"You can edit that right?" My Anti-Photoshop policy




  1. alter (a photographic image) digitally using Photoshop image-editing software.

"the pictures have obviously been Photoshopped"

I think what people picture when they hear "photoshop" is a series of scary before/after photos from magazines. You know what I'm talking about? Where somebody somewhere hunted down the original, "un-edited" photo of a model and compared it to the published one - you see where somebody photoshopped their waist to half it's size and reshaped their face and nose and arms and cut off parts of their body (true story). But these are extreme societal examples of Photoshop and while we could debate the ethics behind it, I'll save you the time: I'm not into it.

"Will it be there in two weeks?": What's 'shopped and what's not

Of course I own Photoshop - it's actually useful for a million things besides rearranging people's faces. Many of my printed cards, marketing materials, and similar are designed in Photoshop - I even actually used Photoshop instead of Microsoft Word once because I was so used to it. I can't explain why, it just happened.

But when it comes to wedding and boudoir photographs they rarely, usually never, see Photoshop. I edit all colors/tones in a program called Lightroom.

So what does get altered in Photoshop? My policy is to only remove or edit things that would be gone in two weeks - so let's say the morning of your session, you trip and hit your face on the corner of the counter and you cut your cheek open. There's no need to freak out - because that would naturally be gone in two weeks, my editing policy is covered. You're good.

But what I won't do is remove natural things like birthmarks, or adjust things like weight - while these things don't define who you are, they aren't going to be changed within two weeks, so they remain untouched.

But Makayla, what about distracting things?

There are times when I'll use Photoshop to edit things that have nothing to do with you - let's say we made a gorgeous photo of the two of you spinning, but a truck decided it had the right to drive by at the worst time. If my eye is immediately drawn to the distracting element, I'll remove it - but only if it's TRULY distracting. I think a lot of small elements that some photographers consider distracting (like the chain and wall art in the background of the below photo) keep the eye balanced - and they also maintain the integrity of the space we were shooting in, which is important to me.

My favorite thing in creating art is to make photographs that show who you are in that moment, in that place. Editing "distracting" elements sometimes removes reality a little too much for me.

So what's more important to you: loving your family, friends, every piece of yourself, and receiving your photographs a little faster? Or being edited just a little too-perfectly?

Yeah, me too.

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A wedding and portrait photographer based in Duluth + Minneapolis MN, traveling outward.

A believer in the honest and a photographer of the true moments that surround your life.

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