Phototgraphy

The modified Kate Middleton photo

kate middleton photoshopped

I woke up the other day and turned on the news. One of the big stories of the day was the controversy about a modified image of Kate Middleton and her family. Being a photographer, I was highly intrigued by this story.

By now, most of you have seen the image.

kate middleton photoshopped

At first, people were talking about one or two areas of the image that were manipulated. Now that a couple of days have passed, experts have located many areas of the photo that have been retouched.

But my question is: Why is this such a big deal?

I can tell you that every family portrait I have ever taken has been retouched to one extent or the other.

Here is what I am typically modifying:

  • Adjustments to exposure, shadows, highlights and white balance (if needed)
  • Removal of fly away hairs that are distracting (either going through the face, flying into the air, or going into another person)
  • Removal of dust or pet hair on people’s clothing
  • Removing skin imperfections (bad acne or shaving cuts)
  • Removal of strings hanging off clothing
  • Removal of distractions in the background (bright spots, exit signs, polls)

And sometimes I will even do the following:

  • Whitening of eyes if needed
  • Lightening of wrinkles (typically around the eyes)
  • Head swaps (if a person had their eyes closed in a group shot)

During the CBS newscast, one of the anchormen said “I don’t understand why any photo needs to be retouched” to which I laughed. I am sure that this same person has plenty of portraits that have been taken and modified, whether he knows it or not.

I have said this many times in the past. I think that every photo needs some retouching, in one form or another. So I don’t understand why people are making such a big deal about this photo. Kate Middleton is known for being a photo enthusiast and she has taken many of her own photos in the past. But she is not a professional, and would not have the same Photoshop skills as we would. It looks to me like she was making the same modifications I would do, but just not as proficient at the process.

Yes, she is a royal which means that the spotlight is on her and her family. But is this photo controversy really worth the scrutiny that they are putting her through? I think that there are much bigger and more relevant issues in the world.

I just thought I would put my thoughts out there. What do you think?



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