login info join!
Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > retouching ethics Search   Reply
Photographer
jene youtt
Posts: 5
New York, New York, US


i recently hired a new model from here whom i never worked with before based on the photos in her portfolio.

she showed up a bit unprepared but we could work with that. i do mostly figure studies or very dramatic photos of performers. i shot this session using three strobes two crosses and an overhead. i am not a beauty tog, no one seeing my port would think that.

she did have problems with bumps and blemishes on her face. i could have sent her home without shooting her but i didn't. i did do some healing brush passes to soften her face a bit.

when i sent her a sample photo she asked me to retouch her face more. i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

so what i am saying here is that retouching a models or togs portfolio images aren't always in the best interest of everyone. a lesson learned that i hope won't have to be repeated.

jene
Apr 18 13 10:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
John Horwitz
Posts: 2,563
Raleigh, North Carolina, US


jene youtt wrote:
i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

tact my brotha - tact

Apr 18 13 10:07 am  Link  Quote 
Model
MelissaAnn
Posts: 3,819
Seattle, Washington, US


You're suggesting that retouchers not do their jobs? That's rather ridiculous.

Anyone with any experience will assume that a models images have been retouched.  If you don't plan on retouching yourself, and would like an accurate representation of a models look, you can ask for an unretouched snapshot *before* you hire the model. If you didn't know that before, hopefully it's obvious to you now.

Hiring a model with bad skin, and then telling her you don't feel it's "honest" to retouch the blemishes is just silly. Give the model what she wants (if you agreed to give her images as well as payment), learn from your mistake, and make sure your next model has good skin if you don't want to retouch. You may even want to post something on your profile that says you only do very minimal retouching. If you had told the model that up front, she may not have even worked with you.  Since honesty seems to be *your* policy, you may want to try it, and make sure your models know what to expect going into a shoot with you.  That being said, if you're paying a model, and there was no agreement that she would get images, she doesn't really have any say in how you retouch the photos. Regardless of any agreement, being kind and tactful is always wise.

As far as how you feel about the "honesty" of a model's portfolio, well, that's none of your business how they choose to represent themselves. If you only want to hire models with good skin, that's up to you. Take responsibility for your own preferences, and make sure you get unretouched snapshots before hiring.
Apr 18 13 10:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Beautifully Soft Focus
Posts: 526
Peoria, Illinois, US


Op, I shoot beauty and glamour and I tend to not do surgery on skin or other things in post editing, but I shoot soft focus for that reason.  To me the model was out of place to ask you for additional editing to give her what either God didn't or she didn't take care of wink

I used do major work in post, but not anymore ... too much work with little or no ROI. Model shows up with camera ready skin or go home. A zit or two is ok even a bruise, but I am not gonna trim your belly fat, cure your acme, remove your leg veins and give you a nose job too (lol)

Y'all be easy,

Alvin
Apr 18 13 10:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


Fixing a few zits is not unethical.

Taking 30lb off with the liquify tool probably is.




Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com
Apr 18 13 10:42 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Downtown Pro Photo
Posts: 1,543
Crystal Lake, Illinois, US


If she was paid, then no comment allowed on the post work.  Unless there was an agreement that images were part of the pay, demanding more post work isn't something she should do.
However, basically telling her she's not attractive is a bit out of line too.  Unless it is specifically mentioned that an image is not retouched, I will assume they are, that's just the standard today.  And it is assumed by llamas that their images will be retouched also.
In the future you might let llamas know before they show up that you prefer to not do post work to the level they usually get and ask for an unretouched image from them.
Apr 18 13 10:42 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Alex Yrig
Posts: 35
Los Angeles, California, US


I agree with literally everything Melissa Ann said.

Frankly, I would be mad, too, if a photographer hired me to shoot, shot with me, and then told me later that my portfolio is "dishonest" and that you're basically not going to contribute to the "dishonesty". That's insulting and unnecessary.

You should have either asked for pictures or met with her in person a day or two prior to the shoot. Or if you didn't like the way her skin looked on set, since honesty is apparently a huge matter to you, you should have told her that and turned her away.

I have three small scars on my face that aren't noticeable unless lighting is a certain way or it's cold outside. Before every photo shoot, I mention to the photographer my "dilemma" and I kindly ask that, if they're shown in the photo, they can edit them out (for personal reasons) and they do. Does that make my work dishonest? Are those photographers contributing to my "dishonesty" because they accepted my request?

