Much is made in the media about how models are retouched in magazines. This is an important subject & I’ll return to the Size Zero debate in a future post when I’ve collected my thoughts, but for today I just want to look at why we retouch at all. Why not show someone as they naturally are?

Firstly, when are you really you? In the morning when you wake up with no make-up on? At work? At a party looking glamourous? We all look very different depending on the situation.

Secondly, and I’m focussing on women here as that’s mostly who I shoot, it’s normal to wear make-up & have your hair styled for a shoot. This is great, & perfectly normal, but is it you? You’re already being enhanced before the first picture’s taken.

Thirdly, you pay me to make you look good, which means shooting you with flattering light & from your best angles. I don’t think anyone would argue that this is a better plan than shooting you with unflattering light from bad angles, but again, I’m showing the best side of you, bringing out what’s naturally gorgeous about you that people might not see in daily life.

The point is, everything about a photoshoot is designed to show the best you, not the one you show to the world on a daily basis. Retouching is just another part of that. You change on a daily basis; your weight goes up & down over the course of a month, boobs change size, spots come & go, a photo is a snapshot of a single moment; retouching just evens out the differences.

When you talk to someone, you focus on their eyes & lips. If you’re paying attention, you don’t even see wrinkles, blemishes or spots (unless it’s a really big spot). You see their soul, not the size of their waist. However, when you look at a photo, it’s not animated so you see the whole face, & the wrinkles, blemishes & spots really jump out at you. All I’m doing when retouching is making you look as good in the photo as you did when I was talking to you.

In summary: in person, you’re all fabulous & amazing; retouching helps me show that in a photo.

Matt

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