Apple's philosophy is that software and hardware should be integrated to seamlessly work together, as if they were made for each other. To accomplish this, Apple controls every step of the manufacturing and programming processes. Should this philosophy apply to photographers? Is is a good idea to be "control freaks" and do our own retouching?
If you do portrait retouching, you always strive to focus attention on the model. One way of doing this is by photographing with a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus, because the viewer's eyes gravitates to the sharper part of the image. Retouching helped to teach me this, as shown here in this image of Tiffany Felisha:
Through retouching, I learned never to photograph a model against a green chromakey background. The studio flashes reflect green back onto the model, and it can be difficult to remove. This image of Charissa was shot against a green background, and after a lot of trial, error and learning, I think I did a pretty good job of removing the reflected green light from the edges of her hair and clothing:
Distorted backgrounds, where the vertical edges of windows, walls and buildings are not vertical and horizontal lines are not horizontal are another thing that can be fixed during post processing, but the image quality is degraded. The perspective of the window behind Andrelica was not changed in retouching, because it was photographed with a perspective control (tilt-shift) lens:
In addition, retouching has taught me to look out for a myriad of problems while doing the principal photography. These include poses that create bulges or wrinkles, stray strands of hair, labels and straps protruding from garments, smeared makeup, lipstick on the teeth, etc.
Moreover, I take the creative process even one step further: I do my own printing. Steve Jobs would have been proud of me!