Recently, we did a photo shoot for a beauty product company, and even though the talent (who was one of my previous brides!) was naturally beautiful, we had to do some digital enhancements. For all our wedding & portraiture work, we do some minor touch ups, but not as extensive as this. Would like to share with you a before and after shot for this shoot. The image on the left is taken directly off the CF card with no enhancements. And the image on the right is the digitally touched up one!

What are your thoughts on digitally enhancing images? Are you for, or against it?

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Priscilla says:

    What you see is NOT what you get.
    I feel it’s misleading. So the beacuty company is trying to promote their product which they claim will make you look like in the pic on the right. But this is so not true, isn’t it?

    If digitally removing things like pimple is ok because pimples are not permanent features on a person’s face. It’s just bad timing to have a breakout during a photoshoot.

  • I don’t see a problem with it. At the end, it is all about connecting with the target audience. So, if it meant distorting reality, then so be it.

    Too bad my skills tak cukup level lah! :P

  • Asther says:

    Depending on who you are doing the pictures for really… For portraits & weddings assignments, I believe it’s totally fine cos I’m pretty sure the clients wants to look their very “best” in their photos.

    As for commercial clients, well… it IS our job to digitally enhance these images to their requirements, but as for the consumers, it’ll definitely come as a misleading message to them. However, WHICH commercial medias do not digitally enhance their productions be it a print advert or even movies?

    Just my two cents worth.

    By the way… TOTALLY love the result here. If it’s me, it’ll take me aaaages to edit to this level! :P

  • Grace Tan says:

    Priscilla, I actually agree with Asther. I am of the mindset that we need to enhance our images to make our clients look better (who doesn’t want to look better!). As for beauty ads, that is a normal thing in the industry. The company behind the beauty product doesn’t set out to mislead people. In every TV commercial, print ad, online ad etc, especially related to beauty products, EVERY single shot is digitally enhanced. No model has the perfect skin or face. What you’ve brought up is a normal debate that has been around for a long time.

    As for wedding photography, sometimes, photographers do add in additional items like clouds, lightning (if you search hard enough online, you’ll find out which shot!), unexistent props etc. Personally, I don’t really subscribe to that train of thought. I prefer enhancing what was shot, rather than adding things that are not there. I am ok to remove things that are distracting from an image though.

  • I believe in making someone look their best – not to the extreme that it is no longer them. I actually prefer the one on the left – i connect better with imperfections, I trust them more. Imperfections are what actually make us beautiful.

  • I am with Lorrie. I prefer the picture on the left. She looks more real and she is GORGEOUS there! The one on the right is “PICTURE perfect”… not real to me. Just my taste lah!

  • Debbie Loh says:

    Hello :)

    Somewhere in between left and right would be nice. I always admire ad campaigns where you can still see the pores of the model and the natural lines of the skin, instead of something that looks a bit too smooth =) I think it’s called DI-ing right hahaha! Digital Imaging. Used to work with a creative agency who did TOOOOO much of it that it looks sooo super DI-ed! =) Striking a balance is good :)

  • Sze Ning says:

    I think it’s ok because it is within the context of the advertising field. It would be an issue in situations like if it’s a before and after picture claiming the ‘real thing’.

    Blog posts such as this is great as it helps inform people of the nature of advertising so that they’re not disillusioned.

  • Mark says:

    I think its fine but too much of it will definitely be questionable.

    That is why I like those large magazines like National Geographic. To maintain the standards of their photos, they only receive RAW images from the photographers. No retouching at all. That is perfectly fine in that world.

    When it comes to wedding, I guess each client will have their own specific likes and dislikes :)

  • Alicey says:

    wow the “after” image u shared, it looks really natural. how did u do that?

    Anyw, am i for it? Yes but not too much. I think there must be a real-enough representation of the subject in pictures. Of coz, if its a fashion magazine and so on, I think more enhancing shld be allowed as long as readers KNOW that, that’s needed to achieve certain concept / artistic presentation, but not to be fooled to set those standards against themselves and be depressed abt it.

  • Grace Tan says:

    Thanks for the interesting point of views! It is quite surprising to me that Lorrie and Edmund prefer the image on the left. Thanks for sharing.

    Alice: It was entirely done in Photoshop with layers and some actions, and cloning too!

  • Touching up is probably so yesterday. Nowadays, I think a lot prefer not to fake it too much, natural is the best.

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