Photoshop – the Good, Bad and Ugly

Summer is just around the corner which makes Instagram lovers rejoice! However, in this visually obsessed world, it’s important to remember what’s real and what isn’t, the same can be said about the photography industry as a whole.

I swear every week you hear about a celeb ‘photoshopping’ their Instagram and the world is shocked, but, are we that naive to act surprised? I mean you haven’t been able to look through a magazine in the two decades for an image of someone that’s not been manipulated in some way, even in the days of film, photographs were dodged and burned to create that illusion of perfection. Mascara adverts even contain ‘* this model is wearing lash inserts’. We all strive for perfection when the truth is perfection isn’t real!

Now I know what you’re thinking – ‘wow what a hypocrite, she photoshops her images so what is she even talking about?’, and that’s true, but here is why photoshop isn’t all bad…

The Good

As a photographer, you see mad and marvellous creations on an hourly basis, photographs that create a different world; a form of escapism – even therapy. Photoshop allows your imagination to come alive in limitless possibilities.

I personally believe the idea of photoshop is to create beauty, whether that’s from scratch or enhancing what is already there. We can all be guilty of striving for beauty, whether that’s your makeup routine, a new outfit, or even just an envious glance at something/someone.

The Bad

So the bad bits! We live in this world surrounded by ‘Filters’ so I don’t think you can even say Photoshop is the problem here. We’re all guilty of using the Deer filter for the days where makeup was just too much, but why is that necessary? Why do we feel the need to hide what’s there?

That leads me to my next point where people’s perception of what’s real and what isn’t has been altered. Companies like Missguided have embraced the body positivity movement with no longer photoshopping stretchmarks which makes you think, why has it taken until now? When you see images of celebs on the beach body shamed, not applauded, it shows this need for perfection is everywhere. But can you just blame the media?

 

I remember countless parent’s when I was younger moaning about their appearance, so much so their children started seeing the same imperfections! Which leads me to Photoshop in everyday life. A photographer cannot change the way you look, that is the job for a seriously skilled retoucher, a photographer shouldn’t want to change how you look, that isn’t photography. Saying ‘Can you just photoshop this?’ or ‘It’s ok you can get rid of that, right?’ is frustrating, why would you want images of yourself that aren’t real, it’s the Photographer’s job to capture memories, themes or a moment.

Another bugbear, when photoshop is used to mask a lack of skill, photography is an amazing art to study, develop and experiment with. If you struggle with something, don’t allow photoshop to hide it, one day you will be found out.

The Ugly

Finally, we all know Photoshop has it’s ugly side, this warped ideal has lead to crippling self-esteem issues in both Men and Women. I think it’s easy to know when an image isn’t ‘real’ when you see it in print, but to see it on social media I think is harder for people to understand. This constant comparison does need to stop.

On a lighter side, photoshop and this obsession with vanity has allowed for great entertainment and positivity from photoshop trolls who take photoshop requests quite literally!

What do you think of photoshop?

52 week project – January

As we say goodbye to gloomy January and get excited about Spring, I thought I would round up the first month with my 52-week project for the first four weeks. As I mentioned in my new year post, within my photography group we decided to attempt the lengthy 52-week project, with themes created by our photography group leader, you would need to be committed and inspired – that’s why I am thankful we have each other!

Week 1 – New Year

Self portrait with fairy lights
Week 1 – New Year

An image I have already featured in my new year post. My first self-portrait in over 3 years and I felt amazing. Channelling my inner Brandon Woelfel I let myself loose with the fairy lights and a timer.

Week 2 – School of Hard knocks

Old lady in hoodie out side thrift shop in shoreditch
Week 2 – School of hard knocks

I spoke a lot in 2017 about by jump back to photography and how you need to brush yourself off so I kept myself out of this one. I met this woman in my photography course back last year. She runs an emporium at a lock up in Shoreditch, it’s been passed down through three generations, it even survived through the blitz! Her grandfather, portrayed in local street art, watches on as his emporium still goes strong.

Week 3 – Yummy Yummy, in my tummy

pop art self portrait with wispa wrapper off mouth
Week 3 – Yummy yummy, in my tummy

Don’t Wispa, Shout! It’s January, some of us have given up on our diet and others are in denial, myself included given my recent Mini Egg Binge, so it’s only right to base week 3 on a little indulgence. I had a shot in mind and I asked my stepdad to bring home one Wispa bar, 2 multi-packs and a massive food baby later and my week 3 submission was born.

Week 4 – The doorway to your soul

abandoned building portrait
Week 4 – The doorway to your soul

This was a tricky one for me and my entry may seem a little surface level, but photography is a doorway to my soul. This shot was taken this weekend with Bex and Hannah, it’s amazing what you can do on a drizzly day.

What were your new year’s resolutions and have you stuck to them?

Laundry Day is highly commended!

My favourite laundry day image has received a highly commended award. This is a shoot that’s meant so much to me, every time I see the photos it reminds me how much fun it was to shoot and edit, it brings a smile to my face every time! Here’s to laundry day – the only thing involving washing to make me smile!

