Cure Photoshop addiction!
November 19, 2008
Today, we wrestle with the question: Is it OK to retouch wrinkles or should you leave them alone? Imagine making Grandma look like a Hollywood starlet. Don't you think there's something wrong with that?
When you start making your grandmother's face as smooth as the bottom of her newest great grandchild, you know you've got a problem. Yeah, most of you don't go that far. But how far do you go? If you haul out the Healing Brush and clone tools and make her look as good as your wife unretouched, or retouch your wife to look as good as your twenty-something daughter, you're going too far.
Don't give grandma a makeover!
Retouching is great. Photographers have retouched portraits since the mid-1800s and artists have idealized their sitters long before da Vinci lifted Mona Lisa's lip (do you really think she looked like that?).
She earned her wrinkles--leave 'em alone.
Although Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters expect their youthfulness to be reavealed on magazine covers how far should you retouch the faces of your family? It's a tricky question. Those who inhabit the world of makeup do tend (but not always) to have higher expectations about how their faces appear. But at the same time, with Photoshop at your disposal, it's quite easy to make those portraits you shot yesterday appears as if they were taken few decades ago. The problem? You're dissing reality and truthfulness, albeit seemingly harmless. But maybe not so harmless if the owner of the face mentally compares the portrait seen in the picture to that seen in the mirror. What then?
So by all means, soften the wrinkles with a light Gaussian blur with a radius setting of a pixel or two but don't sand blast them with a double digit radius setting. Remove some crow's feet from the eyes, remove the worst of the age spots and blemishes and the distracting strands of hair. But don't turn a wonderfully imperfect person into an ideal that can't be achieved or--worse yet--will barely seem recognizable.