Thoughts On Photoshop Retouching

Listen, I have an opinion when it comes to photo retouching—Photoshopping, if you will, though I know Adobe frowns upon that verbage.

Not all of it represents a negative or unrealistic version of a human body. I mean, most of it does, but not all of it.

We all want to look good in our own eyes. We all have a version of a self that we want to obtain, whether it’s through clothes, environment, general appearance, reputation, etc. We have standards for ourselves. (And if someone doesn’t, well… I have other opinions on those people that I’m not going to share. Because I’m legitimately, occasionally a bitch.) People will wear makeup to do something to their face. Maybe they want to show something artistic. Maybe they want to present a skill with an example—“I’m skilled with makeup. My current face is an example.” Maybe they want to enhance what they think is beautiful, with eyeliner or lip liner or highlighter. Maybe they want to cover up a blemish that will eventually heal.

The thing is, our faces and bodies change and move so much in real life that it’s impossible to photographically capture all that our faces and bodies are.

I recently retouched a selfie of mine that I absolutely adore. I love the way I look. I look at that picture, and I think: “I am beautiful. I want to feel this beautiful, and as beautiful as I did taking the selfie, every day.” It’s a confidence thing. I retouched the photo to remove some pimples and blemishes that are no longer there. Having them there would technically be an inaccurate representation of my appearance—I’d also have to add in new pimples if I wanted a really accurate representation. So I just took out the flaming red irritation on my forehead. I didn’t alter the way my bone structure looked. It was a simple retouch to clear up my skin.

Nobody has outrightly judged me for this. If they did, I wouldn’t care too much. I’d care a little, but I’d get over it, just like they would also (probably) get over it.

I’m not ashamed. The unfiltered and unretouched selfie is on my Instagram and I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to make a statement by showing my face as-is. But since I’ve started using that particular selfie across my social media, I want a more general appearance.

I wanted to show my face the way I want to be seen. So I gave it to myself. I opened the picture in Photoshop and quickly, easily removed what wasn’t there anymore. I’m allowed to do this because it’s my face and my picture.

Thoughts On Photoshop Retouching Selfies Self Confidence Technology

2 Comments


  1. I retouch every single photography I take but more to enhance it’s natural beauty (or to remove the bloody dust on my sensor!). However, I’ve stopped photoshopping my face in photos of myself. I used to remove every single spot on my face because I was so self-concious of my skin. I still am but I’m trying to learn that it’s a part of me and photoshopping them out isn’t going to make it any better.

    I actually have a friend who works as a retoucher in the fashion industry and it looks like such an interesting job, although it must be depressing knowing that you are erasing what makes people unique.

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  2. I’ve never retouched a photo of myself, but it’s more out of laziness than anything else. Most of my photos are just used for Facebook, for friends to see, so I’m not that bothered what I look like on them.

    I think it’s fine to retouch photos, though. It’s just like putting make-up on, which everyone does without an issue. I don’t know why it would matter if you’re changing something before or after the photo, it’s pretty much the same thing.

    Thank you for leaving some questions on my latest post!

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