Photoshop - Where Do I Draw The Line? - http://www.randelljohnphotography.com/photoshop-draw-line/
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Photoshop – Where Do I Draw The Line?

I found myself at a bit of a loose end yesterday and realised that I’ve been spending too much time in front of my Mac messing about with my website.

So, to pass away an hour or two I decided to have a go at a self portrait.
It’s not something I do often, photographing oneself isn’t the easiest thing to do with any sort of success, but willing models were thin on the ground and to be quite honest with you, I just fancied messing about with my studio lights and cameras.

I’ve never been the most photogenic of people and have always preferred (like most photographer’s I suspect), to be on the other side of the lens.

Anyway, after about half an hour I downloaded the photographs, and was quite shocked in how old I’d started to look.
I’ve got the big 50 looming in April but even so, I hadn’t really taken much notice in how much my skin had aged. It was a bit of an eye opener.

It really started me thinking, and I asked myself the question.
How much of a difference could I make to my face, (with all it’s nasty wrinkles, and blemishes)
and still be content with the final image?

I’m always reluctant to do this sort of work on clients without them specifically asking, and even then, the worry is, if I go too far with any ‘adjustments’, will l cause offence. So it’s a tricky situation to be put in.

I’m going to be very brave here, and show two of three photographs I manipulated using Adobe’s Photoshop CS5, one in colour and the other monochrome.

I’ve done this for a two reasons. Firstly, I realise that my skin with all it’s wonderful lumps, bumps and crevice’s looks at it’s worst when photographed in a black and white (in my opinion), and secondly to show that even though I’ve reduced the amount, and depth of the wrinkles in the colour photograph, that localised pigmentation changes in the skin play a significant role in the appearance of ageing.
(It’s true what they say on all those TV beauty cream adverts).

I won’t show you the third image, in which I blended the skin tones as well.

Why? – Because I managed to offend myself. It no longer looked like ‘Me’!

Conclusions – What started out as a bit of fun to while away an empty hour or two, turned out to be a valuable lesson.
Even though I took the photographs and manipulated them myself.
It made me realise how much of an importance I place on my outward appearance, and that by making changes to even my own photographs, how I easily I could be offended by the results.

I’ve been quite right in not manipulating clients images on a whim. Taking out a laughter line here, a grey hair there or even taking a few pounds off a waist line, can cause offence, and it’s a subject I will always continue to approach with the utmost caution and good taste.

After all I wouldn’t like it if someone did it to me.

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