Granted, I don't know how bad of a problem her skin is, but if it's just a few zits and blemishes, then what's the big deal? Everyone has a bad skin day every once in a while -- don't hold it against her. Yes, she should take better care of her skin, but that doesn't justify saying her portfolio doesn't properly represent her and is "dishonest". That's vile and a horrid thing to say to someone and it was uncalled for.
Apr 18 13 11:21 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Laura EB
Posts: 65
Rochester, New York, US


I always think it's silly when people say retouching is fake or dishonest.  It's not just retouching, nearly all of photography is a big fake, especially studio work.  Studio lights are already far from anything natural or real not to mention all the styling, posing direction and camera tricks, and even image selection that are involved in a photoshoot to get a perfect image.  Why complain about retouching but let all those other things go?  I honestly don't care if certain photographers don't want to retouch their photos but it just seems silly to act like no one should, it's like saying no one should use makeup or reflectors or certain lenses cause it's not true to real life.  Photography is meant to be something beautiful that's CREATED by the photographer, not just carelessly captured (well ok not if you're shooting certain types of photography but for most of the stuff on MM I feel this applies). For some people part of that creation is enhancing the image in post, big deal?

That being said you don't have to retouch photos for models if you don't want to, that's your choice as the shooter and a model should respect that, however don't try to knock people who do.
Apr 18 13 11:27 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,361
Seattle, Washington, US


jene youtt wrote:
i recently hired a new model from here whom i never worked with before based on the photos in her portfolio.

she showed up a bit unprepared but we could work with that. i do mostly figure studies or very dramatic photos of performers. i shot this session using three strobes two crosses and an overhead. i am not a beauty tog, no one seeing my port would think that.

she did have problems with bumps and blemishes on her face. i could have sent her home without shooting her but i didn't. i did do some healing brush passes to soften her face a bit.

when i sent her a sample photo she asked me to retouch her face more. i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

so what i am saying here is that retouching a models or togs portfolio images aren't always in the best interest of everyone. a lesson learned that i hope won't have to be repeated.

jene

hmmm....

http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/6741/20571514d.jpg

Apr 18 13 01:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Kristiana-Retouch
Posts: 287
London, England, United Kingdom


I agree that professional models should have few natural up to date photos of their current look, for future clients, but if she don't you can always ask for few wink
But saying models shouldn't have retouched photos in their port is ridiculous.
I would say it was communication problem for you both.

Cheers! smile
Apr 18 13 02:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
H A Z E
Posts: 82
London, England, United Kingdom


jene youtt wrote:
she did have problems with bumps and blemishes on her face. i could have sent her home without shooting her but i didn't. i did do some healing brush passes to soften her face a bit.

when i sent her a sample photo she asked me to retouch her face more. i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

so what i am saying here is that retouching a models or togs portfolio images aren't always in the best interest of everyone. a lesson learned that i hope won't have to be repeated.

Make up and Photoshop are powerful tools smile

I do understand and agree with the point that you are making though as I and other team members have walked passed models on a few occasions and made calls to them when they are standing right next to us. What can I say, they look completely different to their port. It happens, so it is best to ask for a recent snaps or Polaroids beforehand.

Some models do call me to let me know if they have a rash flare up, did a bad dye job etc or send me snaps of any recent changes that they have made and ask if that is OK, which I think is nice of them for asking and letting me know in advance.

Apr 18 13 03:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Handle with Cake
Posts: 2
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom


I always ask for an up to date, unedited facial shot when working with new models or a model after a few months to check current hair, skin etc.

Basically ask them for a passport style image.
Apr 18 13 03:24 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


jene youtt wrote:
i recently hired a new model from here whom i never worked with before based on the photos in her portfolio.

she showed up a bit unprepared but we could work with that. i do mostly figure studies or very dramatic photos of performers. i shot this session using three strobes two crosses and an overhead. i am not a beauty tog, no one seeing my port would think that.

she did have problems with bumps and blemishes on her face. i could have sent her home without shooting her but i didn't. i did do some healing brush passes to soften her face a bit.

when i sent her a sample photo she asked me to retouch her face more. i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

so what i am saying here is that retouching a models or togs portfolio images aren't always in the best interest of everyone. a lesson learned that i hope won't have to be repeated.

jene

The lesson I wouldn't want repeated would be the lack of diplomacy dealing with a model. I'm sure the model is aware of her problem skin, thus asking to fix that in post. Wouldn't it have been far more tactful to say that you prefer not perform extensive edits...or something to that effect?

I have to wonder though, if you had already done some editing on the blemishes, why you felt doing more would cross some line you weren't willing to cross? Were you really thinking about her future potential clients and the integrity of promoting her as "real"? Or is it that you were unhappy with her being unprepared and wanted to make a statement by leaving her complexion less than ideal?

Every photographer and commercial client knows a model's skin isn't going to look exactly like they look in photos. Even the best actresses and models have less than perfect skin that is fixed in post or with a combination of makeup and post work. Have you ever seen Jessica Simpson's unretouched face? She had horrible acne for years.

