Tag Archives: photo enhancements

Retouching, from the view point of the retouchers!


Zack, who works in the art department at a major magazine, added that “with the exception of maybe wrinkles being smoothed out, nearly all the retouching I’ve seen or done is to correct or change a choice made by another creative in the process….[like] I once had to change a subject’s wig color–a choice by the stylist–to one that made the shot more aesthetically pleasing.” Andrew, a retoucher with 20 plus years of experience did admit that he was once asked to alter a shot of Kate Moss to “flatten out a little bit of a curve where her pants were.” He’s also lifted bust lines and smoothed butts.

Obviously it happens, but it sounds like girls’ bodies are not altered so as to be unrecognizable. Tamara, another professional retoucher with decades of experience, said of her work with health and fitness pubs, “[We aren’t] over-slimming. Maybe just pushing in a little bit here and there where the camera might have exaggerated a side, but there still is a camera and there still is lens distortion, so sometimes itʼs just correcting that.” Whatʼs also ironic is that sheʼs “fixing” a lot of bad plastic surgery to make it look more natural. Too-bright tooth laminates and ubiquitous fake-looking hair extensions are also common issues.

What everyone agreed on is that photographers generally don’t spend as much time on shoots as they used to. The prevailing attitude seems to be, as Andrew said, “‘Oh donʼt worry about that theyʼll fix it in post-[production].ʼ” Tamara said the stylists will just pin up a garment and not iron anything because they know it can be taken care of later.

But with a little twist this video, by Buzzfeed (18 Unreal Magazine Photoshop Fails) is a comical look at some of the fails that the industry puts out accidentally.


Its also interesting that the picture of Oprah Winfrey was highlighted as I used that example in my dissertation.


No Photoshop Movement – Michigan Times Article

Article by Emily Legleitner, Michigan Times.  Published 17/02/2014 which discusses the effects of companies (such as Aerie) and the effects that their ‘no photoshop’ movement may have.  Backed up by evidence from Jean Kilbourne (who has dedicated the last 40 years to studying the effects of media and advertising on body image) it discusses how these photoshopped images, although maybe only viewed fleetingly, have a lifetime effect on our thoughts subconsciously.  It touches upon the way that advertising campaigns affect men as well, through their depiction of masculinity and virility, focussing on the tougher side of men which can pose a threat to mens subconscious.   This is particularly interesting to me as it is something that has come up in group crit sessions about advertising being a subject that affects men and is not a purely female problem.


This is a good link to a New York Times opinion editorial on the subject of photoshop.



Verily magazine


Jean Kilbourne


PDF studyguide to go along with Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Me Softly 4 package on the effects of media on women.


Dove Advertisement – Beauty Sketches

Posted on YouTube this video involves a member of the San Jose police force who draws a photofit of a woman as described by herself, and then again as described by another member of the public.  The two images are vastly different, and the artist only draws what he is told, he has no visual contact with either of the people.  Its an emotional video and tells us a lot about how we ‘fat shame’ ourselves and how we think.

“Women are their own worst beauty critics,” Dove says. “Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful … we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.” Dove.


Dove Photoshop Action

A further development that I have found out about was this campaign that was aimed at the people who edit, manipulate and design images of women that have unrealistic bodies in the media and was disguised as a photoshop action which was free to download.  The action, once deployed, turns the image back to its unedited state with a message from Dove saying “Don’t manipulate our perceptions of real beauty” (see screen grab below from video).

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 13.01.15

The Photoshop action — a downloadable file that applies an action with a single click — is aimed at art directors who may be creating such ads. The action, which was disseminated on Reddit and other places where Dove thought such art directors might visit, promised to add a skin glow effect, but actually reverted the image to its original state.

It would be interesting to see how the media industry viewed this campaign and if it had any real effect on anyone.  There are plenty of comments under the video/post about it which do not seem to think it was such a good idea as it is not targeting the real cause of the problem.

Cheryl GutierrezMar 6, 2013

PLEASE!!! Talk about misleading, “By speaking directly with those responsible for manipulating our perceptions. Art Directors, Graphic Designers and Photo Retouchers.”

In the Ad world, all of these people take direction from MARKETING and SALES. Creative teams don’t arbitrarily manipulate images without direction and approval from those teams. Blaming the resources who do the work is just ridiculous and irresponsible – but what would you expect from a mega corporation like Unilever? 

Ola K.Mar 6, 2013

this is such a BS, as a graphic designer I can tell you that getting a project with models ALWAYS requires us to do photo manipulation, and it’s required by the client, so instead of targeting designers (people who are trying to keep their jobs instead of getting their work send oversees) why don’t you start targeting the real culprits? that is producers of products who want their product to be associated with unrealistic beauty? that perception has to change on higher level… what you are doing here is like asking a janitor why he’s picking up garbage, ppl shouldn’t litter and he’s responsible for it !!! B freaking S! smarten up DOVE!


Pretty as a Picture, CREDOS, 2011

Some of the links in my previous post about plus sized models refers to a report called “Pretty as a Picture, CREDOS, 2011 so I thought it best to look into this report further and to see who carried out the data collection and who funded/commissioned it to get an understanding on their perspective.

The Federation of Image Professionals has a post that explains who CREDOS is and their purpose.  It is:

Credos is advertising’s independently-governed think tank. It was launched by the Advertising Association in 2010. Credos’ mission is to ‘understand advertising’: its role, how it works, how it is perceived, and its value to UK society and the economy. Credos is funded by the advertising industry, but overseen by an advisory board which assures the quality, objectivity and transparency of its work.


Started in 2010 by the Advertising Association its mission is to “understand advertising, its role, how it works, how it is perceived and its value to UK society and the economy”.  This seems to be a fantastic idea but I am slightly concerned by the and the economy part of the quote as does this may mean that there is potential for a biased view depending on who is funding the projects?

The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association have published a special paper on “Body Image and Self-esteem” which has contributions from:

  • Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equalities
  • Lucy Beresford, Writer and Psychotherapist
  • Jo Swinson, MP
  • Richard Darlington, Head of News, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Karen Fraser, Credos Director
  • Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Each has a different perspective on the problem of airbrushing and body confidence and the report makes interesting reading.  Of special interest to me was the part of the report by Karen Fraser in which she discusses how airbrushing was seen by young women and has photographic evidence of this process – much like I would like to do with my ladies for my dissertation questionnaires.  The PDF of the report can be found at

Jo Swinson writes the foreword for the Government Equalites Office – Body confidence campaign – Progress report 2013.  In her foreword she states that:

It has become so normal, so everyday, for people to worry about what they look like that it is easy to ignore the real problems this creates. Growing up in a society where mass media is fixated on a narrowly defined image of beauty and the celebrities that embody it is damaging the outlook and self-esteem of our children and teenagers – and adults are not immune to these concerns. Of course, individuals differ in their confidence and resilience. But research shows that many people – particularly young people – are having their self-confidence corroded by the belief that their looks are the most important thing about them.

For several years I have been disturbed by the sheer amount of energy, ambition and opportunity wasted by low body confidence. That is why Lynne Featherstone and I started working on this issue back in 2008, and I am delighted to be following in Lynne’s footsteps as the Minister for Women and Equalities with responsibility for taking it forward within Government.

As a Minister in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, I am also very aware of the critical importance of releasing women’s full potential contribution to economic growth. In order to do this we need to address the remaining structural barriers – by modernising workplaces and ensuring access to flexible, accessible, affordable childcare. However we also need to tackle the cultural barriers, which include raising girls’ aspirations and vision of all the ways in which they can be valued and fulfilled.