Outfit Personal Song of Style

Do You Retouch Your Photos?

146 comments

aimee-song-no-retouch

(Wearing a FCUK coat, pictured with Darling Magazine)

To be honest, I’ve photoshopped and retouched my photos before. I mean, sometimes my mirror and camera don’t agree on what I look like. Whether I have a blemish on my face or there’s a weird strand of hair sticking out (I call it the hair boner) or I simply just forgot to suck it in and look pregnant (I’ve been asked this so many times on Instagram!), I am guilty of having my photos altered a bit so I can share a ‘prettier’ version of myself. That said, I don’t do this all the time and I’ve never retouched myself so much to the point I manipulate my body (with the exception of the few times I thought I’d be asked if I was pregnant). Is this bad? At what point do we draw the line when it comes to retouching?aimee-song-retouching
I know people are enraged at certain magazines when they alter a model’s body a little too much, claiming it sends the wrong message to the world. However, have you ever considered who’s really to blame in this situation? Are we (the consumers) to blame, because this is what we want to see, or are the magazines to blame for training us to think this way over time while they are striving for “perfection”?

We hide our imperfections with make-up and I’m sure we all try to pose a certain way so that we look “better” in photos. Does that mean we’re lying to ourselves?

I love this quote from Ellen DeGeneres, “Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.” aimee_song_skin_photoshop
Growing up, I knew I didn’t fit the mold of what’s beautiful in our society. There were so many times that I felt like I didn’t fit in because of my body type, my skin color, my skin itself (I’ve always had eczema) and strived for unrealistic beauty. It’s a constant struggle to be comfortable in my own skin, but I’m getting better at it and the more I accept who I am, the happier I am and feel blessed to have my own unique features that make me different from everyone else. You see, beauty doesn’t come in just one form. When people talk about ‘real beauty’ and shame thin models in magazines, I feel that it’s again putting beauty in the box because skinny girls, curvy girls, girls with freckles… all of us are real people with real beauty!

Anyways, the point of the post was to ask, what is your take on retouching? Do you retouch your photos? Where do you draw the line?

146 Comments

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  1. I think retouching is ok if you’re adjusting the light or color saturation. Also, removing blemishes and marks aren’t harmful, just don’t go overboard.

  2. Thank you for such an honest post. I play with light and clarity only, probably because I don’t know how to use photoshop (I use Lightroom). If I knew I would probably make myself slimmer all the time :) I don’t care if others do, no judgements :)
    Ana
    http://www.champagnegirlsabouttown.co.uk

  3. We will never be able to please everyone. If we edit or if we don’t someone will always have an opinion. It is difficult to compete with today’s photo shop and professional photographers. But that is why I started following fashion blogs. They were more real than magazines and people I could more easily relate to than celebrities. Now things are changing. I admit I edit my photos, but I still like to have a bit of realness to my photos. Im not perfect, I never strive to be. I am just me. Thank you Aimee, for sharing and being real.
    -Laura
    Laura Lily

    Latest Post: Graffiti Print Dress

  4. I don’t retouch my photos, I used to do it before but I want to be real, I know better now and I love myself the way I am. It took me pretty much 26 years of my life to accept all of my flaws and imperfections and finally understand that people won’t love me because of my looks or perfectly retouched photos, they’ll love me and read my blog because I inspire them, because they can relate to me, etc. There’s no such thing as perfection and if somebody IS looking for it in blogging world, or any “other” then it means that they still haven’t come to terms with them selves and reality…

    http://lartoffashion.blogspot.com

  5. Eye Like Fashion says on November 19, 2014

    Totally appreciate your honesty. And completely agree with beauty in all shapes, sizes, and color. It’s still very hard to remember 100% of the time. Youre my favorite blogger and you are stunning inside and out.

    http://www.eyelikefashion.com

  6. Thank you so much for this article, it’s interesting and inspiring. The way you admited that sometimes your retouch your photos is perfect, you are a human begin and it’s natural that in one moment your think that your hair is a disaster but you are okey with yourself and that is a very important message
    Kisses

    http://www.misskeyblog.com/

  7. I don’t have a problem with a little retouching. Just a way to make a photo stand out. Thanks for this post about this! It doesn’t make me mad when I see you (or anyone else) has edited a photo. Yes, the brighter photos definitely look better in my opinion, and this is what I really love about blogs- the photography! Its just a part of the “Art” of it!

  8. As a photographer, I almost always retouch my photos. If you have a bad hair day, or you have some acne on the day of a photoshoot, I think it’s normal that you want to retouch it a bit. As long as it stays natural and you don’t go overboard.

