Retouching is a huge part of photography. Before revolutionary programs and software such Photoshop, retouching was done in dark rooms by only exposing certain areas of the photo to light (and that is just one way). So retouching and photo manipulation have played a role in photography for decades.
I love to retouch my photos. However, I use retouching as a tool to improve upon an already strong image. I take a very subtle approach to the process. I strive to have the finished product, to look as if hardly anything was done to the photo at all. I have posted a few before and after shots on this blog for your enjoyment or opinion on the subject. How do you feel about retouching? Is less, more? Feel free to start a dialogue in the comment section.