Can you please add in an “I have body issues” filter? You know, the one that takes away back fat, double chins, big asses and armginas on my clients? For that I will happily pay your cloud fee for LIFE.
Love and kisses,
(Armgina. No photo credit by the request of the maker)
It’s happening more and more lately. I walk into the getting ready area with the bride and she squints at her reflection in the mirror and says to me ” I hate my arms. But you can Photoshop them, right?”
FFS. If you hate your arms why for the love of all that is holy DID YOU GET A STRAPLESS DRESS? Seriously, don’t these girls have ONE good girlfriend that is going to tell it to them straight about that dress at the Bridal Salon? Or better yet, a gay man?
It’s not just limited to the brides, either. Moms ask to have double chins removed. Parents ask to have children’s shirts changed from blue to red in the family photos. Everyone knows that with Photoshop, anything can happen.
My standard response has always been a smile and a nonchalant “Oh sure. Anything can be altered for a fee”.
Lately there’s been some discussion on forums about what is our role as photographers to make sure the client is “okay” with their appearance? Do we have to be stylists, wardrobe assistants, hairdressers as well as photographers?
My contract spells out what I do and do not include as standard retouching, but when we are dealing with peoples fragile egos (and in my case often a bride, which is a double whammy) then I think some extra communication is the key.
A few years ago I had a very buxom very pretty bride. Her dress was one of those ill-fitting $99 David’s Bridal numbers (strapless, of course) and she was spilling out all over. I’m talking back bacon, side bacon and major boobage. There must have been a dozen nip slip photos I had to delete. I knew she was self-conscious about her appearance and during the formal photos I used every trick I knew to make her look fantastic. However, what I could not control were the un-posed spontaneous moments. At one point I did something I would normally never do, I signaled to her to “sit up straight” at the head table because she was slouching making matters SO MUCH WORSE.
A few days after the wedding she called me in tears. She had seen photos from friends and family and she was horrified. She wanted my assurance that I could “Photoshop” her so that none of my photos would look like that. I assured her I’d do my best. During the edit, I was frustrated. Do I delete all these really great interaction moments because of her wardrobe malfunction? I ended up doing a very tight edit and telling her that anything that she put in her album I would retouch to her hearts content, but anything else, she would have to pay for. She was thrilled when she picked up her album, but told me she would delete the rest of the photos if it were up to her, but her husband wouldn’t let her.
That still bothers me. I know it’s not my shit, but it bothers me that she doesn’t treasure those photos.
Now when I deliver the proofs, this is now included. It’s talked about in the initial consultation and again, it’s in my contract… but a gentle reminder never hurt anyone.
(Included only in prints ordered through the studio or album prints. Your proofs are balanced for color and tone and cropped for the most pleasing outcome)
Smoothing of skin, whitening of teeth/eyes, under eye circles, flyaway hairs, glasses glare, removal of distracting elements such as exit signs, etc. Complementary head swaps for group photos. I do not as a rule remove anything that is not temporary on your body. For example, if you have a mole or birthmark or tattoo, that will remain unless you instruct me otherwise. Blemishes and other skin imperfections are removed.
Altering of body including but not limited to: Tan lines, Double chins, underarm or back excess skin, tummy rolls, love handles, braces removal, slimming of any body part. These are quoted on a per image basis.
I do my best to catch things on the day. I look for necklaces askew, I check pocket squares, make sure the groomsmen are buttoned up correctly and I physically remove those blessed hair bands off the bridesmaids wrists. I ask people with transition lenses if they want to take off their glasses for outdoor photos so they don’t look like a bug. I have no issues telling a bridesmaid her bra is showing or tucking a stray hair into a bobby pin.
The less I have to deal with after the fact for retouching the better, but if you don’t smile at all during your wedding day, Bridey…I cannot make you look less bitchy.