Photoshop: The Constant Discussion

By: Amy Cooper, ACRONYM

As a photographer, I hear it constantly:

"Can you make me skinnier?"
"Can you photoshop my pimples?"
"Make sure my stretch marks don't show."
"Just make me pretty, okay?"

Though I'm not going to combat or say that photographers are wrong for doing so (because they are not for providing what the client wants),  it's important to be aware that we are all human, and I have to be a person of truth, so I'm sharing this (albeit grammar stricken) post about Photoshopping women's bodies (or even men's for that matter) and the expectations it gives perspective partners. 

When doing any sort of photography, whether it be portraiture, boudoir, family portraits, modeling, I will always try to make the person look good without taking too much heritage from the individual. Heritage is important - and what I mean by the word "heritage" is the things that you need to have on you to make you more YOU. But more importantly, I want you to be happy with you, and for you to feel beautiful or handsome.

For example, I work with this model occasionally. I know what she looks like down to any stretch marks on her thigh to the creases in her forehead. Now, I've lightened the creases in her forehead to a degree, but it also lays groundwork for THAT being her characteristics. I, of course, will remove stretch marks or any imperfections of puckers, bumps, scrapes, and scars, but I try to keep anything semi-natural in tact. 


With that in mind, I have seen portraits of this same individual from other photographers, and she doesn't look anything like herself with some of the editing that has been implied. Hey, we're all human here, in case I have to remind you (unless of course, you are an alien, to which I say "thanks for reading, inter-galactic space ranger!). There is no reason to delete the natural stamps that make someone have characteristics and life markers.

People do have wrinkles, stretchmarks, dimples, fat rolls, jelly arms, an ugly mole, yellow teeth, strange hair in places where it doesn't belong, and resting bitch face. All of these things are normal. Seeing posts from people having to point out stretchmarks and other forms of imperfections happens more so these days because when it comes to sexual intimacy, we're told that it's "not sexy" or "attractive" to have fat, to have cellulite, stretch marks, any of that. 

Even though I don't agree with the post that it doesn't make you a REAL MAN if you don't want this jelly (*Dances to Destiny's Child*), humans are humans. Not everyone's going to be perfect. No matter what, when people (particularly women, but sometimes men) take off their clothes, each has an imperfection, or several. Nobody looks like an airbrushed model when they are on their back. So look at it this way, if you want a photoshopped version of a person to stare at, then you're going to have to pick up Sports Illustrated (considering Playboy no longer publishes nudes.)

Food for thought, and as always, peace and love. There's no malice here with these notations.