I’ve been struggling with Adobe Photoshop lately. Not technically though… It’s been an ethical struggle wondering when is enough, really enough.
I started learning and using Photoshop in 2001. That’s 11 years of using Photoshop during which I’ve found many ways to hack Photoshop and get results using my own shortcuts. These days, I am capable of doing pretty much anything in Photoshop: adding, removing, shaping, reshaping, fixing, or destroying… And that’s why I started asking myself… Just because I can do something, should I do it?
I can make people look 100 pounds slimmer but should I? I can remove all wrinkles and dark spots but is that necessary? I can make a 60 year-old woman look like she’s 40. Should I?
Because of all this wondering, I submitted the above photo (original edit) for a critique at one of the private photography groups I belong to. Almost 20 photographers critiqued this photo with only three critiques:
- One photographer suggested cropping the right hand out because it draws the eye down.
- One photographer suggested removing the aging spots on the shoulder and fixing her hair.
- All other photographers suggested removing the lines and wrinkles on her face.
While I did agree with the first two critiques and fixed that in the second photo; I was pretty surprised that everyone else though I should soften her skin even more. Especially, because they had the before photo and knew her age (let’s say she is 55+) However, for the sake of discussion and learning, I’ve removed her lines in the third photo. I still believe that while we should beautify our clients, we should also be able to draw that fine line between beautiful realistic edit and overdone photo.
What do you think? Should we do something just because we can? When is enough, really enough?