Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Image Doctoring (how far is okay?)

I've wanted to write about this.  But, it is kinda hard. 
I guess mostly because I know it is a big problem. 
But, I don't quite know where I think my own line should be drawn. 

This morning I was reading this
(yes.  it's true.  I was reading that celebrity "news" site...)
& was really glad for Rachael Leigh Cooks
standing up against image doctoring.
What do you think? 
Do you think we've become too desensitized to photo editing? 
I think it is awful for photo editors to "shave" down someone's hips
or enlarge a gal's chest. 
But, is it okay to fix the oily shine on your face with your photoshop? 
Or, erase your zits? 
Or fix your teeth?  Or at least change the light so it flatters you?
I don't know. I am questioning all of that.




Even though I know our wedding photographer was great
(& even more amazing now 6 years later)
& I really do love our photos,
sometimes I look at the pictures & wonder why, as the bride,
I don't look more like a movie star. 
Can't they fix that now days? 
Make you look better than real life?
Isn't every bride supposed to look like a movie star in her photos?
But, our photographer didn't edit the photos in order
to turn our shots into glamour shots. 
(And this is where I need to tell you I don't know anything about photo editing. 
And, I am sure he did some editing. 
And, that fixing the light or bringing more clarity & such things
are not the things I am talking about.)
They are pictures of the way we really looked. 
So, a few hours into a sweaty hot day,
my make-up was mostly gone & my face was all shiney. 
Sometimes, I am bummed that he didn't "fix" me with editing magic.
But, really I am glad.  (I think I am.  No.  I am.  I am...)

19 comments:

Nicola S. said...

Erin, I love seeing really people in photos! Not ones who have gone through editing! We didn't have our wedding pictures edited and I love the fact that we just look like ourselves.
I think if you have a zit or a little thing like that, it would be ok, but then again it does look more realistic without the editing. But our society is all about being perfect and having no flaws. Really about denying how God made us.

Stef said...

I agree with Cola! Mine aren't edited that way either and I've always been a huge fan. Its funny - Jason and I were just talking about this last night. I was sharing with him some of my insecurities as a woman, a stay-at-home Mom entrenched in Motherhood, walking through a Safeway seeing those glamorous, untouched, even sometimes Hollywood Moms look amazing and flawless. I know they're not, but it still plays with my mind. "I bet my hubby wishes I could look stunning like that every night...." what they really are is lies from Satan and I know that too... but they still find their way into my brain every now and again.

I don't like edited photos. I'd rather have the real thing. Maybe I'd say differently if I actually knew how to edit the photos though! :) I think a lot of people have tons of fun with it. I just have no clue how, or desire to learn.

Charlotte said...

I side with Nicola too. Our wedding photos are pretty unedited also and I love them. I love taking photos and seeing other photos online and am bugged sometimes by over editing. I guess I don't mind color editing, or getting rid of a zit or something, but when you start manipulating the actual image (like making hips look slimmer) I don't like it. I want the photo to look like it really is. And like Nicola said, it has a lot to do with our society and looking perfect.

Did you read this post by MckMama?
http://mycharmingkids.net/2010/10/facing-the-music/

Erin said...

Thanks ladies!
Nicola, You are so right on.
And, I think my feelings are nearly mirrored in what Stef says. (I, too don't know a THING about how to edit! Ha!)
Charlotte, it's great to have you weigh in, as a photographer who knows whats going on in the editing realm!

Erin said...

Oh, and thanks for the link, Charlotte. I'll check it out. I like MckMama, but rarely check it over there cuz it takes so long to load her blog!

LBDDiaries said...

Personally, before you told me that was your wedding pix, I thought it was an actress - I think you look beautiful. And more importantly, REAL. Even the movie stars don't look like those pix portray them to look - which is why I like seeing pix of them without makeup and stylists - they are real, too. I think it is WRONG to manipulate to the point that it is someone's idea of perfect because now, the world doesn't like seeing "real" - have you seen the Dove video where they changed the model to fit their view of beauty? You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

LBDDiaries said...

