So, what do we have here? In an assignment for my course "Digital photo editing" that I'm taking this semester we are right now learning how to retouch portraits. We were supposed to hand in one "realistic" version where none of the characteristics has disappeared and one "extreme" or "beauty" version where we use all the tricks we've learnt to beautify the person on the photo.
- The photo to the left is the original, a selfie I took the other day. It has a color cast - it's too yellow - and a bit dark.
- The second photo is the realistic version, where I have improved the colors so the look more like they do in real life plus I have brightened it up some. I have also adjusted a lipstick smudge, increased the contrast in the eyes and tried to reduce a light reflection in the glasses. And removed some dirt from the glasses, and a few small spots in the skin.
- The third photo is more fake than you might immediately see. Besides all the small adjustments from the photo in the middle there are quite a few other ones. The skin is "blurred" to remove anything that can look like a pore, I have added extra hair (that part looks pretty fake in my opinion - not my best work) and made the eye color more interesting and vibrant. But most importantly I have reduced the size of the nose, made the eyes larger plus made the shape of the lips more symmetrical. The whole chin is also more narrow.
Not strange that we feel we are being compared with super-humanly beautiful people all the time, right? I knew this from before but seeing how "easy" this is made it even more obvious. I mean, this just took me, a beginner, just a few hours.
You might think it's stupid and wrong that we learn how to do this, so this unfair treatment of photos can continue? Then I just want to add that this whole segment of the course was introduced by discussing the ethics of just this as going through a bunch of interesting examples all the way back from the 1800-hundreds. This is a really good course that generally focuses on other things than this, but I guess it is still a big part of photo editing so they can't just skip it...