  9. Love that you are talking about this topic! Would really enjoy knowing specifics of what you use to retouch – other than Photoshop.

    Thank you very much for your incredible photos! : )

  10. I think adjusting the lighting is actually a good thing. Sometimes I capture a photo and the lighting is completely off, therefore I will adjust the brightness to my liking. I also don’t think editing your blemished skin is terrible because I have found that cameras can accentuate that. Blemishes or redness I wasn’t even aware of can become an issue. However, I do think there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. We shouldn’t change ourselves so drastically, our internet self should mimic our real life self, not warp it into somebody you are not. x

  11. I love this post, such a beautiful message. Thank you for posting this! I have moles on my face and people have commented before “You have chocolate on you face!” so for a while I was retouching them out of my photos but it just didn’t look like my face without them and most of the time they aren’t even noticeable. Now I just retouch out distracting things, things that take away from the clothing. Like cat scratches on my hand or like you mentioned, those annoying hair boners!

  12. I totally retouch photos exactly the way you do- hair boners, the occasional blemish, when I slouch weird and it makes me look did proportioned. Sometimes I tone down my cleavage by extending my shirt (again angles) and I don’t feel bad about it. If it’s something I can fix with makeup or standing up straight! I’ve also had to deal with feeling different – too tall, too curvy, arms and legs too skinny, not enough hair on my head, too much hair other places. And then I got cancer and realized… That I still cared. Even bald, on chemo, fighting for my life. There is just something ingrained in us that makes us want to feel beautiful, and I think it’s OK.

  13. When I started to blogging (which wasn’t that long ago) I didn’t even have photoshop on my pc, only thing I used to do is to brighten my pictures. Well, now I have ps on my laptop, but honestly I have no idea have it works and I am not too patient to learn the tricks even if I liked to. However, the other day I found an article how you can transform your springish background into something fallish (having nice red leaves instead of green), I tried it, but once again, it is just only the background.

    Printed or Plain

  14. And brighten mine and play around with the contrast, and very occasionally retouch a big blemish or sometimes even creases in my clothes! I think blogging should be a realistic portrayal, as it is a representation of real people living real lives!

    Shot From The Street | Fashion Blog

  15. Patrick says on November 19, 2014

    I don’t see retouching as a problem. You are not your blemishes, ezcema or occasional “pregnant bloat”! To remove or alter those issues to make yourself appear as yourself on days where those issues don’t exist is not harmful. It’s the same as makeup!

  16. Thank you for bringing up this touchy subject. I do admit to adjusting lighting and removing the occasional blemish, bruise and food baby to enhance a photo. I am aware that most people will never even notice what I consider to be my flaws, but I can’t help but zero in on those little things. (It’s like a crooked picture hanging on the wall, I can’t help but fix it if I’m able!) I don’t think this kind of retouching warrants any shaming or judging, so long as bloggers don’t go overboard and turn into magazine cover-type Photoshop jobs!

    Thanks for being honest, this is why I love following you. :)

  17. I wish you knew how beautiful you are. There are people that look at you and wish they looked like you.

    It doesn’t look like you did any extreme retouching. Color and exposure corrections are totally normal part of post-processing. You need to give an accurate representation of the clothing, that’s for sure. As for retouching a person, I try to keep it as natural as possible. If it’s something that will be gone on it’s on by next week (skin issues) or wild fly away hair, I will fix that, and I will also remove lens spots or marks on the clothing. Anything past that is really too much work.

  18. i retouch my photos, but just a little bit. i’ll play with the lighting if it wasn’t great when i took the picture, and i will retouch blemishes and things like that, but nothing that makes it unrealistic. i like the photo to look as similar as possible to the one the camera actually took.

    http://www.waterlilyshop.com
    @waterlilyshop

  19. Great post! I used to edit my photos to improve brightness and color because I didn’t have a great camera, but since getting a DSLR, I haven’t had to. It’s not top-of-the-line, but it’s a whole lot better than my old camera. I’m happy with my body, blemishes and all, and I think everyone should be comfortable in their own skin.

    ~www.mystyleoasis.blogspot.com~

  20. I am not going to drop names, but I have noticed a lot of bloggers retouch their photos to look as if their thighs or arms are slimmer. I am against that. But retouching your photos like you have here by manipulating the brightness level or contrast is just fine with me. I do it. Also, fixing excema spots or blemishes on photos is also fine with me as long as you don’t make your skin look like porcelain and flaunt a fake perfect even skintone. Photography almost always looks better when retouched, but not to the point of creating illusions and lying to your readers.

  21. I think small retouching is okay, a blemish here and there! But what you can see in magazines is too much!
    xx
    SASHA

  22. I do occasionally smooth my skin because, like you, I have skin issues with psoriasis and scarring from psoriasis. Thanks for such an honest post!

