I am sure you have seen photoshopped models in various magazines, fashion ads and online resources. What was your first thought when you came across them? Did you like it?
Some people believe that photoshopped pictures of celebrities look too unnatural thus completely falsifying the idea of “real beauty” and inciting many women to find diverse ways to improve their appearance.
Others perceive such pictures as a certain art that serves to demonstrate another side of human’s attractiveness. Is there any correct answer? Let’s try to figure out.
Nowadays, it is a common thing to see photoshopped celebs in various magazines and such images usually look perfect. That’s why, many viewers tend to compare themselves with starts in magazines and feel rather unconfident. Don’t do it, as untouched celebrity photos differ a lot from those you see in mass media.
The body-positive trend and acceptance of its appearance is now at the peak of its popularity. Plus-size models can already be seen on the covers and more and more people are opposed to the humiliation of fat people.
Jay Tee is not satisfied with the domination of thin girls on the screen and expresses his protest by adding extra kilos to celebrities, trying to change the usual standards. “Beauty comes in all sizes!”
There are dozens of ads with strikingly charming people. This is a type of motivating advertising that implies that viewers will see it and wonder “How can I become such a beauty as the person in the ad? Do I need to buy this product?” In most cases, they buy it.
The US government has a special Federal Trade Commission formed in 1914 that monitors the truth-in-advertising conditions, there are still some unclear situations related to photoshopped models.
In Israel, there is the Photoshop Law according to which a model must be 18.5 BMI and if an advertiser publishes a retouched photo, he/she has to specify it.
French legislators passed a law in October 2017 that requires a special "photographieretouchée" label on images that have been digitally improved. Besides, models must undergo an annual medical examination to prove that they are healthy to work.
A large stock photography group called Getty Images prohibited any picture of photoshopped people, whose body shape has been changed to make them look slimmer or larger. Getty Group sent an e-mail with a new rule to all clients and even posted it on the web.
Lawmakers state that their fight against photoshopped models images is motivated by a growing number of average people, mainly teens, who feel rather unconfident when they see a portrait of a model with ideal proportions, smile, etc. In 2011 the influential American Medical Association criticized excessive image retouching stating that:
Activists in the US share the global tendency of prohibiting too photoshopped models of celebrities. That’s why Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lethinen and Democratic Rep. Lois Capps, with the support of the Eating Disorders Coalition and Brave Girls Alliance initiated the Truth in Advertising Act in 2014.
Since the Congress paid little attention to their call, they reinforced it again in February 2016 and even enlisted the support of 8 new bill sponsors.
The bill is only the initial step. In case FTC determines that retouched images are misleading or/and pose threats, there are several possible consequences:
Nowadays, many stars work hard and even become a brand. They often use their popularity and power to draw attention to their own images that look so flawless that even inexperienced person will understand that they have been photoshopped. Such celebrities defend the idea of natural beauty.
For example, Meaghan Kausman, a model from Australia, was quite angry when in 2014 she found her photo that was drastically photoshopped posted by swimsuit Company called Fella Swim on their Instagram page. She published Photoshop before and after pictures, emphasizing that Fella Swim made her body really skinny.
In 2013 Beyonce posed for H&M Company and was really angry when they wanted to retouch her body. The same year, Lady Gaga had issues with Glamour magazine, as they made her hair and skin “too perfect”.
In April 2016, Kerry Washington who is known for her extraordinary antics, spoke out against Adweek, as she believed that her cover photo had been over-photoshopped and “looking at it and in the mirror, she sees two different people”.
Almost all model release forms are written in such a way, that models can’t check, approve or compare unretouched vs retouched photos before they appear in mass media.
A professional retoucher keeps the body proportions and unique facial features intact.
I suggest retouching only basic blemishes such as pimples, dirty spots, wrinkles, bruises, stray hair, reflection or anything else that can be easily changed in real life. Just think – will you still recognize the person after the image retouching? If yes, everything is OK.
When it comes to editing permanent features, like birthmarks, eye color, legs and arm’s length, you’d better leave them untouched. This principle is equally useful when you edit product shots. Be as accurate as possible to win clients’ trust.
Have a look at these free image editing plugins that will help you create natural-looking photos.
Use this action if you want to accentuate eyes, making the iris more contrast. It is also helpful if the eyes in the photo look blurred.
Want to improve skin texture but keep in natural? Then try this Lightroom preset. The shadows will become less visible, while warm tones will be beautifully highlighted. Use it for portraits taken outdoors.
Hair Brush is a very useful tool for Photoshop. It will help you draw real hair, improve the hairstyle and highlight beautiful makeup.
Don’t like the skin color in the picture? Is it too pale or reddish? Use this PS free action and give the skin healthy look and glow.
Use it to get rid of pimples, dark circles, bruises, etc.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.