A lot of times I test a light setup by being my own model. But of course, I don't feel right getting in front of the camera without looking half decent, which I mean to the fullest extent of "half decent." I figure I'm below average with it comes to makeup application, as made apparent in this image. Foundation color match is off and is also streaky on the neck. Also, I can't seem to get my eyeshadow application right, so more often than not, I'm angling my face so that only one eye is prominent. Working with a team (makeup artist and model) with definitely help in this area.
Besides that, good skin days for me are few and far in-between, which means patchy skin and obvious scarring. Some photographers (and retouchers) say to edit a person only enough to make them look like themselves on their "best day." But others prefer the total plastic look, like a Barbie doll. I'm not necessarily against either philosophy because sometimes it depends on the desired effect. Art is so wonderfully subjective that way. An individual could make a fair argument to why they choose a certain look. I mean, that's not to say that some edits are not just straight up.. well, you know... bad.
As you can see, I'm somewhere in-between these two realms of thought- "best day" vs "Barbie," and even then, I tip the scale from time to time. Still, I prefer to eliminate what might be deemed as distracting elements. For example: hair crisscrossing along the ear, textured skin on the eyelid, and some fine wrinkle lines. There are still visible lines on my neck, which was a personal editing choice. And yet, there are still some uneven tones, but I didn't want to push it too far.
Check out the cropped before/after. Do you see what I mean? Skin texture is still very much apparent, but just more on the "baby smooth" side.
You might've noticed that I also edited out my lobe piercing. It's not a guideline that I'm particularly adamant about, but some people suggest to edit it out if there's no jewelry. Really, I would've been fine either way.
Anyway, this editing technique is called, "high frequency separation," which I learned thanks to all the photographers willing to share their knowledge on YouTube. There's just too many people to give a shout-out to, but hopefully they've made some money off of my views.
Final thoughts: It's important to develop a personal style. Some may love it, others may not, and that's okay. And also, just because I may choose to shoot/edit a certain way, that doesn't mean I can't appreciate other stylistic choices.