  23. I think retouching photos when it comes to lighting/exposure/saturation etc is fine especially if you just want to make the picture clearer. I don’t really like super photoshopped photos where people look way too airbrushed, but like you said, maybe removing a hair strand or a fallen bra strap is okay.
    I also have had eczema for most of my life so I also understand how one may want to edit it out or retouch it so the skin doesn’t look as red/dry/bumpy or what not, but I am also a firm believer of accepting the skin you are in since it may influence other people to not be so ashamed or embarrassed of it. And yes! Beauty does come in all forms and there is beauty in each and every single person out there regardless of how different they can look compared to another person; everyone is unique and beautiful in their own way. =)

  24. Love that you’re bringing a more serious topic to the table! I think retouching your photos to edit effects or enhance the beauty that is already there is totally acceptable. We all have little quirks that we would like to hide, I’m definitely guilty of editing to remove a blemish or two, but it’s not okay to completely alter your image to become a different person. Everyone is beautiful in their own way and it’s up to us to accept ourselves so that the public image can be changed!

    With love,
    Patti
    http://dailyxdaydream.blogspot.com

  25. The problem with retouching in fashion magazines is that it’s too extreme. We think those women are perfect when they really aren’t and therefore they are sending a bad message to society. They make you want to be perfect when perfect is impossible!
    However, I think it’s fine when you want to conceal a little blemish or something like that. You still look natural. You are not changing your body shape.
    I mainly use photoshop to change the light of my photos if necessary.

    http://memoriesofthepacific.blogspot.com.es/

  26. I love your honesty in this post. I think it’s fine to retouch small things like a blemish, stray piece of hair, or something along those lines. A lot of times I will Photoshop out a piece of gum, or a car in the background of a photo that’s distracting, or takes away from the outfit.

    -Katie
    http://www.theaisleofstyle.com/

  27. Aimee, applause for posing this question. I hope you’re genuinely interested in your readers’ answers. I’m a relative latecomer to the blogging world but quickly found a dozen or so fashion/lifestyle blogs that I follow regularly, including yours. It didn’t take me long, though, to tire of them all after realizing that so many bloggers’ content and aesthetic is the same, from the French macarons that clog their photo feeds to their heads full of perfect, beachy waves to the ankle boots they swear by and the shots of passports in their laps while en route to the next fab locale. It’s all the same! And while I got sick of the blogs’ sameness, I also somehow got sick of myself, feeling more imperfect and unworthy with every new post I read. So, it’s refreshing and exciting to see unedited, un-retouched photos like these, the photos that make you more relatable, more accessible, and more real—eczema, hair boners and all. I, for one, would love it.

  28. I have no problem with retouching photos. Everyone does it. It is no news. As long as you do not change your look drastically and just delete a blemish or improve the exposure, I do not see anything wrong.
    Beautiful necklace and ring!
    X
    Miri

    http://currentlywearing.com

  29. I unfortunately don’t have Photoshop, so I’m unable to retouch my photos! The most I’ve ever edited is simply brightening my photo (using none other than iPhoto).

    I love this post though and I respect you for showing us some example of retouching contrasts (before and after). Bloggers often look so ‘perfect’ in their posts, with high quality images and an airbrushing feature that’s been overused. It’s a relief to know you superbloggers are ‘normal’ too! You’re gorgeous Aimee and such an inspiration.

    Beth xo.

    http://www.bethnorton.co.uk

  30. Glad you mentioned this touchy subject. The statement about my camera not agreeing with my mirror, really resonates with me. Which is why I retouch my pics. How I see myself in the mirror doesn’t translate to the photo without all sorts of proper lighting and technical props that I don’t have time for as a busy working mom. And I want to be seen in my posts the way I see myself. Self acceptance is critical to one’s happiness BUT that is easier said than done throughout all phases of one’s life from puberty onwards. Although I accept my looks (like by “five-head”), there are SOME things that I’m not exactly thrilled about especially as I grow older (I’m 42) like those parenthesis line thingy’s. So I do “smooth” things out a tiny bit with Aps like Aviary but limit that to like 10 minutes (like I said, busy mom). Where I draw the line is in making myself look too-too youthful than I truly am. The fashion blogging world tends to be dominated by the under 30/under 20 crowd but the reality is that we all get older, if we’re lucky, and I’m better serving those younger women by accurately portraying the woman I’ve become now (at my age). My advice, take care of the soul and the skin you’re in so you don’t have to retouch, at least too much!

