Photoshop alterations of women have been somewhat of a hot topic lately (or maybe more accurately – it now sells products to bash “Photoshopping”), so I thought I’d share my perspective as a photographer.
I absolutely love using Photoshop to manipulate the bodies of people to look more physically appealing. Why? Because, its my job to create images that look better than reality…and people that look better than reality sell photographs.
And here’s the dirty little secret – my clients and the people in those photos love it too.
Hit the break and let me explain.
Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Think about when you meet someone in person. You usually get a pretty good sense of their relative attractiveness instantly.
Now, think about what you are basing that opinion on.
Their visual appearance? Yes, of course.
But, you’re also basing your opinion on how they smell, how they sound, how they act, how they treat you, how they treat others – there is a whole range of externalities that go into that split second opinion.
Now think about how you judge the relative attractiveness of a person in a photograph.
The visual is all you have to go on. What’s more, you only have a visual that is frozen in a split second of time.
That little pucker of flab at the back of her dress – you would never have noticed it in real life, but it sticks out like a sore thumb in a photo. The hint of a beer belly under his t-shirt – wouldn’t have even been visible in real life, but with the lighting and the pose, it sure is distracting in a photo.
The point is, everyone, no matter how attractive and flawless they may appear in person, has some sort of physical imperfections that viewers notice in a photograph.
You might not even notice seemingly insignificant body imperfections consciously, but magazines do not “Photoshop” their models for fun. They do it because that is what their readers want to see, which in turn sells magazines.
How To Photoshop Women To Be Skinny And More Attractive
OK – so the title is obviously meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek. I mean, you can Photoshop men to be skinny and more attractive too, and most men need a whole lot more Photoshopping than women. Oh, and yes I know, skinny does not equal more attractive. Its a joke. Take a deep breath.
But that still leaves the question, how do you actually use Photoshop to smooth out physical imperfections and make people more attractive in photographs?
The secret is the Photoshop liquefy filter.
When your non-photographer friends are talking about “Photoshopping” – they’re probably talking about the liquefy filter.
When a gaggle of women are gossiping over the latest grocery store celebrity magazine cover….yep – liquefy.
Now, I am not talking about major, obviously fake Barbie doll / Atlas muscle man Photoshop alterations.
I am talking about a subtle nip and tuck, boost and pucker to tidy up small physical imperfections and enhance certain assets.
All natural scrawny JP, suckin’ it in to the max.
Freaky looking mega-man JP just ate a can of spinnach.
Using the Adobe Photoshop CC Liquefy Filter
To show you how I typically use the liquefy filter in Photoshop CC, I put together this little Photoshop liquefy filter video tutorial:
The trick with the liquefy filter is to be subtle. Resist the temptation to go crazy with it – there is a fine line between an attractive, smooth waist and she-can’t-possibly-be-that-skinny-and-her-waist-looks-weird.
In the world of commercial photography, the liquefy filter is just a part of a good photographer’s tool kit.
But, if you work on the retail side – say in lifestyle, weddings, or boudoir – you absolutely owe it to your clients to learn how to effectively use the liquefy filter…but, you might just not want to tell your clients about how much flab you took off them.
Do You Photoshop Your Models To Be More Attractive?
Do you use the liquefy filter in Photoshop to touch up or enhance physical features?
Leave a comment below and let us know why or why not.
About the Author
JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand.
JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.