by Bror Fredrik
Las Vegas Luxury Photographer
Why I Use Photoshop to Edit My Clients
The Answer Will Surprise You!!
All too often clients say to me “And I know you’ll fix me in Photoshop” or “Work your Photoshop magic on me”. I don’t always know exactly how to respond but when I do I tell the truth:
“You are amazing just the way you are but of course I’ll make you look like you woke up on your best day ever!”
That is the most accurate and honest response. It’s also exactly how I feel and edit in Photoshop or any other software I use.
However, I thought I’d take a little time and delve deeper into this often sensitive subject …
So why do I Photoshop my clients??
I‘ll start by saying that I do everything in my power combined with my years of experience, lighting skill and equipment, to capture the absolute best image in camera. The inexperienced or lazy photographer might say “I’ll fix it later in Photoshop”. This is such an ineffective, fake, and amateur disservice to any client; none of which cuts it for me.
That said, the most common reason I hear “And I know you’ll fix me in Photoshop” is because as human beings we ALL have natural insecurities. Why? Simply because we spend our lifetime analyzing our faces in the mirror. We intimately know every mark, every pore, every wrinkle and most every hair. We are also the most critical of our own appearance. We fixate, worry and reinforce our insecurities almost daily.
We also have the newest insecurity breeding element … Filters! Apply a filter and magically all the things we fixate on in the mirror are suddenly gone!
Unfortunately we ALL know that’s not us but an impossible avatar we can never live up to. Be honest … we all have had moments of panic when a friend posts an unfiltered image of ourselves. How dare they! Friendships have ended over such slights.
Don’t get me wrong … filters are fun, can correct bad lighting and such and can also damage our self image breeding further insecurities.
Excellent photography doesn’t require avatar-like filters.
Here’s the good news…
Remember all those “flaws” you see in the mirror … NO ONE else sees them!! You heard me right and I’ll repeat … NO ONE!
Why? Because when we interact with another person we are engaging with them, listening to them and exchanging ideas with them. Yes, we notice expressions, eye contact and overall personal appearance. However, we aren’t analyzing someone we’re interacting with on a micro pore level basis as you are when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror.
Has anyone ever gotten 3 inches from your face during a conversation and inspected you? Of course not! If they do, run!
Now let’s talk about the entirely different situation of images themselves: the viewer of an image can look at a person a little differently than if they were standing in front of them. A face or body now is more of a landscape to be taken in and zoomed in on without awkwardness and in private.
Here’s how and where I apply the magic of Photoshop and editing in general …
My editing thought process and workflow is to process an image to what a person really looks like: the same way a viewer will see them when they have an engaging, interactive conversation with the subject of my image. Amazing right?!
It’s not that I’m making you look “better”, I’m making you look how the human eye and brain sees you in person.
I minimize (not remove) distractions and enhance a person’s uniquely wonderful features because no matter how advanced camera technology gets, it will NEVER be able to see and perceive the human form the way the human eye does … at least not in our lifetimes.
What about body enhancements?
Yes, I use them, but not for the reasons you think.
Of course I can give you the body of a Greek Statue or a fitness model but unless it’s insisted on or part of an ad campaign, I don’t. The human face and body is so wonderful and amazing but also somewhat difficult to capture on film or digitally because no matter how good the camera and lens there will ALWAYS be distortion.
Things closer to the lens will appear bigger and things further away will appear smaller. This fact can be used to our advantage with proper posing and camera angle (think the down angled selfie stick) but ultimately some things will need minor tweaks to give back the proper proportions that the human eye sees.
By the way, the human eye/brain combo remains the finest camera on the planet!
That’s how and why I use Photoshop; to emphasize what the human eye and brain sees.
When misused and abused, Photoshop can be a train wreck; when properly applied, Photoshop edits shouldn’t be noticeable to the viewer.
Honestly, I spend way more time morphing clothing to look perfect and well fitted than bodies and faces.
One of the greatest compliments I receive whether in my portrait, headshot or boudoir photography is when my clients look at their finished images and are happily surprised: “That’s me!?” they say. YES, that IS you and YES, that is how the rest of the world sees you!!
Now, let’s take a deep breath and recap:
No one will ever micro analyze you the way you do yourself so you can stop that now, please!
You look 100 times better in person than you do leaning over your sink into a mirror inches away under bad light!
You do NOT have “flaws” that need fixing!
Photoshop is simply a tool in the photography workflow to accentuate the real person in front of the camera.
When properly used by experienced photographers and retouchers, Photoshop (ing) is the basic editing of people that corrects the visual differences between what a camera perceives and what the human eye and brain perceives.
Next time you commission a photographer make sure he or she understands everything I’ve just laid out for you … or simply give me a call 😉
You’re awesome … I hope you know that!!