  31. Hi! I usually retouch lights and levels of color, brightness, contrast but no my body, really love it this post <3

    xoxo

  32. You say “prettier” but why are skin blemishes and flyaway hairs not considered pretty? It is a fallacy in thinking, that Photoshop is needed. You are changing something that makes you a woman, a human. Plastic perfection is not “pretty” and being a person in a position of influence I urge you to think about what message this sends young girls who look up to you. Your eczema is not something to photoshop out, it is something to display with pride because it is a part of you. But I suppose the desire to gain fame overtakes the desire to be a real woman and role model for girls who will never look like “pretty” to society’s standards. I hope someday photoshop will not be the norm, and girls will focus on having inner beauty rather than unrealistic external “beauty”.

  33. I sometimes re-touch on the lighting but that will be it…my ‘flaws’ make me who I am so I embrace them.
    My thoughts on people who choose to heavily re-touch is indifference….. its their picture and if they feel that need then they should go for it….. who I am to say they should or shouldn’t?…I
    Your post was honest and I respect you so much for that.
    Ellen was right… it is truly about feeling comfortable in your skin…. I am happy I am there.x

    http://www.myclayexperience.com/

  34. Savannah says on November 19, 2014

    I love the honesty of this post. I personally only retouch my photos with lighting etc. Simply because I don’t know how to do all the other stuff. However I think it’s fine that you would retouch your eczema, I have it myself and I often feel very uncomfortable about it. Other people may find it disgusting or whatever, it’s not the most appealing looking skin anyway. I find it ok to retouch photos, as long as you don’t make drastic changes. x http://www.justsavxnnah.com

  35. I just started a mommy fashion blog, and I never like showing my face! I take most of my photos either looking to the side (profile) or down. So I guess in a way I’m just avoiding having to retouch my photos, but I do lighten my photos. Maybe if I were better with Photoshop I may give myself a tan. :)

  36. There is no fashion or beauty magazine without photo retouching! To achieve the consistency, high quality, right contrast, light and reality of colors, retouching simply has to be done. Great job!

    http://www.PurseFixation.com
    Toast your Purse with an Outfit!
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  37. Such a great idea for a post Aimee! I feel when you are photoshopping yourself so much that you truly look different in person…then it’s a problem. Lighting, skin imperfections, hair issues etc aren’t truly changing the person you are but photoshopping a thigh gap…now that’s too much!
    xo,
    Melissa
    MissyOnMadison.com
    Enter My Elizabeth Arden Fragrance Giveaway –> http://bit.ly/11CkynH

  38. I definitely retouch lighting but never photoshop by body to be thinner or anything like that. I just wouldn’t feel authentic doing that. However, it’s easy to demonize people who do, but wouldn’t we all like the look a little more model-like in our photos. I think we are definitely all the problem because if we are honest, we all think a thinner, tan-skinned model is prettier than an authentic looking woman with flaws

  39. Such an excellent post and I have to say it makes me sad to know that very beautiful women feel a need to retouch. I do not retouch my photos and probably have many more reasons to do so. But the point of my blog is that loving who are and accepting the inevitable, we are not perfect, we will get old gives you a certain kind of beauty that always comes from real authenticity. That being said there is nothing wrong with trying to present yourself in the best “light” possible. I might finesse exposure or contrast but not the truth of what is there, who I am. The question to answer is what is your truth and how do you want to show it. So honest and great post.
    Accidental Icon
    http://www.accidentalicon.com

  40. I love that you shared the editing of the arm. I have eczema as well in the same place as a matter of fact (ugh and behind the knees). I have recently gotten some editing software and I tend to only use it for things like dark circles and leg scars (I have this bad scratching habit).

    I try to limit it and draw the line on touching them up as an every picture/every post thing. Not because I’m against it, I just don’t want to become addicted LOL. I want to be proud of the original version so I keep in mind that i should try to cover it up all the time.

    -Violet
    http://www.RosesareRedblog.com

  41. Interesting post. I edit the lighting, but that’s about it, but I say do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable with yourself- just don’t go crazy. Everything in moderation.

  42. I have not commented on your blog in a while, but I love that you are bringing up this subject.

    About who is to blame, I believe that we are all to blame: the magazines and the consumers. It is the consumers fault for reading and buying the content, as we have become a selfie-obsessed, narcissistic generation. But at the same time, shame on magazines for giving into this and for continuing to make our society more obsessed than we already are with appearance.

    And as far as retouching goes, I have a fashion blog, but I only play with the light. I actually do not know how to retouch blemishes, fly-aways, etc. and prefer to present myself in the most natural way possible.

