One of the most asked questions I get from my clients is about my stand on photoshop.
Questions usually tend to come up in this following order….more or less…..basically at every single session!
- Do you use Photoshop?
- Can you retouch this zit on the middle of my nose?
- make my legs look slimmer and…maybe…more tanned?
- I hate all the airbrushed magazine covers, that is such a bad image to give to all young girls, don’t you think?
So I thought it was about time to destroy some myth, gain some haters, maybe shock some feminists and be alright with it all.
A few things about Photoshop before we get into the nitty gritty scandalous body image topic. Photoshop, Lightroom and/or other Photo editing software are not a choice for most photographers, they are a necessity. If your photographer shoots raw files, they will 100% need a software to transform this file into a digital picture format that we all understand, and are able to use on our computers, most probably a .jpg.
Fact is, you can not display a raw file, you have to tell the file how you want your picture to look. Unless your photographer shoots .jpg directly (and I hope they don’t) then all files will be passing through Photoshop.
Right, done with the technical part, but it’s important to mention that Photoshop is not equal to slimmed down airbrushed and plumblipped celebrity images!
So, do I use photoshop? Yes!
And so does everybody else!!! The question is what you do with it.
So the first Question is out of the way. Let’s move on to Spot removal….
I get it. You have great skin and on the day of your session you wake up and look in the mirror and there is this bright red huge zit on your face.
I have your back! I will be the concealer to your photos. I can make it disappear without anybody knowing it was there.
Now, let’s start talking about the Hot topic. So you are saying you would like slimmer legs, longer neck, tiny waist or appear a bit more tanned?
Can I do this? Yes! But guess what, I won’t! But then, I kind of will…..confused yet?
Let me explain. Here comes the 2 weeks perception rule. The way I see and perceive you the moment you walk into my studio and we sit down to chat, that’s how you will look on your final images! Pretty easy!
Guess what, when I talk to you, I won’t probably be staring at that zit on your nose, I will most definitely not see if your legs are as tanned as your arms, I will not get stuck on that crazy little eyebrow hair that got away and sticks out of your beautiful brow shape. Nothing of this is important to me! Nor is it to anybody else.
My goal is to show your beauty, your real you, and yes, the best version of you! Through coaching you into flattering poses I can show your legs in their best way, your neck in the best light, draw attention to your eyes and away from the double chin.
Through my experience, posing and lighting I will make sure you look your best!
Everything else…I take care of in Photoshop! So, everything that is bothering you today, that would not be there 2 weeks ago or within two weeks….I will take care of it in Photoshop. A pose I coach you into that makes your neck look the best it can…and on the downside your bum is towards the camera and looks bigger than it really is….well that’s the perception part of the rule, I can use nipping and tucking in Photoshop to make everything that looks different to how I perceived you that day.
I use Photoshop to make you look like the best version of yourself, not to make you look like an airbrushed facelifted and liposucted top model. (is Liposucted a word? It should be!)
Pheww….the biggy is out of the way now, next question.
Do I think that photoshopping, spot cleaning and digital nipping and tucking is destroying a healthy body image? I don’t !!! Welcome, all the hate mails. If clients ask me to make them look slimmer younger and more beautiful, who would I be not to respect their wishes and service them? And as mentioned above, I don’t need Photoshop to achieve it! Posing, light, and skills!
That does not mean I wish things would change in terms of body shaming and starving anorexic models. I want to see more diversity of bodies and gender in the media! I am a big girl myself and with exception of a few brands, I can hardly ever identify myself with clothing adverts or even imagine the dress I am seeing on myself.
So yay for all sizes, for all colours and for feeling great in your own body no matter what shape or form!
But my dress size does not say the least bit about how beautiful I can be, so retouching a wrinkle or a stretch mark or a muffin top is ok in my books.
By the way…retouching does not mean removing, I rarely remove things when retouching, and most of the time I remove things, it’s flyway hair!
So when I lighten up wrinkles all I do is helping the eye of the viewer to find what I deem most important in the picture without getting distracted.
I hope this helps to understand my relationship with Photoshop a little bit better.
Now do me a favour, close your eyes and remember the last time you saw your best friend. Can you remember their pimples, whether they had a fresh manicure or any stray hairs? I bet you can’t. So….are we not all applying this made up 2 weeks perception rule in our own heads?
It’s your turn to decide if you would rather spend the time looking for all the differences and manipulation between both photos….or….enjoy the first. My intention is to make you think that this is a fun picture, an ironic take on a selfie maybe…
Whatever this makes you think, I hope it’s not about my body or my skin.