Or even better - here are before and after photo makeovers, even a child! It is amazing what they can do now days.

LBDDiaries said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHLpRxAmCrw&feature=related

Erin said...

Thanks Little Black Dress! I have seen the Dove video. Everyone should see it! It is frightening to see what they do to peoples pictures!!

Krista said...

So, this is the extent of what I do for editing to make myself and others look better: cropping.

I will sometimes see a picture of myself that I really like (don't mean to sound vain or anything) but then I notice my flabby arm and can't stand it. So, I crop it out. I consider this OK to do because to be honest, that flabby arm was SO FREAKING DISTRACTING that no one would have even noticed the little sweet baby I was holding.

I think if you want to give the whole photo a softer look, which can take away some shine or red spots, that's okay. Like changing it to Black and White. That can do a lot without hiding or removing anything.

So yes, I think pictures should be real, but I also think good composure (cropping) and good lighting (soft, black and white) is not a problem to apply to a picture.

Stef said...

hey Krista, if you saw the birthday post {for Kara} Jason said he cropped the picture of her smiling at her birthday cake, because I was blocking most of the picture. So he cropped me out of it and that way you can see Kara. So... there we go. We edit ours too and I didn't know it! :)

Not sure that's the same type of editing Erin was talking about though. I could care less if an acne is removed than having inches taken off someone's hips, or changing the way their lips or eyes are. That's kind of changing WHO they are.

Krista said...

Erin did ask in her post if it was okay to change the light so it flatters you, so I was just saying that I think that kind of editing is totally okay. Because honestly, if I was a good photographer I would be able to take the picture in the first place with flattering light and flattering cropping. So the editing I do is just stuff I wish I has done right when I took the picture.

But yeah, editing things like changing lips or re-curving someone, or something like that is over the top.

Stef said...

ah.... you're right! My mistake :)

This appears to be a topic we all feel pretty strongly about ;-)

Erin said...

It looks like I did say some confusing things about what my light editing thoughts are.
And, since I am not an editor & don't know anything about editing, here is where I may get more confusing!
When I say it seems okay to fix the light, I mean bad light, due to photographer error.
But, the whole lighting thing if something I am on the fence about, I guess.
What about pre-digital days when we had to accept the photos as they came. Remember? How things have changed!

Charlotte said...

I edit almost every photo that I take. I change the contrast, brightness and saturation and it makes a HUGE difference in my photos. Because I am not a professional. :-) I also crop when necessary. I am not changing my subject, only the light and the emphasis of the photo. I have also taken out a blemish or two (for a senior picture)

That being said, I do not like over-edited photos. Even photos where the light has obviously been altered...on PW photography they are playing around with photo image alteration right now and it is a bit too much for me. (Like combining two photos and having someone looking like they are in the middle of a field when they are really not.)

So my rule is if it obviously looks like it has been edited or I have changed the way a person looks, then I don't do it.

This gives me an idea for my photography blog....an edited photo vs. an unedited one. :-)

Stef said...

I don't think I mind the changing of lighting at all. I just don't care for changing the actual way a person looks - like their shape, hair, facial expressions, etc...

Lighting changes seem more like when we wear some make-up or highlight our hair. Those are subtle changes women do and it can improve their look, but doesn't change the structure of their face/body.

Does that make sense?
For that reason, I'm not a big fan of make up or coloring my hair :)

Stef said...

hey Krista, if you saw the birthday post {for Kara} Jason said he cropped the picture of her smiling at her birthday cake, because I was blocking most of the picture. So he cropped me out of it and that way you can see Kara. So... there we go. We edit ours too and I didn't know it! :)

Not sure that's the same type of editing Erin was talking about though. I could care less if an acne is removed than having inches taken off someone's hips, or changing the way their lips or eyes are. That's kind of changing WHO they are.

LBDDiaries said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHLpRxAmCrw&feature=related

Erin said...

Oh, and thanks for the link, Charlotte. I'll check it out. I like MckMama, but rarely check it over there cuz it takes so long to load her blog!