    Stephanie
    http://ishowedupinboots.com

  43. Retouching is fine – major liquifying though is a different subject but at the end of the day in my opinion there is no too far or not too far, it’s art, it’s an expression on yourself, on the model, the blogger, the photographer and how you want to be viewed.

    Each to their own – there’s never going to be rules on photoshop limits so why bother complaining.

    http://fashionandsounds.com/

  44. I usually just retouch the lighting. Retouching your photos isn’t bad unless you completely alter the way you look. I’ve met you a couple of times and you look just like your photos. I have very sensitive skin so I do tend to retouch my photos if my skin has a giant red splotch…I don’t need everyone to know that when you touch me I turn red!

    giveaway on my blog!

    http://hashtagliz.com

  45. Aimee, first of all I want to say–thank you so mmuch for your honesty!! I love how transparent you are in so many areas that many people wouldn’t normally be….And with that said, I personally think it’s harmless to smooth out certain things like complexion discoloration, colors, stuff like that. But I’m not cool with changing the shape and size of people. I think it all eveeennnntually comes down to the consumer because we still end up giving in to the producers of magazines, etc., but it really is a vicious cycle. Consumer wants to “escape” into looking at perfection (more subconsciously than not), and therefore creators of media give what the consumer wants. Then they go too far and we complain about it, but STILL go back to it….I hope more companies like Darling step up, and hopefully “normal” people like us!

  46. i truly don’t mind extreme photoshop pictures of advertisements or any to be honest. I truly believe it’s all about how one views things. The way you think defines so much of who you are. There is no shame in photoshopping your pictures. As long you are still able to have fun with what you do and continue to love yourself then you’ll be fine. Don’t let anyone thoughts change who you are cause of their view of photoshopping or anything. As Essie from essiebutton say, everyone is hot :)

  47. I sometimes retouch.

    I think it’s fine, to enhance the shot, the colors, etc., even to change a little something on your face or whatever, as long as you still look like you, because YOU are what’s most special about having your picture taken.

  48. I’ll only retouch when I have a huge noticeable blemish but other than that I just use filters on VSCOcam to improve the lighting. What is your retouching process and what programs do you use? Love your style!

  49. I use photo editing software to fix issues with lighting and some stray hairs, but I try to avoid manipulating my skin and body. I want transparency to always be a value on my blog.

    There are many debates and controversy with retouching photos, and I definitely can understand both sides of the coin. I’ve felt tempted to click on the Patch Tool and appear to have clear skin, but I’m always hesitant to. Either way, people will judge you. Whether it’s based on your body type, skin blemishes, or because you’ve altered yourself. People will find error in anything we do.

    I think it’s important not to be retouching photos out of insecurity, but for the overall finished look of the picture. In the end, there really is no “wrong” side persay, just wrong reasons and reactions.

  50. Currently I to retouch. I only pics are daytime and always with flash. But I think that retouching for brighter photos are totally fine.

  51. Wow hot topic this one! Not sure if you even read all of these comments, but assuming you do, since you asked…I’m a bit on the fence with this topic.

    Do I retouch my photos? Occasionally, yes. It’s really hard to draw a line in the sand though. It’s a slippery slope. I tend to only retouch to draw out colors and add saturation. I also will remove the odd zit here and there if I think it will distract from the main point or subject of my photo.

    To me, I draw the line at altering one’s figure and body shape. Ala the infamous missing limbs in the Victoria’s Secret catalogs. Some magazines really do take it too far. And on that subject, I do believe the media is at fault for setting unrealistic expectations, but you could also say the same of fashion designers who ‘set the trends’.

    Wow, there seriously isn’t enough space to really talk through this issue. This is simply the tip of the iceberg!

    V
    Life+1

  52. I think adjusting the lighting/contrast/saturation etc is pretty acceptable, and to remove blemishes or scars are ok too. But to change your body shape (ie. thinner waist, bigger bust) is NOT okay. Just my take on it. Anyway, if you are really retouching to the point where your eyes are bigger, your thighs slimmer, your nose sharper….then you’re kinda lying to yourself. And that’s quite sad, no?

    http://www.lydiatrj.com

  53. Prudence Yeo says on November 19, 2014

    I think photo editing is fine as long as it doesn’t make someone look so different that you will be shocked if you see this person in real life. I don’t retouched my pictures all the time but will do slight editing if I think it will improve the look of the images! Thanks for sharing your views on this topic with us, Aimee!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.wordpress.com

  54. bethanny says on November 19, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have been suffering from eczema as well, and I always feel uncomfortable taking pictures. I actually had to edit some of my wedding pictures because I just couldn’t allow them to be printed without touching up my skin. I think we are our own biggest critics, but who wants to be remembered as the girl who has bad skin?