Highly commended award for laundry day portrait of model behind the washing machine window

Business cards

I ordered business cards! Ok, that’s quite a boring intro and this is probably a boring post but, all the hard work over the last six months is starting to pay off so I can’t help but shout!

With the help of a freelance designer and my own imagery, my cards look fabulous, it’s so nice to see the images actually printed, as most of my photography is presented digitally currently.

So I used moo.com – after several recommendations from people. Their website is easy to use, you have fun designs to pick from and their prices are very reasonable. You don’t even need to pay extra for glossy paper, which for a photographer is an important way to make your image pop! If like me you find your favourite image hard to pick or you dabble in a few fields of photography then moo offer up to 50 design changes for free, so I chose 4 images for the back to cater for clients!

And as a nice touch when your box arrives you receive two blue cards to pass on or keep. Mine said “you seem really fun” and “you have cool hair” and is it bad that I hope they hopped onto my website and actually thought that?

Also, enjoy my very late Halloween flatlay!

Moo.com photography business cards with pumpkins

Laundry Day

Do you ever just get the feeling you want to roam around a launderette, on a Saturday, while customers wash their duvets? I have for the last year as I drive past one on my Friday journey home from work. A launderette, I thought apart from Eastenders, who even uses one now?

I contacted the owner of laundramagic, Helena, which was a big deal for me because this was my first official location pitch. This is where you say “what are you scared of? You do this for a living”, well actually a lot of my work was very studio based at the beginning or locations that are convenient to me. The pitch for the launderette was completely new to me, and I hate to say it, social media helped me combat that, I met with Helena through facebook and arranged a meet-up. Hindsight will tell me to create great art you need to get out of your comfort zone. Give up your preconceptions of people and attitudes because people want to be a part of something awesome, and that’s what this was. If only I was this sane.

editorial portrait in the laundrette
It’s at this point where I highly recommend building a Pinterest board showing your ideas. No one tends to understand them until they see the finished result, in this case it’s a load of washing machines in a photo, how is that aesthetically pleasing?
That’s how!

I approached a friend of mine, Bex Sweeney, a makeup artist in Swindon and got a plan together. Filled with wacky and wonderful ideas that then stemmed to, why don’t we just have fun with washing machines as a theme? Original huh?

Portrait of Beats with leaves in the background

Our model Beats returned to work with us, who I originally shot in the image below, how skills change! And we went cameras in tow to the launderette.

 

 

By far the most exciting photoshoot I’ve experienced, customers trailed in throughout the day with socks and pants from the previous week, I met what felt like the entire family of Helena and was made to feel a part of it and the tumble dryers were too hot so were a shutter away from melting the makeup off! Helena was taking photos of the shoot to tell her daughter what was going on who didn’t believe this was happening in her mum’s launderette. I love telling people my ideas because they look at me like I’m insane and I get to prove to them that I am but I also take great photos!

 

Fashion portrait of model laid on the floor in a laundrette

To use the launderette, as payment, we made a donation to Mind, a mental health charity which I would recommend looking into, they do great work.

Colourful portrait with yellow background in laundrettemodel laundrette portraitModel sat on top of washing machines in fishnets and shorts with a yellow backgroundModel posing with her feet on a table in front of a big windowVintage portrait of model standing in front of the washing machines in a laundretteModel holds onto washing machines in a launderette wearing a fur coatfed up model sat in front of a big window in vintage tones

Bex and Beats

This week I was lucky enough to collaborate with the talented make-up artists Bex and Beats.

After being away from the camera, and posting, for too long due to exams and just general block, Bex and me finally got round to organising a collaboration. Bex is a Make-up artist, currently doing a degree in Media Make-up, and has some absolutely great ideas. She got her friend Beats to model, another Make-up artist, who works so well with the camera. Bex was the one who came up with the idea of going to a little forest, just to see what we could do. All I can say is what an awesome pairing! Bex had great ideas and Beats was more than willing to put them into action, I was very spoilt.

Two hours worth of Prep resulted in two primary colour concepts by Bex, which certainly put my morning routine to shame. I’ve never seen so much MAC, I say enviously! We then strolled off to the Forest, while it was chucking it down with rain, and managed to find a spot just undercover.

Behind the Scenes:behind the scenes reflector portrait

The joys of impromptu Photo-shoots mean you take a reflector which is only six inches smaller than the actual assistant. Poor Bex.

Always test your equipment before your shoot, I say that regretfully after neither of my flashes worked and had to use my built-in which unfortunately didn’t have the strength.

On to the Photos, I hope you enjoy them.  The image above was my favourite from the shoot, my last shot in fact, taken using the old notice board just outside of the forest. For once I shot with colour, which makes a change but I had to show off that fantastic make-up!

I may have spoken too soon with using colour, but I couldn’t resist with some of these shots.

close up black and white portraitblack and white fashion portraitblack and white fashion photoPortrait of Beats with leaves in the backgroundBlack and white close up portrait of beats