The queen of photoshop

Emily Wachter, Managing Editor

My sister is the Queen of Photoshop. If you give her any bad photo of yourself and allow her some time to work her magic, that originally unflattering photograph looks like a professional magazine spread.

While I admit that I have appreciated her picture-editing skills on more than one occasion, I recently found the differences between original photographs and their edited versions to be pretty concerning. You look like yourself when you take the original photo, but after a few clicks, you can look like a totally different person.

Well, the short answer to that question is that Photoshop and photo-editing tools are simply too prominent and so easily accessible. Photoshop is used for practically any type of printed or online photo publication, and, quite frankly, I know very few people who don’t at least slightly edit their photos before posting them.

Of course, it can be fun sometimes to edit a picture and watch your “likes” increase. Some people spend hours aggressively picking apart a photo looking for flaws that they think must be edited or erased in order to look like people in magazines. But, here’s the thing: even the models and people showcased in magazines often don’t look exactly like their edited, printed photos.

I don’t have a huge problem with the occasional use of Photoshop. We all can appreciate some slight picture editing every now and again, especially if a photo was taken for a special event or reason. I do, however, have a problem with the overuse of Photoshop. For roughly 170 years of photography, Photoshop and other editing tools didn’t exist, and people had to live with their flaws immortalized through photographs all the time. But now, people often refuse to post or show a photo of themselves before it’s edited.

Another fun fact about Photoshop: it’s used by women more often than men. Let’s explore why that is. A study conducted by One Poll said that media outlets’ overuse of editing tools in published photographs can easily sway public opinion about body image and physical attractiveness. The study also found that, in publications, photographs of women were often edited much more than photographs of men.

While it’s true that both men and women are influenced by popular culture and media, there is often more pressure put on women to always look their best, no matter the financial or mental cost. Published images of women that are extremely edited can often appear to reinforce this idea by insinuating that women’s flaws must be erased or altered in order to be publicly accepted as attractive. Additionally, these beliefs and habits can quickly become cyclical. When people see edited photos of flawless models in magazines or other publications, they’re often uneasy about posting or even displaying an untouched photo of themselves. They rapidly fall into the Photoshop trap, pick apart their photos for potential flaws and post their own highly edited photos. .

So next time you find yourself tempted to post that highly edited photograph of yourself, think about your contribution to this endless Photoshop cycle and consider posting the untouched photo.