I'm sure no photographer/retoucher/MUA she worked with ever said, "I have a moral obligation to present your problem skin to the audience."

Apr 18 13 03:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Alyssa June Retouch
Posts: 159
Denver, Colorado, US


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Fixing a few zits is not unethical.

Taking 30lb off with the liquify tool probably is.




Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

I agree!

Apr 18 13 05:09 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Justin Suyama
Posts: 113
Seattle, Washington, US


I like to ask for a phone pic (with good light) taken the night before or morning, of their face. That way I know what I am getting into and can forward the pic to the MUA so that she has the "info" too.

As for retouching, I don't over-retouch my images which perhaps is my habit from film. But I will beautify a bit, just abhor plastic and completely fake looks. I've never had a model ask to be plasticized (which is good). Otherwise they will look like they belong in that Black Hole Sun video.
Apr 18 13 05:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,023
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Sounds like you have a conflict between goals. 1) Make the model look as good as possible. 2) Don't make her look too good to avoid misleading other photographers.

If the model is the client (she’s paying you), the customer is always right. Well, usually…

If you’re paying the model, do as much or as little retouching as you want. The customer is always right.

If it’s a trade shoot, that’s where the conflict comes in. Personally I like to make a model look her best – or a little better.

Imo there is no moral or ethical obligation to other photographers. It’s between you, the model, your conscience and your artistic interpretation – how you visualized the image. On the other hand, you have no obligation to the model to give her a complete makeover with Photoshop.

There’s a point at which I feel that a photo has been “retouched enough.” I have no defined or specific “rules” for determining where that point is. A couple of models have asked me for additional retouching beyond that point, and I’ve complied.

Btw, none of those photos has made my own portfolio.
Apr 18 13 07:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Decay of Memory
Posts: 571
Asheville, North Carolina, US


jene youtt wrote:
i recently hired a new model from here whom i never worked with before based on the photos in her portfolio.

she showed up a bit unprepared but we could work with that. i do mostly figure studies or very dramatic photos of performers. i shot this session using three strobes two crosses and an overhead. i am not a beauty tog, no one seeing my port would think that.

she did have problems with bumps and blemishes on her face. i could have sent her home without shooting her but i didn't. i did do some healing brush passes to soften her face a bit.

when i sent her a sample photo she asked me to retouch her face more. i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

so what i am saying here is that retouching a models or togs portfolio images aren't always in the best interest of everyone. a lesson learned that i hope won't have to be repeated.

jene

See, now I'[d say it's part of your job to make sure there are up to date candids in the portfolio or ask the model for them and that's the lesson that, if you learn it, you won't have to repeat.

Since only a small minority of users read the forums, the post here won't do much. You'll have to take responsibility for getting what you need by communicating clearly with each model you hire.

Apr 19 13 10:28 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
1k-words-photograpy
Posts: 320
Leesburg, Virginia, US


I think in the future maybe you should make sure models know that you don't retouch heavily if its TFP. I make sure I tell all the models during or after introduction that I do not do very much retouching and that they should be comfortable with that.
Apr 19 13 02:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Christopher Carter
Posts: 7,630
Indianapolis, Indiana, US


jene youtt wrote:
i recently hired a new model from here whom i never worked with before based on the photos in her portfolio.

she showed up a bit unprepared but we could work with that. i do mostly figure studies or very dramatic photos of performers. i shot this session using three strobes two crosses and an overhead. i am not a beauty tog, no one seeing my port would think that.

she did have problems with bumps and blemishes on her face. i could have sent her home without shooting her but i didn't. i did do some healing brush passes to soften her face a bit.

when i sent her a sample photo she asked me to retouch her face more. i replied that she had problem skin. i felt that retouching was dishonest. i hired her based on her portfolio pics which didn't represent her honestly. that pissed her off.

so what i am saying here is that retouching a models or togs portfolio images aren't always in the best interest of everyone. a lesson learned that i hope won't have to be repeated.

jene

Dude, you didn't hire a model. You hired someone who likes pretty pictures to put on fb, and you didn't make her look pretty.

Bad tog! No release for you!

(As a photographer, you should know retouching exists. It was your fault for not asking for polaroids or natural shots)

Apr 20 13 11:59 am  Link  Quote 
  Search   Reply



main | browse | casting/travel | forums | shout box | help | advertising | contests | share | join the mayhem

more modelmayhem on: | | | edu

©2006-2014 ModelMayhem.com. All Rights Reserved.
MODEL MAYHEM is a registered trademark.
Toggle Worksafe Mode: Off | On
Terms | Privacy | Careers