WPC – Contrast a tale of two photos.

Please click through to see both photographs.

This photograph was one of my reject ones, there are a few reasons why I wasn’t happy with it. The focus was slightly off what I wanted, she was squinting into the light. I wasn’t happy with the lighting overall and it just didn’t really interest me enough to process it.

However,  my daughter is a huge fan of Dance Moms and all the gala, pageant shows that are currently doing the rounds on telly and she asked me if I could make this (as she put it..) “Like the ‘professions’ make them look. ”  *Huge Sigh*  (In other words… Edited within an inch of it’s life.) So not one to skip a challenge I pulled it into Photoshop and tried to make it look fake like the ones she is on about. (I didn’t go overboard with the editing but you can see the difference). So this is the contrast between a natural unedited portrait shot and an edited portrait shot.

I am not knocking it, lots of people when they pay for a photoshoot in order to hang a photograph of themselves on the wall are quite adamant that they want it photoshopped and there are times where I have a good shot but it just needs some ‘pop’ that I am happy to do it. They want it to look beautiful, soft, unblemished, unfreckly, unwrinkled. However, I personally like a balance where you retain as much of the natural beauty of the person as possible though.  In the second shot with this kind of edit I really feel as though I have lost her in the shot, she looks beautiful but her personality doesn’t shine through anymore for me. I am glad to say, that as much as she did like the second edited one, she still prefers the first totally unedited one. Even if it was one of mummies rejects, because thankfully she loves her freckles.


Frankie1 edit


More contrast contributions here

26 thoughts on “WPC – Contrast a tale of two photos.

  1. Children are not good candidates for photo shopping or air-brushing, due to their young age. At this stage in their lives their skin is still plump, and naturally smooth. Their rounded features look very artificial when the naturalness is erased.. Of course for older models and film stars, it works a treat. But not with children.. eve p.s. late here so please excuse my writing.

    • I agree, it strips them of their personality as well I think. She thinks that the photoshopped photographs of the kids in Dance Moms etc are how photographs should look. I think not. 🙂

      • i live in france and a programme like dance mums would not be aired here. It is disgusting. the women, the fat one, is a monster. Imho, it is child abuse.. sorry. (I understand your concern with the programme.) eve

      • Oh she is a horrible bully. It is hard to watch. Luckily she is watching something similar now but with much nicer characters.

      • good, children should not be watching this woman.. I also have a bug in my bonnet about children beauty queen contests.. I mean, how naff? eve 🙂

      • Ha I know, the whole pageant thing is just something I cannot really get my head around. My daughter loves watching the programs but to be honest she finds them funny more than anything. She is watching Kim of Queens at the moment and it is probably the only one that I can actually stand to stay in the room when it is on because it is quite funny and the main lady seems actually really lovely. I couldn’t entertain my children doing anything like that, but everyone is different. 🙂

  2. A lovely shot of a lovely wee lassie. Without reading the words I decided the first was excellent and the second … not as good, or as appealing, or anything. Okay then: yuk. By comparison.

    And what’s wrong with freckles—?

    • Nothing, I love freckles but generally speaking when portraits are edited those little features are smoothed out. Not something that I personally do. The first shot is more her and shows her personality much more, although if I was going to use this one I would have sharpened it up slightly, messed with the levels and curves to give it a bit more depth and I would have made her eyes stand out slightly more but I wouldn’t have edited the second one to the degree that I have done here. .

    • Thank you, she is great to photograph because I always get a lot of depth with her, whereas it is hard to get anything other than a silly shot of my son at the moment, but I guess that is his personality. 🙂

  3. I’m also a big fan of freckles, I’ve never understood what people could have against them… (Speaking of Photoshopping, have you seen that woman who contracted Photoshop artists from 25 countries asking them to “make her beautiful”? http://www.estherhonig.com/#!before–after-/cvkn ). I find it very interesting to discover, from one country to the next, what “beautiful” can mean. Proving how subjective the notion is in the first place…

    • Oh my goodness! Some of them actually changed her natural eye colour! That was a really interesting article. I do prefer the more natural photograph I don’t think that anything should be added or changed to that degree. You are right, it is very subjective. For me beauty is to capture the personality of the person in the photograph. If you can do that then you have captured beauty. 🙂

  4. I loved these shots, not sure why you would want to bin it. Like most other people have said the unedited shot is lovely. I do like what you did with the eyes in shot 2 though. The slight sharpening of focus brings out the colour more and draws my eye. Good job!!

    • Well, bin it is probably the wrong word. I wanted a photograph to frame for the wall and there were better ones than this so as I shoot in Raw I only process the shots that I am going to actually use. So it is always there in my catalog but not one on this photoshoot that stood out other others. 🙂

    • I agree. They still look beautiful if you do not know the person and who they are. The second is a lovely picture however, it is not her. It is just a picture. A photograph should capture emotion that I think ‘smoothing out’ would lose quite quickly. I don’t disagree with an element of editing. If I needed work, the second picture sadly is the one I would have to put out. Quite sad. This is why some of my portrait shots of my own children can verge on the dark side sometimes, I just want to show another side to that. Editing is a tool of the trade but try not to erase the soul of the person stood in front of you.

  5. Pingback: 7-2-14 Weekly Photo Contest: Contrasts | The Quotidian Hudson

  6. I don´t have a trained photographic eye, but to me although both pictures are nice. She´s a nice looking kid, but the first picture(I´m stating the obvious here) is just more natural. I like that. In the second one actually it looks like she has put make up on. Quite fascinating what photographers can do.

    Why would I want to hang a picture of myself in the living room where I have not that pimple in the forehead that has been there forever or a scar on the cheek that has always been there. It would be quite strange for me to look at me and think, that´s a second version of me. A better looking one of me, but still quite strange. I like my pimple on my head. It´s part of me….unfortunately, but it´s me.

    • I totally agree with you Charlypriest, I don’t tend to do much editing on my portrait shots, they shouldn’t really need it. 🙂

  7. The big difference for me in the second picture (that made the photoshopping worthwhile) was that her green eyes had more light in them. I loved the unretouched picture for its natural beauty and her personality.

    • With the right focus you can achieve that brighter eye look, my focus on the first picture was off so if I was using that photo I would have brightened the eyes up with a bit of dodge and burn. I agree though, unedited gives more of a story and has more depth. 🙂

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