To the people who think Photoshop is the problem.

I have a serious problem with you. Yep. You read that correctly: I have a problem with people who have a problem with Photoshop(ping pictures of the human figure).

Notice how I didn’t single out women. It’s not just a problem women go through. It’s just as easy to dodge and burn in some excessively defined abs on a man as it is to make a woman go from a B-cup to a DD. How do I know this? Oh that’s right. I was a graphic design major with a concentration in photography. 85% of my time was spent perfecting my skills in Photoshop. Look at this picture. Seriously. Look closely. Can you tell me what I did?

Yes, the skills I learned in Photoshop were geared toward removing acne, making stray hairs disappear, and refining lines and the shape of the models I had used for my projects. I was an intern for a boudoir photographer who needed help Photoshopping her photos and building albums for her clients. I basically was a dental hygienist, plastic surgeon and dermatologist all in one. I then took those skills I learned and translated them into my own boudoir work.

No, I did not and have never changed the basic structure of a woman’s figure. I never made them not look like THEM. But I did spent many hours refining what they already had. Some women hardly need any retouching, so they don’t get much. Quite frankly, I always make my clients aware of my editing process. I have yet to find one woman who was upset with the way I retouched her photos.

I implore you to find someone who advocates for a woman to realize how beautiful she is, more than me. Seriously. I dare you. 100% of the women who have hired me for a boudoir session have told me about some THING they’re self conscious about, and 100% of the time I’ve been able to take that thing and show them how I see it. I do my best to get myself in front of a camera at least once a year. I’ve learned that it’s the best way to remind myself of the ridiculousness of whatever self esteem issues I had gained from words I had heard from people around me.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 12.44.12 PM

If you’re reading this and you’re mad, I’m laughing at you. If you’ve ever put a filter on a photo, even a black and white filter, you have no room to be mad. If you’ve ever printed your photos at Target (or anywhere other than a professional print studio) and have liked the “enhanced” look of your photos, you need to take a step back. Everyone, to some degree, alters their photos to make themselves look better. Everyone has a certain “signature” pose that they bust out when they see a camera so that they look their best.

Check out where I started with that picture. I asked her to wear minimal makeup because in class we were working on “applying makeup” in Photoshop. I reduced the redness of her skin, I got rid of the redness in her eyes, I enhanced her already wonderfully defined cheekbones, I gave her eyebrow more of an arc… I didn’t do anything that a makeup artist wouldn’t have been able to do. If I hadn’t told you or shown you what I did to this picture, can you HONESTLY tell me that you actually saw every enhancement I made? No. You can’t, don’t even try lying.

She’s B E A U T I F U L — there’s no one denying that. She doesn’t NEED the enhancement. At all. But it was an exercise, it was for a grade. She knew what she was signing up for, and she was fine with it. THIS is where people drive me crazy. Models (actors, actresses, athletes, etc.) know what they’re signing up for. THEY KNOW their photos are headed straight for Photoshop. Why are they fine with it? They’re paid to be. The point of Photoshop is not to make someone look better, it is to make someone look their best.

So why am I being this person who is telling everyone that they’re idiots for thinking Photoshop is distorting their beauty standards? Because someone needed to say it already and who better than someone who makes a healthy chunk of her living off her ability to use Photoshop? Also, I’m getting insanely tired of seeing the Colbie Caillat song getting circled around social media. I watched it, yeah rah rah self esteem we get it you’re above the media. Let’s move on to the real problem.

The people who perpetuate the problem of little girls and boys thinking that everything they see in print or online is reality are the people who aren’t teaching their sons and daughters the differences between what’s real and what’s fake. Blaming your child’s self esteem issues on the media is ignoring the real problem. What is the real problem?

The real problem is the set of standards you have unknowingly set for your child and the young people around you. Now listen, I’m not here to tell you how to be a parent, I’m sure you’ve got that under control. But what YOU are failing to realize… You as a parent, older sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, family friend, boyfriend, girlfriend… WHOEVER — you are failing to realize that your words MATTER to the kids around you. Every single word is taken in and used as a measuring stick by which they should live. Yeah, the magazines and commercials show off pretty and flashy things, but they would be a lot less exciting if they didn’t have so many words in their minds to back them up.

Photoshop is not the problem, (y)our words are. The solution to the problem will not start or end with any actions of the media: it starts and ends with us.

Bonnie-5877

Disclaimer and update: I am not saying I don’t think the song sends a good message. Colbie Caillat has a beautiful voice, it’s a great message. My issue lies with the reasons behind the song. Rude and hateful comments anywhere on this blog will not be tolerated. I will delete them. This is my opinion, you don’t have to share it. You’re more than welcome to sit in that corner and be wrong. Just kidding. But really, don’t say anything you wouldn’t want thrown straight back in your face. Have a nice day.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Well written.Thank you and thank you….

  2. Jonathan says:

    Let’s pretend this whole blog was actually you talking, in form of a speech, in a big auditorium.
    As I finished your last sentence, I envisioned myself starting the standing ovation.
    *clap…..clap…..clap*
    The audience proceeds and everyone is on their feet, cheering and roaring with applause.
    *applause, cheers, whistles*
    (You bow and walk off stage, perhaps drop the mic to make your statement stronger)

    …….end of imaginary story……….

    Basically, I just want to say, “Thank you. Thank you. Seriously… Thank you.” You’ve nailed my point of view with every word you’ve written.

    I will be sharing this with everyone that has an invalid argument against such a useful tool like Photoshop.

  3. Terri says:

    Well said.

  4. Okay.

    1. That’s literally the greatest thing I’ve ever read and I sincerely hope you realize I write the way I talk. Well. I try to. But I hate public speaking because it makes me feel like the center of attention and I can’t actually hide my face and that gives me anxiety. So that’s why I blog.

    B. I sort of think we should be friends. F’realsies.

  5. jackiesill says:

    You are spot on. I have always previously agreed with the “let’s hate Photoshop” camp–but I don’t post a picture on insta w/out picking the perfect filter to enhance my complexion. Call it vanity, that’s okay–it is what it is, and I will continue to do it.

  6. Angie says:

    I’m a photographer and LOVE to Photoshop people to make them look better. That being said, I think the Photoshop goes wrong when models are made to look WAY thinner (like unrealistically thinner) than they really are. I believe that is the real issue. Most girls and women can’t live up to the skinny standard, and some try too hard to, and harm themselves and their health. Anorexia. Bulimia. I agree that words can cause this as well. And a combination of both? DEADLY. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’m in the middle.

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