I was recently asked by a client about my editing / retouching policy. I hated that the first thing I had to say was, "You'll still look like you". She nodded in relief. It's so weird to me that there are photographers out there who specialize in making you look like a computerized Barbie version of yourself! I want you to look like yourself, your REAL self, on your best, happiest day. I want your friends to look at an image and say, "Oh my gosh, that's such a good picture of you!" rather than saying, "Wow... what great Photoshop work! You look great... after all that editing!"I do edit and retouch images, but I try to be light-handed about it. I want you to look GOOD! We'll get rid of your breakouts, edit that stain on your shirt, and fix weird lumps in your clothing that are distracting, but I want your skin to look like skin, not plastic. I want your face to look like YOUR face, not some weird anime version of your face. This is why I still call myself a photographer, and not a "digital artist" or something.
For some of you, your truest, most authentic beauty is found in a huge smiley grin. For others of you, it's that wave in your hair, or a moment of intense eye contact. Sometimes it's the expression on your face when you think I'm just screwing around, and you laugh at me. Seriously! I love it when people laugh, (at me, or with me!) Every person has their own, individual beauty, and it's my job to find that and broadcast it. Sometimes it's a quiet presence and graceful movements. Sometimes it's sequins and glitter, and spotlights, and neon... awesome!! It doesn't matter. What makes you the most beautiful is when you look like yourself, loving life.
To edit the absolute crap out of you would be saying that I thought you were maybe okay-looking, but not quite beautiful enough. It would be saying that, "the way you look in reality is fine, I guess, but your face would look so much better made out of plastic"... which is not something I believe AT ALL. The people I'm the most drawn to and find the most beautiful, my best friends, who I love and do life with, are REAL. LIVE. PEOPLE... and I love them for it!
I will make you look like a real person. You look better that way... I promise.
* sidenote - despite the title of this post, I don't want to make your skin look like paper, either. It was just a catchier title than "Real live skin or plastic?" ;)