To the client who wants me to take off 20 years and 40 pounds,
I want you to know I understand. I think every single one of us can relate to wishing we looked different somehow. I think my arms are flabby, you think your belly is too squishy and your friend hates her wrinkles. I get it. Having family photos taken is tough.
And somewhere along the way, some idiot photographer started using the liquify tool to “magically” make a client look 20, 30, even 40 pounds thinner. And that same guy magically erased all her wrinkles in Photoshop too. He used the cloning tool to add a little more hair to her husband’s head. And voila! A perfect picture! At least, that’s what we’re supposed to think.
Well, don’t expect that crap from me. I won’t turn you into a 90 pound supermodel or edit in a thick head of hair over a bald spot. I don’t take off 20 years in Photoshop. It’s insulting to me as a photographer and it’s insulting to you as a person. We’ve conditioned ourselves to see our “flaws” when we look at photos of ourselves.
But here’s the thing… I don’t take photographs of the way people look. I take photographs of the way people love. Take a closer look at your photos and you’ll see the way your husband looks at you. It’s not hard to tell that he think you’re hot stuff, even after all these years. Take a closer look and you’ll see how your kids love you. Their laughter, how they hold your hand, the way they snuggle up against you.
These photos are treasures… picture proof that you loved and were loved. And listen, you’re beautiful without all that extra editing. Your husband thinks so, your kids think so. The sooner you realize that, the happier you’ll be.
So no, I won’t give your photos an extreme makeover in Photoshop. It’s my job to create authentic images that show the way your family loves and I think if you look through your gallery again with that in mind, you’ll see that I did a pretty damn good job.
the photographer who thinks you’re beautiful without a major Photoshop intervention
Letters From a Photographer is an original series by Design Aglow. Articles are meant to spark thought and conversation and be shared within our industry.
Note to photographers: Need help getting policies in place to help with issues like retouching requests? Our Essential Portrait Studio Policies for Success has everything you need!
Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What was your road like to becoming a photographer?
Hello! I am a portrait photographer based south of Boston, MA. My passion is capturing mothers and their growing families. Maternity and newborn portraits are the foundation of my business, and I also capture baby milestones, children, and families. Fun fact: I returned the diamond earrings my husband bought me for our first Christmas as a married couple to buy a digital camera.
When I was in college, I had a friend who was a professional photographer. The first time I went to her home, I walked in to find stunning photographs of her children on the walls.
There was a huge canvas in their living room and a creative photo display in the main hallway. I remember being so moved by the beauty of those images, thinking to myself, “I want to create images like this!” I bought myself a DSLR as a graduation present, learned photography from online courses and started my photography business about a year later.