Do be careful when editing your photos, so that you don’t go too far! Magazines have been going too far for ages; however, recently, celebrities and social media influencers have been caught out over-editing their photos. From this, arose the #nofilter campaign on Instagram. Still, there is much hullabaloo around editing photos, and photo editing in general.
It might be a good idea to use a good photo editor to the best quality.
To edit or not to edit?
One camp is anti-editing. This includes professional photographers claiming that photo editing has hurt their art. However, there are also those pro-editing. Here editing implies adjusting the contrast, crop, rotate, resize, applying some simple retouching, or even changing the saturation effect to make the image look perfect. But there are also those who use editing all out to completely change the look of a photograph. Depending on the side you take, which approach to photo editing is best?
Weigh it up
If you think about it, the best approach will depend on how the photograph will be used. Mostly raw pictures are lightly edited, which includes straightening the image or correcting the exposure and brightness. All done on the computer using tools such as Photoshop, and not in a lightroom. However, these types of change are not harmful or aimed at deceiving anyone. Such changes are simply to correct any defects, or to correct the inadequacies of the technologies used.
Focussing on ethics can help you stay on track, and not allow your image editing to go too far. Nonetheless, for photos taken to capture memories, such as wedding photos, the client will want prints that they are proud of, and want to cherish. So, when blemishes or other imperfections are captured by the camera, and editing is not the issue, why not correct these? The scale starts to tilt when you edit an image or picture to make someone look slimmer or add more muscle bulk than in reality is there, or change a person’s face to one completely different.
Taking it too far
When you edit pictures and lets ignore the small edits, or artists who use photo editing as their artistic tool to make adjustments to add effects to the background such as to blur it, focusing on images that deceive. The image of a model may be stretched over a billboard next to a busy highway. The model is edited to make her look unnaturally thin. Even though there are bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission monitoring accuracy in advertising, this practice is extremely common. Advertisers routinely lie to the consumer, presenting images or photography of what is ideal and what people seem to aspire to. However, the image that is created is not authentic – it is fake. The result is that many people, both men and women, develop the wrong impression of how they should look. This leads to a high rate of depression over a loss of self-esteem.
The editing queen
Recently, new images of Madonna appeared on social media – and people were amazed at what they were seeing. The problem was that she also appeared in public; and the images taken of her without the filters and editing looked completely different. In fact, the authentic images of Madonna do not reflect a woman with a flawless skin. No, what you see is a face replete with fillers, and legs that are giving away her age. In the end, what you see is an idol who has changed her appearance to the extent that she does not look like herself anymore. Over-edited images using an image editor in an attempt to hide all the defects; however, if you can’t live a life free from over editing, this screams an insecure person afraid of aging.
The pressure to correct their image
There has been an outcry from influence groups and activists to stop the over editing of images that lead to harm for vulnerable and gullible people. Young people, especially, are susceptible to the images promoted as attainable, flaunted by others online. Marketing companies such as Ogilvy UK and large international companies like Unilever have been caught out being unscrupulous. Thus to save face and protect their brands, such companies have taken action to alter their tactics. Much of this, however, was thanks to Dove’s clever body positivity campaign of using real women who represent genuine society, rather than a number zero model. Companies like Unilever have released statements that they will not in the future be using social media influencers with an edited appearance.
The Julia Roberts’ advertisement for Lancôme Cosmetics
Julia Roberts took part in an advertising campaign for Lancôme Cosmetics; however, the images were banned in the United Kingdom. The reason – the images were over edited, and were labelled as misleading. More so, the cosmetic company Lancôme ultimately lost money spent on the campaign. However, Lancôme is not alone. Other companies, such as L’Oreal, Johnson and Johnson, Revlon, and others, had similarly made their products appear better than they were, thus displaying false advertising. What edit pictures, photo effects photo and enhancer apps can in reality hurt your brand image.
The moral of the story
The simple answer is to be careful not to over edit, and photo editing. Yes, editing an image to make it look somewhat better is not wrong. However, if the image is designed to deceive, consider the negative impact these images will have on your target audience. Also, it might even repel prospective buyers! You can make use of a professional photo editor, such as a virtual photo editor, to correct and polish your images. However, when you give your brief, make sure that over editing the image is not part of the protocol. It is regrettable that many celebrities are not willing to be bona fide role models. But a least there is hope for ad companies and businesses being compelled to change their ways. Will this trend continue or will it merely fade away? This is a question worth answering.