Don't fake out your subjects with Photoshop

To Photoshop or not to Photoshop?

I believe; don't fake out your subjects with Photoshop, but I'm a big fan of enhancing instead. 

No one will scrutinise a picture more closely than we will of ourselves.

We are our own worst critics.

When meeting people we 'mind-edit', think about it. You don't scrutinise a person's face, you 'feel' them. We have this natural ability to ignore flaws and pickup on the actual person we're engaging with and that's exceptional. In fact, scrutiny comes with still photos because they don't engage. No one will scrutinise a picture more closely than we will of ourselves.

Charlottes portrait.

When I was younger, my skin was horrendous, I would have given my right arm to clear it up, literally! There are very few pictures of me because of how insecure I was on camera. There was also the slight chance I preceded the 'selfie' age by just a 'few' years. Just a few... ;-)

When we took photos of Charlotte, her skin had flared up so using Photoshop to remove and enhance after was a given. 


I remove wrinkles, the odd 'saddlebag' and 'muffin top' here and there, but I avoid morphing entirely. It looks silly and draws negative criticism. Morphing is what's made people anti-Photoshop in the first place. 

My photographers Photoshop checklist for faces. 

  • Remove blemishes:
    First, I remove all blemishes. It takes skill to do this properly, so it looks natural. 
  • Reduce NOT remove wrinkles
    Reducing wrinkles in those of us who are older is more realistic, it gives a vibrance but not 'fakeness' to the overall portrait. 
  • Scars, ask.
    I ask about scars, some people love their scars, they are battle wounds and we all love a battle wound story. 
  • Smooth the skin.
    Smoothing the skin leads to the next step and gives a vibrant feel. 
  • Even makeup and remove any shine.
    The idea isn't to 'fix' the makeup, it's to enhance. I even out the tones that are there, if there is any shine, I remove it. 
  • Body enhancement.
    This can be a dangerous road and should be tackled gently. 

PS: A makeup artist is gold! 

I feel makeup is key in excellent portrait photography; it makes a vast difference to the end product. I always recommend using someone to my portrait clients. Actually, to any of my female clients for any kind of shoot I do.

BTW: There is no fix-button in Photoshop.

Many people think Photoshop is magic, well in some ways it kind of is, but it needs the right person using it. Fixing blemishes and smoothing skin tones takes skill. If you don't know what you're doing, you can make the subject look plastic or bruised. I'm not a makeup artist, but through portrait photography and retouching over many years I've picked up a trick or two! 

Southern Suburbs Portrait Photographer: 

I'm based in Constantia Cape town, I shoot portrait and family photos all over the Southern Suburbs. My equipment, backdrops and lighting are fully portable and I'm able to set up a studio in the convenience of your home. 

Contact me for more information.