will be better at everything related to photography.