I'm sure that all of you are aware of the skeptical nature of retouching... As a photographer, I'm faced with that subject every time I get on PhotoShop.
At least everyone has heard of the Dove Real Beauty campaign, and I would love for you to watch the following videos before you proceed in this post....
Of course we're all skeptical on this subject... How can we not be with how the media portrays beauty?
That's only made worse when we are shown photos like this (I simply googled 'retouched photos' to find these examples).
All of those women were just stunning the the before photos... The question that I have, as I'm sure every other person has, is why would they do that??
Now, on to my part of the post... This is my opinion on the retouching that I do.
I am all for retouching. Why? Because the way that I do it, I don't change who the person is. Acne? That's not a part of you, and I don't feel that I'm changing someone when I take it away.
I am an 18 year old girl, and I know just how much we can be afraid of how we look. The following image is me... This was taken by the very talented Wish Photography after she gave me my Elaina. I was 16, and was going through a very stressful time. My acne? It was absolutely terrible. Honestly, I'm even embarrassed to show you this photo. But I am, why? Because my acne does not define me. All that Kandis did was remove those to show who I was without it... She didn't change my face shape, take away my laugh lines (which I love, btw), or change who I am. She just helped me see who I would be without that acne.
Now look at these photos that I've taken. The before's are what I did for the basic edits, before I did any retouching or playing of my actions.
This is my beautiful friend Laura. Gorgeous, isn't she? She has eczema -- if you don't know what that is, it's a skin condition that can cause itchiness, rashes, etc... She's the second of my friends to suffer from it.
It's very painful, and not something they feel is a part of them. By taking out these blemishes, I didn't change who she was, I took away something that was there at the moment the photo was taken.
This is Lexi, another beautiful friend of mine. (I accidentally put the before on the right side in this photo). She looks basically the same, doesn't she?
Look at that! How minor were those touch ups? You can't see very well in the after, but her freckles are still there too. Why? Because her freckles are a part of her, so I do not want to remove those.
Another beautiful friend, her name is Grace. Practically perfect? I think so.
Look at those laugh lines, how adorable are those?? I love laugh lines, and I will never remove any lines on a face unless specifically asked by the client. All I did was take out a few blemishes. Did it change how she looks overall?
Meet Jessica... Can you believe that this girl doesn't believe she's photogenic?
Seriously, I barely had to do anything! Oh, and you see that freckle on her forehead? It's still there. Because it's adorable!
I could continue to show you examples, but I'll stop with all of those girls.
Each girl that I photograph knows each of her own imperfections. She's scared to go in front of the camera and have them shown to the world. By taking out acne, eczema, etc... I feel that I am helping the girl to see her own natural beauty. Look at all of those before and after photos... Look closely. Do the girls in them look like different people? Does it look like I took out anything that defined who they are, as a uniquely beautiful Daughter of God? If I did, it was totally by accident.
Retouching doesn't have to be bad. Retouching can be used simply to enhance what everyone else sees each time they look at the girl. Because guess what? Cameras have a way of capturing blemishes invisible to the naked eye.
These blemishes will fade and go away over time... Because they are not a part of us. Would you like more proof? Look at this time-line of me over the last 3 years...
In each one my face is the same shape, I have the same features, but my skin is clearer and clearer.
No one wants to have their awkward stages photographed, so I try to help a girl see that she's more than that. I want to help show my models -- my friends -- what I see every time I look at them.
They are beautiful. Their real beauty is there. I just help them to see it as well.
I hope that this has helped you to gain a new perspective on what photographers actually want to do when they retouch a photo!