Removing Flaws with Photoshop

Everyone stresses over having their picture taken, even photographers. I think we are all self-conscious to a degree. We tend to see ourselves differently than everyone else and magnify the flaws. Today with all the tools available to photographers, people shouldn’t stress as much. During the editing stage, many of those perceived flaws could be reduced or eliminated completely. I’m not going to get into whether this is right or wrong, but I am going to cover several different things related to removing flaws with Photoshop.

Removing Flaws with Photoshop: What can be done?

Photoshop can be scary. It is such a powerful programs that people have started to doubt reality to a point. They see a photo that seems amazing or too good to be true, and they automatically assume it was “Photoshopped.”

For portraits, most photographers don’t take it to the degree of unbelief, but we still do quite a bit. I’ve removed objects and people from the background, slimmed down people, brightened teeth and eyes, removed wrinkles, removed acne or other blemishes, removed stray hairs or added hair back in, and even switched heads or body parts from other photos. There’s more that can be done for sure, but those are the general things I’ve found myself doing over the past 8 years.

Removing Flaws with Photoshop: Advice

For most people, I would suggest you don’t ask or look for things that were changed. Once you go down that rabbit hole, you start to question all the photos, and a perfectly good photo might be ruined in your mind because you know that your hair wasn’t really that straight.  Whenever I work on a photo of my wife, she just tells me to make her beautiful, but she doesn’t want to know how it was done. The end result is more important for her.

I will say that all photographers are different. Some do a lot more editing than others. I know I have seen photos and wondered why they didn’t fix something small, and I know there are magazine photographers that do ten times more manipulating than I do.  With that said, you still might not ask them about their editing. You might just wait and see how the photos come out. If you’re really curious you might just ask them for a general description of how they edit.

Now, if there is something you are extremely self-conscious about, you might mention it to the photographer before the shoot. There are things photographers can do as far as posing that can eliminate problems, and for editing, it’s always good to know beforehand what the client wants.  Sometimes I was unsure whether I should remove something from a photo and other times I didn’t even notice an issue.

A little advice to both clients and photographers: don’t go too crazy. Clients, don’t make a giant list of things you want changed, and don’t expect to look like a supermodel. Photographers, you don’t have to change everything about a person. Please, please, don’t go too extreme on brighten eyes; it really creeps me out when people do that. No one has completely white eyes.

The photography world has changed drastically in the past twenty years with the ability to remove flaws with Photoshop.  There are definitely some good and bad things about it. Either way, it’s the world we now live in, so it’s good to know what can and might be done to your photos.

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