The Problem with Photoshop

There’s a lot of chatter in the beauty realm. Some positive, uplifting, and fantastic. Some catty, hateful, and rude. Others are debate-worthy, but fall on neither side of the spectrum. One hot debate topic in this realm is whether or not it using Photoshop or other image editing techniques on beauty photos is acceptable.

The way I see it, there are two sides to this coin.

For example:

If you’re an amazing makeup artist or Instagram superstar and you do this stunning glitter double-wing (or whatever). It’s your best work!

but you happened to have the misfortune of a blemish appearing just above your brow or on your cheekbone. Something. Something, “bad,” something not aesthetically pleasing that would potentially (well, definitely, with as nasty as people can be) distract and draw negative attention from your awesome eye look. Concealer can only get you so far with it, and in a close-up shot to show the detail of your wing, there’s no hiding it by hand.

So you shop it out so the focus is on badass glitter double-wing, not on your unfortunate blemish. I believe this is fine.

Also, if you do a look but in your photography the colors aren’t ringing true-to-real-life in the image – maybe you have a cerulean that’s pulling cobalt, I don’t know. Maybe it was an issue with the light, maybe it’s just a hard color to capture. I also think it is acceptable to attempt to restore color to what it looks like in real life, though I do think it would be wise to leave a note on a photo retouched this way mentioning that.

It’s a trust thing.

On the other hand…

If you are someone who is, “selling,” their makeup skills (artists, people making tutorials, etc) it isn’t appropriate “fix,” your mistakes with Photoshop or other image editing. If your eyeliner or lipstick application is jumpy, you should fix or redo it with your hands and brushes…not with a mouse.

If you did a shoddy job blending your foundation when the photo is a skin-focus photo, it is not appropriate to slap a little Gaussian Blur on there to help you out. If you aren’t satisfied with the job you did, you need to do it over. Or, if you picked the wrong color foundation – it isn’t cool wave your magical Photoshop wand so it matches.

You will see this in other circumstances, too – people in makeup communities using blurs and Instagram filters before asking for application advice or constructive criticism. It’s like, “Well, I’d be happy to give you advice but your photo has been shopped to hell and back so I can’t tell what’s real and what’s ‘shop.”

Other examples you often run into are hairdressers, “enhancing,” the results color jobs.

Basically, if you’re saying, “Look at my makeup/makeup artistry or haircolor applciation,” you should give an accurate representation. Relying on Photoshop does not challenge you to learn and grow as a makeup artist (or hairdresser).

If you are relying on digital enhancement of your work as a makeup artist, you are misrepresenting your skillset.

AND you are doing your clientele (or prospects) a disservice by providing unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved.

No hate on Photoshop itself, graphic artists, etc. To be sure – retouching photos is an art in and of itself. I just think if you are sharing, “Look at this flawless makeup I did on my client with rosacea,” you better have achieved that flawless canvas with a brush or sponge rather than a computer, otherwise you are lying.

Bottom Line

It boils down to the intention of your photos. It’s one thing to remove distractions so your work can be appreciated, or to return things to real-life color accuracy. It’s another to misrepresent your work.

As for me? I correct the lighting in the pictures I have shared because I live in an apartment with cave-like lighting but ONLY when I need to. At some point, if I had the skills, I could see myself shopping out some scars I have just because they aren’t the point of most of my makeup photos. You can bet your paycheck that if I made a, “how to cover scars,” tutorial that I wouldn’t be shopping out my damn scars and being like, “LOL, basically, I just dot Maybelline Instant Age Rewind on them and tap out with my ring finger – it’s that simple tee-hee!”

How do you feel about the use of image editing in the beauty world?

Target – This Looks Shopped

It is widely known that advertisers retouch their photos before publishing them, especially in the clothing industry. This isn’t to talk about whether or not I agree with that practice, but instead to suggest that they either a) hire qualified graphic designers/retouchers or b) beef up their proofing process before publishing photos:

Target - this looks shopped, wouldn't you say?

Hrm… this looks shopped!

Golly gee, something doesn’t look quite right here. Are you SUUUURE that’s a normal model right there? Call me a skeptic. It seems as though Target is batting 1000 lately between not having beefy enough protections in place to protect customers’ credit card information, and now, bad awkward Photoshop work.

A lot of people and news outlets are up in arms about the whole thigh gap thing – and while I definitely do think it is stupid and not realistic (also, not to be crude but having an unnatural crevasse separating one side of your body from the other looks, well, unnatural) but that’s not what I’m fired up about. I am, however, utterly baffled by how ridiculous this is. If there is a proofing or double-checking process, clearly it was missed – and if there isn’t, they desperately need one. Oh yeah let’s just lift the center of the model’s crotch up a good inch or two. That doesn’t look absolutely ridiculous at all. One other thing is that people commenting on this ‘shop fail seem to be disregarding how silly the model’s hand looks – look at the left side of the image. Oops.

The product, which used to live here, has since been taken down. Hopefully they’ll reshoot or upload an image that wasn’t butchered. Damn it guys, cut it out and get a better graphics team if you must retouch your photos because this flavor of marketing is just embarrassing. This doesn’t even just look shopped, it looks like it was done with mspaint.exe. This doesn’t fool anyone, and isn’t even aesthetically pleasing from a narrow-minded Barbie-esque view of beauty.