Before you ask down in the comment section, YES, it has been requested that I make someone uglier. Specifically a bridesmaid that (to the bride) looked better than her. I think she was joking……
Why You Hate Photos of Yourself
Your mirror is F***ing You
Seriously, you’re not fugly (probably). It’s just science that makes you think you are. I mean, I’m a photographer for goodness sake. I have been for over 15 years and I still absolutely despise most images of myself and I KNOW how to pose my body to my advantage. Also, I am confident person, I don’t have body image issues. I can stand in the mirror prepping for a session, think heck yeah I look good, Look at that sexy bitch! (You do it too, don’t lie) then a client or my assistant will take a BTS (behind the scenes) photo and I’m like…. NOOOOO… how can I post that? I look hideous! OMG why didn’t someone tell me the top of my crack (love handles, bra bulge, bra strap, double/quadruple chin) was showing when I knelt down? (Seriously people, let a girl know if her crack is showing)
So who do I blame?
Because of an effect called “mere-exposure,” people react more favorably to things they see more often. Like their mug in the mirror everyday! A psychologist named Robert Zajonc, who formulated mere-exposure, tested this with everything from shapes, to facial expressions, even nonsense words. Since we see ourselves most frequently in the mirror, this is our preferred self-image. According to the mere-exposure effect, when your slight facial asymmetries are left unflipped by the camera, you see an unappealing, alien version of yourself. In case you didn’t know, the more symmetrical your face is the prettier/handsomer you are (supposedly). But very few people have perfectly symmetrical faces. So when you see your face swapped, and others telling you how awesome your photographs are but you think they’re hideous, remember that you’re not seeing the everyday face in the mirror but this is how your friends and family see you! (Don’t cry)
The camera’s “eye” is better than yours – Your brain is better than the camera
Our eyes see color differently at different light levels than a camera. Typically, if you saw an image of mine prior to processing, it would appear darker than the final edited images but the color would look a lot brighter than it appeared to your eyes in person. Also, cameras freeze motion and allow us to see details that are typically not noticeable while a person is in motion. Those two sun spots on your face, no one really notices them when you’re standing around talking to them or walking by. The camera however latches on to every little detail and captures them forever (and ever and ever) and in a sharp focus.
Why can / can’t you Photoshop me (more) beautiful?
Different photographers and editors do things differently based on their personal style and tastes. Some think PS is a no no – (besides basic light & color adjustments) you should never change how a person appears, it’s insulting. Some like to make their clients look like a plastic doll.
Personally, when I edit client images, I like to edit out things that were either my fault (that belly lump because I didn’t pose the client well or notice that DANG HAIR BAND on their arm), or things that aren’t permanent on their body (acne, stray hair, redness, bruises, those weird marks your skin makes when you’re cold, minor tan lines etc.) If I know prior to editing, that a client has a special request (like removing a scar) I will take care of those as well. Most clients never realize I’ve even done so much work. I just want people to feel good about themselves, so I’m going to present them with the best (realistic) them possible!
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ― Amy Bloom