I’ve been spending a bit of time using Photoshop lately. I’m not very good at it which makes it easy to spot a crap job.
Something about this picture of Miranda Kerr didn’t look quite right. It appears that her torso is floating. Now there are a couple of possibilities here. Either she is actually keeping her torso off the ground, because that’s how we all lie down, right? Alternatively, the studio putting the ad together digitally altered the photo. Now almost every photo to hit the press these days (and frankly for many years) will go through some sort of manipulation process and there are often good reasons for it. The risk, however, is that the images that represent your brand start to look fake or disingenuous. Leaving aside the issue of promoting unrealistic body images, this is troubling from a brand point of view.
But who else is doing it? Food photographers used to physically alter their subjects to the point that they would be inedible. White paint poured over cornflakes looks much nicer than real milk. This article provides some terrific examples.
The public is growing much more aware of this practice and of the potential for photoreal images to be completely fabricated. David Cameron recently came under fire when an aide photoshopped a poppy onto his suit. Social media sites mocked him mercilessly.
It’s important to maintain a sense of honesty and authenticity in brand photography. Getting caught out can make you look a total fraud.