Today I want to talk about something that seems somewhat… controversial in the blogging community. Photo editing.
I feel like I see quite a few Tweets about bloggers editing photos and I have my opinions myself.
I’ll get to my opinions later but I first want to talk about why this post has come about.
After scrolling through my YouTube feed, I noticed that James Charles had posted a video where he FaceTunes his followers selfies.
I’ve watched it and yes, he says that it’s just for fun but I have a few issues with that. As an influencer, he should be encouraging his followers to be happy in their own skin. Not FaceTune what they don’t like out to look different.
I understand why influencers use FaceTune and Photoshop to edit photos. At the end of the day, they are all trying to push and sell products for big brands so want their photos to look perfect so people buy it. It’s their job and we see it in marketing all the time. Take a look at your McDonald’s burger and tell me that the photos on the menu aren’t Photoshopped. Years ago, I think they actually ADMITTED that they Photoshop their food to make it look appetising.
But James Charles, by offering to FaceTune people’s selfies, is fuelling that fire that every day people’s (not big influencer’s) selfies NEED to be edited to get the likes. There’s so much pressure on Instagram especially, to have those perfect selfies to get the likes, get reposted and get you noticed. Unfortunately though, it has become a requirement of being on social media. You HAVE to be perfect or you get no likes or laughed at.
Yes, in this video he only enhances and that for me is OK. But James Charles claims to be the self proclaimed ‘Queen of FaceTune’ and in THIS video, he even edits the shape of his head and hairline. That is where it goes too far, in my opinion.
I am all for editing out blemishes, smoothing the skin, enhancing lighting and anything that just ENHANCES what is already there. But when it comes to changing the shape of facial features or the actual face shape, it’s gone too far.
With a combined following of over 10 million, he should be encouraging people to love their skin and be more confident than just encouraging the use of FaceTune. Maybe teach followers how to get better lighting without editing. As my old Music Tech teacher used to say, you can’t polish a turd. If the photo doesn’t have the capacity to be edited, no amount of editing will make it look better.
Also, I think that the use of Photoshop is something that the blogging community in particular has an issue with.
Recently, I posted a poll on Twitter where most people say they’re not bothered about people editing photos but some Tweets I’ve seen over the past year would say otherwise.
I’m not posting the exact Tweets because that’s blogger drama I don’t want to be involved in thank you very much, but they all went along the lines of being sick of seeing overly Photoshopped photos that make life look perfect and sunny and less real.
I agree that it is an issue that makes smaller bloggers like myself, think that we have no chance because our photos aren’t professionally edited. I get the concept of touch ups and that’s fine but when photos almost look too pretty to be true? That’s when I start to find myself having a problem.
One thing I learned from my photographer friend is that you don’t need to edit photos to have stunning photographs. All you need is to learn how to use your camera and make use of props.
Seeing photos that are heavily edited, especially from bigger bloggers, makes me feel insecure about my own photos. If I edit my photos and spend hours worrying over angles and lighting and driving myself mad until I get that ‘Perfect Instagram-Worthy Photo’, am I going to get thousands of followers?
So Do I Do My Share Of Photo Editing?
I do touch up my photos. I’ll admit that but my phone camera has a manual function rather than just being point & shoot. I’ve found myself editing a lot less because I have control over exposure and lighting when I take the photo.
The only touching up I do is usually to brighten whites and make the subjects of my product photos stand out a little more rather than having lots of shadows. And when I do photography of makeup, I do like to make sure the colours are bright and I get rid of little spots that bug me. I lighten and I darken photos but because I am no pro at photo editing, that’s the extent of it.
Recently, I subscribed to Adobe for Photoshop & Lightroom CC and they’ve both upped my photo game dramatically. I owned Photoshop Elements before but it’s not as good as the full CC version. I’ve made my YouTube thumbnails better & have better edited Instagram photos. Plus, having a CC subscription has made accessing my photos between my laptop and phone super easy.
I’m not trying to shame anyone for editing photos. This is just my views on over editing, FaceTune etc. I edit my photos. I’d be a hypocrite to be totally against it. But I do think it causes an issue for influencers with a smaller following because they think they have to be perfect to be successful.
It’s not true. If you’re real and post content people want to engage with then you’ll be fine. Do YOU and don’t feel pressured to edit your photos if you don’t want to.
What’s your thoughts on FaceTune and Photoshop? Let me know!
Lots of Love,