  55. I love this post and thank you for being honest!!!

    I use the instagram filters and brighten/contrast the photos. I think these make the photos look prettier with more colors. I do not use photoshop or change myself. Sometimes I wish I could hide my blemishes and give myself the beautiful flawless skin!

    I think it would be great if less re-touching on magazine photos was done!! It does give girls an impression of “perfection” that isn’t really attainable.

    xox
    Andrea
    http://www.withloveandrea.com

  56. I use a filter over most of my pics just so they feel a bit more ‘stylish’ and less ordinary. Honestly, if I knew how to and had the tools to fully photoshop I probably would for the exact reasons you’ve mentioned! I have the same mirror/camera issue- to the point where I take pics of every outfit I try on, and if the pic doesn’t look good I won’t wear/buy it. Maybe a bit irrational, but I kind of feel because I’m not the. Out naturally beautiful or effortlessly stylish I have to try and put more effort it. xx
    curiousaliceloves.wordpress.com

  57. I think you look great, even without the retouching!

    We sometimes play around with lighting or cropping out backgrounds, but just simple things like that. It would be super awkward if we made ourselves look like supermodela and then someone saw us in the street and thought we were average looking, haha.

    http://www.lifestylelookbook.com

  58. I use Lightroom to crop my photos and change lighting, because you don’t always get the chance to shoot in perfect daylight. I also fix big zits if I do face close ups, not because I am ashamed, but because I think they can look disgusting.
    In my opinion there is nothing wrong with that, there are plenty of no-makeup, no-retouche photos on my blog for foundation before and afters.

  59. This is a great article! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a light retouch, especially if it’s a great shot “but for that one bit…”. I don’t like it when the photo is altered so much you can’t even recognise the person in the photo xx

    http://www.itslilylocket.blogspot.com

  60. What an interesting article for you to write and share with us, so different from the usual and I really enjoyed it! I’ve thought about this as well, but I think we’re to blame a lot. We want to see “perfection” and beauty in magazines, however, people don’t understand why models are meant to be so skinny. Being a Fashion Designer myself, we need a tall, skinny model because she looks as close to a hanger as we can get. They’re not meant to be curvy as people would stare at their gorgeousness (and body) instead of at the clothes. Having them look like a hanger allows the buyers to really appreciate the clothes and let them e the center of attention. I’ve retouched my pictures but mostly for brightness, contrast, or to blur the background even more. But yeah, I’ve removed a spot or 2 when they’ve annoyingly appeared… Never retouched my body though, as otherwise how horrible if when people met me in real life I didn’t look like myself?!

    Love,
    Whitney

    http://www.whitneyswonderland.com

  61. I love this post, i’m so glad you addressed the issue, editing photos can avoid harsh comments that some people leave like ‘you look pregnant’ or ‘your skin tone is uneven’. Everyone is human but a lot of people don’t think about this when they post unnecessary nasty comments.
    I think most bloggers are guilty of editing their photos to a certain extent, I mean who wants to look at a grainy photo or lines on your legs where you’ve been wearing jeans all day but quickly changed into a skirt for a blog picture?!

    http://www.holliehobin.co.uk

  62. I do it too. Well i change the colors in order to get nicer looking picture, or if I wanna hide bruise or other skin blemish.

    Big hugs from Dublin
    Ewelina
    xoxoxo
    chiclifestyleofewelina.blogspot.com

  63. You are gorgeous, stylish and seems to be a great person!! The way you retouch I dont think that is a problem. You dont want to look like anyone else, puting more boobs, less waist, you just add some light, some colors…

    Dont see any problem on that!! Keep on the great work!!! Xo

    http://www.victoriarenner.com.br

  64. I loved your post so much! I totally agree that everyone is beautiful in their own special way and everyone should embrace their natural beauty.
    The point of makeup, for example, especially for me as a makeup artist, is not hiding one’s natural beauty, but enhance it!
    When it comes to retouching my photos, I always do colour correction, make photos lighter and brighter, when there’s not enough lighting. I can fix a blemish or two, when it’s super noticable, but I never do anything drastic and dramatic.

    xx OXANAMUA

  65. I think it’s OK to retouch one odd hair on face, or brighten up the whole picture, or even conceal blemishes or spots on face. No one wants to see that in the pictures, and one little thing like photoshoping one fallen out hair is completely ok.

    I did photoshoped my few pictures as well, where on the floor in shopping centre there was a cigarette and I really didn’t wanted to put that on my blog. So I think with the limit it doesn’t do any harm

    Dovile
    http://www.dovilefashion.co.uk

  66. I actually don’t care who is to blame because for me, I retouched (yes, I did it too!) my photos so that they look presentable to the readers. If I didn’t, then who would look at it? But of course, when it comes to the body and all that jazz, I don’t retouch. I only do retouching on the lightings and all.

