To Edit or Not to Edit? Mum Raises a Debate by Retouching Her Baby Daughter

To Edit or Not to Edit? Mum Raises a Debate by Retouching Her Baby Daughter

Retouching and photography have always gone hand-in-hand, but what are the possible implications, if any, for publicly sharing retouched images of your baby daughter?

For better or worse, there is no doubt that the rise of social media has impacted our lives. Equally, the instantaneous nature of it has raised questions about privacy or lack thereof, and what is acceptable to be shared and shown to the wider public when it comes to personal photographs. But, privacy concerns aside, what about airbrushing photographs of your baby daughter? 

Danielle Wall, a U.K. blogger and mum of beautiful 11-month-old baby Isla Rose, admits that she airbrushes her daughter's social media photographs that are posted as a thanks for local businesses sending free items for her baby to wear and use. Wall admits that her baby is photogenic but brands deserve to receive carefully staged and retouched images, albeit with minimal changes, such as "removing blemishes like milk spots, redness, or a runny nose," so as not to completely alter her appearance but rather make the photographs appear more professional, according to The Sun newspaper.

Rose's life is being documented on her Instagram account, which Wall uses to showcase personal moments as well as to promote clothing and items Rose has received in return for posted images. Parents have always faced backlash or criticism of their chosen parenting methods, and as such the debate whether to edit or not to edit your young child's photographs is a heated one. On one hand, as a photographer you may wish to remove non-permanent distractions, such as spots or redness on the skin, in order to create a realistic yet flattering photograph of one's child, but on the other hand who's to say where's the limit?

I myself have been faced with this dilemma because sometimes babies, just like adults, have minor blemishes, and by removing those I don't drastically alter the baby's appearance but rather enhance it. One may argue that this shouldn't be done without the permission of the child, which of course is impossible, but what about commercially driven photographs? If the sole purpose of the photograph is to raise awareness of a brand and create new sales, does that become a game changer?

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you been faced with this dilemma yourself?

Lead image by Alex Pasarelu via Unsplash, used under Creative Commons.

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Tony Teofilo's picture

Ridiculous baloney. Debate? What right-minded parent, given the choice, would leave boogers and snot in their kids photos? When you have kids in school, cold / flu season lasts from August to June. And no, I don't have the order of those months mixed up.