Photo retouching has received a bad rap due to over the top image manipulation in fashion magazines and beauty campaigns. I have to admit that there are some ads or pictures of models and celebrities in my favorite magazines that I’ve had to give a “come on now” look. I mean, they are airbrushed and cinched within an inch of their life. But with all of that, I still say that retouching is a necessary aspect of visual advertising and (fashion and beauty) print/digital media. Why? Because when I am seeing a highly anticipated new ad campaign for my favorite brand (s), I want to have something nice to look at. I am aware that no person has perfectly even skin tone or is completely mark free (no cellulite, scars, bumps, bruises, moles etc.), but I still appreciate the art in a perfectly presented package.
For my 30th birthday (March 19, 2014) I gifted myself a photo shoot with a professional photographer (http://www.msdigphotography.com/ ). I worked my butt off to look good for the shoot and I did. I looked damn good! But I still wanted the photos retouched to look more like the visuals I enjoy in my favorite magazines. Not because I am self-conscious about how I look without it, but because it was a treat to myself and I wanted to go all out.
To me, there is a huge difference between retouching and photo shopping an image (of a person). I consider this photo of me to be retouched. My complexion is evened (not lightened, my lower body is extremely darker than the upper part), my features smoothed (not altered), and some of the unflattering effects of the pose (and a size too small bra) have been retouched. If I were photo shopped, I would be about two sizes smaller in the waist and have a fierce thigh gap.
The ability to retouch photos is a beneficial technology because it makes our images look better. That’s kind of the point of taking them, visual stimulation. I do, however, think some brands in the fashion and beauty industry should be a bit more responsible with their depictions of beauty and what types of messages it may be sending to young girls and boys.
I only made one specific request and that was to remove the tattoo on my stomach (I hate it). The photographer did a great job of recognizing the areas that could be refined (noted in the photo) and retouching them in a natural way. While the original photo is nice, the retouched image is more polished and professional, just like I expect to see when I am flipping through a magazine.