February 22 19

My son, as you know, is very, very camera shy. I tell him all the time that if a stranger were to look at my instagram feed, it might look like I only have girl children. We mostly laugh about it and accept it, but sometimes, like when we are in Warby Parker and I’m buying him new glasses and I want to just take a tiny tiny photo of him, we argue about it. And I only win because I’m the one holding the VISA.

The girls, on the other hand, make many, many, many appearances on all of my social media feeds. On Instagram they usually show up in my studio, or out in the snow, or on a covered bridge in the middle of the nowhere, acting as the best, best, best photography guinea pigs. And then, of course, in the instagram stories, where we often take selfies in various stages of snapchat filter, usually with some sort of cute animal ears and noses.

I always tell my girls that this is how I will be remembered in my thirties and forties — face filtered and bunny eared.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Filters are FUN. The girls and I laugh the hardest when we look the silliest. We never can understand why snapchat simply cannot figure out that I’m a person, or when it adds ears and a nose and whiskers to one of our shoulders.

(I won’t even mention the flawless skin.)

As a people photographer, I spend a lot of my time looking at, well, people. I see you when I’m taking the photo. Your smile, your eyes, you’re expressions. I see the way you look at your kids when they aren’t looking. I see your apprehension when having to smile for a headshot (Fun fact: headshots are awkward for everyone).

And then I see you some more when I zoom in on your faces in lightroom and photoshop.

“You can make me look 20 pounds lighter, right Ali?”

“You can edit all my wrinkles away in photoshop, right?”

“What can you do about my eye bags? Something, definitely, right?”

And the answer is that YES, I can.

But NO, I won’t.

Don’t misunderstand me, I will {and do!} edit photos. I’ll even out skin tones, I’ll brighten your eyes {a little}, I’ll fix the lighting, I’ll smooth {subtly}, I’ll get rid of acne that you had on the day of the photo, but you won’t have weeks later.

Here’s a little bit of honesty for you. I have really dark raccoon eyes, as I lovingly refer to them. I guess as I age, the deep darkness underneath my eyes becomes a little bit more pronounced. {And a lot more displeasing to me.} I have overedited it out of pictures of myself for years.

But I have stopped overediting. Because here’s the thing…some people have darkness under their eyes. As soon as you take it out completely and you make your face completely smooth and free of any definition, you stop looking like YOU. And you start looking like …. plastic.

One scroll through instagram and I can see who has been facetuned their faces free of all blemishes [and sometimes of their noses completely}. I can see who has airbrushed their body slimmer. Here’s a pro tip, if the walls beside you are bending because you’ve pinched your waist skinnier, you are not fooling anyone. I know whose teeth are not that white in real life. I know whose eyes are just not that shade of blue.

As someone who professionally edits photos every single day, I also understand how to brighten up someone’s blue eyes without making them look like cartoon character eyeballs. I know how to make someone’s teeth subtly whiter by taking out the yellow, not adding more white.

I love a good edit, but one that polishes you, not erases you.

Your faces — YES YOU. AND YOU. AND YOU. AND YOU. AND YOU. — are lovely and unique and interesting and tell stories. The definition on your faces? It’s beautiful.

So, I really hope you’ll never stop having fun with filters and the people you love. I hope you’ll laugh as hard as we do.

But I also hope you’ll stop *only* using filters and stop overediting your photos.

I want to see your face.

Dark raccoon eyes and all.

  1. I love the fun filters too! But it’s so obvious when people are overusing the other ones!

    Also, your ads on the bottom of this post are hilarious! Ha!

    Comment by Kristabella on February 22, 2019
  2. […] Ali has a lovely post about less-editing/more truth with her post Dark Raccoon Eyes and All. […]

    Pingback by Posts I Love | Redefining Perfect on March 9, 2019

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