As a photographer I am expected to deliver the most memorable and highest quality images possible to my clients. However, I do have to admit that from time to time I sigh* when I hear someone ask, Can you fix that in Photoshop?
Doing so is not an easy task especially when some clients request extensive retouching. Having such unrealistic expectations can not only be demanding and expensive, but can also take away the beauty of the original photograph. Though I do not mind removing minor wardrobe glitches, blemishes, scars or some imperfections, I do however try and keep my photos as natural and simple as possible.
Just how much photoshop is too much?
While shooting a wedding a few years ago I was asked by a guest if I could do a complete body reshaping of her. She wanted to look “slim” and “perfect” in all the pictures. I remember telling her that altering an image to that degree would be misleading and not a true representation of who she was. Unfortunately, my message did not sit well with her. At that moment I realized how important it is for me to set client expectations in advance about my work. It is important to have conversations with my clients before their sessions about my level of editing.
In a world of social media hundreds of millions of altered photos are posted to social networks every day. Social Media is a great platform to socialize, share bits of our day-to-day lives and even spread knowledge but if caution is not exercised, it can mislead people in so many ways. We are constantly feed with images of everyday people, celebrities and models looking completely flawless, yet they are far from perfect. Such excessive photoshopping can distort our perceptions of what is beauty, healthy, and attainable.
I’m not saying I’m against photoshopping, I respect the fact that my clients want their photographs to be impeccable, and as a professional it is my responsibility to provide clients with outstanding images. I am however against the manipulation and extensive retouching of images.