August 22, 2007

The Magic of Photoshop

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Everyone knows that models in advertisements and magazines have gone through hours of makeup, preparation, and photoshop to look as good as they do. But do you have any idea exactly how much change there really is? Dove (the soap brand) has come out with their Campaign for Real Beauty and feature a remarkable short film that shows the transformation from normal woman to billboard beauty with the aid of hairdressers, makeup artists, and photoshop whizzes. It’s a smart and somewhat sad commentary on our distorted perception of beauty. What you see in magazines simply isn’t real yet that is what we keep striving for. That’s why we buy all of those products. Do you really think Eva Longoria looks the way she does because she uses L’Oreal?

Every now and then I get people telling me that they really don’t need or want anything done to their images. They say that they don’t want the extra photoshop work that I do to all of my images. I think this stigma comes from incredibly overprocessed images in which people look fake and plastic-y. Here is a very extreme example of how far you can go with this powerful tool. In photoshop it’s all about knowing when to stop and how to tweak an image so that it doesn’t look different, it looks better (especially where kids are concerned).


Take this little girl for example. The image on the top is what came out of my camera. It’s well framed and it’s a very sweet expression on her face but the picture doesn’t really draw you in. The second image is what I would show her mom. Her expression hasn’t changed but the picture pops out more. To let you in on what I did, I increased the contrast so it didn’t look so flat and lightened it up a bit.

I never release an image that I haven’t looked over and tweaked to my liking. Sometimes I just lighten the whole image. Sometimes I edit small pieces of a picture by removing pimples or stray hairs. They are just small things that might draw your eye away from what is really important – the person in the picture! Point is, there’s a very fine line between using photoshop to enhance and using photoshop to change. Unless requested otherwise, my images are minimally enhanced so I don’t create beauty, I just bring out what was already there.

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