    IPIHIPPIE

  67. This is such a good post (and honest) about what you changed on your pictures and why and how you learnt to feel comfortable in your own skin. I wish I could do this too, retouching pictures can be seen as a bad thing but it can just make your pictures and yourself a little bit better, but still you, the important thing is to try to do it a little bit because it’s important not to forget who you are, even if you are not really fan of yourself. The harder part is to see all the beautiful selfies on Instagram, it’s even worse than in magazines because this is suppose to be a little bit more “natural/real” but Instagram pics are retouched too and it’s hard not to think “Oh, she’s so beautiful, that’s unfair, I look like crap on pictures”. Knowing your differences and embrace them is the attitude to adopt (I say that, I know it’s the truth but I don’t follow it myself…), I know you didn’t write this post for this, but I’m gonna say it anyway: I think you look gorgeous. <3

  68. To fix the lighting or weird strands of hair or smudged makeup – go for it! When you start altering your body – lift / slimming – then it has gone to far!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  69. I love this and i love u for doing this post tysm you’re flawless u don’t even need photoshop tbh xoxo

  70. I don’t retouch my photos beyond correcting levels, contrast and colour balance. I have thought about removing stray hairs from my photos but I would rather have my images be authentic rather than perfect. Actually, when I look back on my three most recent blog posts, I am not even wearing any makeup.

    Is it the fault of the magazines or the consumers? It think it’s a societal issue. Society tends to objectify women; our value is linked to our physical appearance and we are expected to look a certain way.

    Tracey Spicer has an excellent TED talk about some of the implications of this. I was shocked to learn that average women spend more than 3000 hours (125 days!) over their lifetimes on grooming. Further, because putting on makeup, waxing and styling hair takes time that could be spent on other things, it has a negative effect on earning potential.

    I think whether or not to photoshop your blog and instagram photos is a personal decision. Thanks for bringing up the topic and thank you for your honesty, Aimee.

  71. You certainly don’t need any retouching
    I only play with the lightning and colors of my pictures, just because it makes the outfit looks better. Oh yeah and a pimple, I make that disappear also sometimes. But never big things

    love
    Karlien

  72. I appreciate your honesty because I’m sure a lot of bloggers don’t feel comfortable being upfront about this topic. I don’t retouch my face or my figure. But I definitely retouch the lighting and the contrast in a photo. I think it’s okay to enhance the quality of a photo or to adjust stray hairs, blemishes, etc. But I think it’s important to try to be as authentic as possible because otherwise it diminishes the unique qualities that draw people to a certain blog to begin with.

    http://www.taffetaandtulips.com

  73. Yes to messing with colours and light as sometimes your pics need an injection of life but never Photoshop personally. I just don’t feel it would be right for me.

  74. i think every blogger retouched their photos. It more to enhance the light though than they’re bodies, I don’t know any that photoshop to look thinner or boobs bigger. You’re retouching is like that, enhancing light etc. I do think magazine need to get a grip of their photoshopping, it’s extreme and does create unattainable goals
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

  75. This is definitely an issue facing many bloggers nowadays. When is retouching photos allowed and whats the difference between retouching a photo a little to look better or just completely altering your look..

  76. Andrew Poupart says on November 20, 2014

    I’m a photographer and I always, always, always retouch my photographs before I deliver them to the client. I correct color, contrast, exposure. I remove blemishes, dark circles, and stray hair. Depending on the client’s needs. I’m not a journalist. The DSLR has a brutal eye and reveals all our flaws, flaws which are not necessarily obvious in normal interaction, but which become very visible when frozen in high resolution by the camera. So, you are right to alter the image any way you see fit.

    And I think you absolutely do fit in. You have a wonderful beauty that has certainly emerged based on the evidence of your blog over the past few years. You have grown into a woman with a smart and sophisticated look, and probably inspire many younger women, more than you know.

  77. Love this post. It’s so real. We all have altered our photos whether it be in photoshop or by adding a filter on Instagram. We are all guilty but I don’t think there is anything wrong with it unless we go too far and make it look completely different. You are beautiful and your little retouches here and there are no big deal.

    http://www.thrumypeepers.com/blog

  78. I really respect you for coming out and admitting you sometimes retouch your own photos – even though you’re just adjusting the colors and lighting. In this day and age, bloggers are even more influential than celebrities and I’ve seen plenty alter their BODIES not just the entire photo, to appear skinnier, warping themselves and looking like the ‘perfect model’. Now THIS is where you draw the line.

