Let me start by saying that I am not against skin clean up, or slight modifications to make someone look better. If a kid has acne, I will clean that up. If someone is wearing a small bandage on their big day, I will remove it. If someone is concerned about their weight and asks me to make them look skinnier, I even wrote an action which compresses the image by 5%. (I should also state that I rarely ever have to use this action for a client.) But when I make these modifications, for the most part, they are minor modifications that do not change the overall look of the person. We are who we are, and we should be OK with that.
Here is the ad that I saw:
If you look closely at this advertisement, you will see that they have done a lot of work to this girl. Amongst other things, they have completely redesigned her nose, slimmed her face, made her lips more full, and lightened her hair. I have a real problem with the ad campaign because it is saying to photographers that it is OK to completely change the way someone looks. I disagree. Photo retouching should be used like seasoning in a recipe. It should enhance the dish, not overpower it. Good photo retouching should barely be noticeable.
Here is a close up of the girl's "real" nose.
And here is her new "Michael Jackson" nose.
Here is another horrible Portrait Professional ad which I posted on my Facebook page last year:
I will admit that, in my opinion (influenced by the media), the girl on the right is more attractive. But the girl on the right is not the girl on the left. That is a different person, not literally, but with the assistance of software. I went to their web site to get more information, and landed on this page (at the risk of sending them a bunch of web traffic). Example after example of changing people's features.
Here is an example of one of my images (of my neighbor's daughter) which has been retouched. Did I clean up Bridget's skin? Yes, I did. Did I remove some fly-away hairs? You betcha. But did I make her skinnier or change any of her features? Not a chance.
Here is a before and after example of what I am talking about. This is a photo that I took of my daughter a couple of years ago. The top image is the retouched and finished photo. The one below shows the original photo taken. If you compare the two photos, you will notice the slight exposure adjustments, minor clean-up to her eyebrows, and a touch of skin smoothing. Not much more.
I have nothing against the Portrait Professional software package, and I know people who use it and really like it. But, I do have a problem with their advertising, and promoting such drastic change to a person's natural look.
Sorry everyone, but I thought we were being hired as photographers, not plastic surgeons!
I would love to know what you all think...