    I hope more and more people become honest like you and admit what they’re doing.

    Lubna | http://WWW.ELLEVOX.COM

  79. To me, retouching should be thought of like make up. Make up is meant to ENHANCE are best features – to bring out our eyes, our cheekbones, or our lips. Make up is there for us to accentuate our favorite parts about ourselves. Retouching should be used in the same way – to enhance the good parts that we already have. It may be used to bring out the new tan we got at the beach, or to add some brightness to a photo, and to take out some bad features we didn’t think about when taking the photo like a pimple or maybe a lamp post that looks like it’s coming out of our head. But neither make up nor retouching should be used to completely change who we are. You shouldn’t cake on your make up to look like a completely different person, and you shouldn’t retouch your image/body to look completely different either.

  80. yes, sometimes the lighting isnt all that great. I think we should draw the line when we stop looking like ourselves. when our skin color is totally different, or when our under eye bags disappear… that’s not real.
    Xo, Belen
    A Hint of Life

  81. I do retouch my photos. Not to the point of being unrecognisable, but I colour correct, remove blemishes, occasional stray hairs… Sometimes I also even out skin tone if the light proved to be too harsh and accentuated every single one of my pores or acne scars. I live with seven cats, so a lot of cat fur was cloned out from my photos. And then there’s filtering and enhancement.

  82. Thanks for the insight on an important topic!
    I agree that editing your skin is acceptable, as it is not largely adjusting your appearance. Having good skin is typical of a good shoot. But dramatic bodily changes would be blurring the lines. It’s true that the issue may lie in the consumer’s hands. Would we want to see imperfection?

    Regards,

    Miss Eliza WonDerland
    http://misselizawonderland.com/

  83. Because my camera isn’t that great, I have to edit my pictures and make them better quality to post on my blog. A little pimple here and there is also edited out. Anyways, I like the message of this post. We all should learn to love ourselves; one step at a time.

  84. I think in this day and age, everyone retouches their photos. Whether you soften your selfies for smoother skin or add a filter to your instagram photos, everyone does it. I agree though, life if more liberating when you accept who and what you are and feel comfortable in your own skin.

    Great post!

    http://arumlilea.com

  85. You are young and pretty, really pretty and you have a great sense of style. I think that if you like have a fashion blog is perfectly normal to retouch a bit your photos. If your skin problems don’t let you fell good in your body, why publish photos that show them? Photos that everybody in the world could see? If you don’t change your aspec at all I think it’s good a little retouch. And I don’t think you are changing your aspect a lot. Be happy of what you are, that is really really good! Kisses and sorry for my bad english..

  86. This is a really fantastic and honest post – one of the best I’ve read on a blog in a good while! I always alter the light and contrast in my photos, but don’t think I could ever bring myself to retouch my feature, bar covering the odd blemish here and there! Sure I have eye bags sometimes, and definitely no thigh gap, but these are the things that make blogging accessible, interesting and real. I think you are naturally beautiful, just keep doing what makes you happy to blog!

    Karen x
    http://themixandmatchblog.com/

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  88. Thank you Aimee for the honest post! This is something that many people talk about and would like to know more about it! Love how you showed the before and after examples. I am makeup artist, photographer and fashion blogger all in one. The reality is that we all like to see beautiful things! It’s true as well that the photographer’s job is 30% on field and 70% in front of the pc. Especially if you shoot in RAW format, you definitely need to process your pictures and adjust contrast, exposure, sharpness to make it your own style! When I look for a blog what catch my attention at first are the gorgeous pictures! And I am sure it is the same for everyone! At 28, I have already accepted and learned to love who I am. I retouch all my photos for my blog. I add filters just to change the mood of the photo, make it look more vintage. I remove my blemishes as well, no alteration to the body, yes I perfect the skin, making it smooter. The important part is to be honest and people need to know for sure noone is perfect!!! And than continue looking at the great evolution of photography today:)! I mean, it is amazing what we could do with Photoshop today!:)))
    Lots of love from Switzerland,
    Zori.

    http://www.zoriart.com

  89. This is a truly great post, and the content is greatly appreciated. I was recently clued in that some bloggers photoshop their photos to make them appear several sizes smaller on their blogs and even on Instagram! It seems shocking, there’s nothing wrong with putting the prettiest version of yourself out there; but that’s a far cry from some that alter their photos so they look 20-30 lbs thinner than they really are.

    http://www.chicinsneakers.com

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  91. Interesting article.. I almost redo the lighting of the photo in every post, but that’s just because I’m a way better photoshopper than a photographer. And sometimes I do blemishes and a bit of liquify here and there. I try not to though..

    x J. from I ate noodles for breakfast