Victoria's Secret Revealed - Unretouched vs. Retouched Photos

Victoria's Secret Revealed - Unretouched vs. Retouched Photos

A few months back Victoria's Secret accidentally released a dozen unretouched photos from a shoot with supermodel Doutzen Kroes. We shared those images in a post on Fstoppers and it caught the attention of many of you. The retouched versions of those same photos are now out. Let's compare the results! 

The biggest difference between most of the photos is the pop in colors and brightness from the original dull RAW files which is expected. But besides that it is interesting to see what has changed in post production including the fine retouching of bulging skin around the armpit area, expression lines in the face, or side skin folds as Kroes pops her hips to one side. The differences are typically subtle, I mean let's face it, Kroes is a beautiful supermodel with next to perfect features but it is interesting to study the pictures and see what exactly was changed and why.

One thing that particularly caught my eye was how often they would remove the bra straps from the swimsuits or at times even change the entire color. Interested to know why they would do that if in fact they were looking for the best representation of the product in the photos. That is unless they decided to manufacture the swimsuits that way after the shoot. Check out the photos and description of changes provided by Jezebel and let us know what you think in the comments.

Changing the colors of garments in post-production (1) is one of the most common image edits. The photograph's colors were brightened in general (2) and lighting errors were corrected. Part of Kroes' back below her armpit has also been removed (3), as have the expression lines on her face (4). The hemline of the swimsuit bottoms has also been redrawn (5).

Again, expression lines have been removed (1), and skin folds created by the exaggerated position of Kroes' hip have been smoothed (2) along with part of her back below her armpit (3). Aside from the overall color (4), the biggest change of all between the unretouched and retouched images is the removal of her swimsuit strap (5). That's one way to get the cleavage of a standard swimsuit top in a bandeau: Photoshop.

Notice that this is the same swimsuit seen in our first slide? The color has been changed yet again in post-production. Here expression lines have also been smoothed (1), the folds of skin around the side of Kroes' back are gone (2), and the faint armpit stubble visible in the unretouched image is gone (3). The hem of the swimsuit has again been adjusted in post-production so that it falls straight across her lap (5)

Here is another strap removal (1). Kroes' expression lines have again been erased (2).

The natural folds of Kroes' armpit were erased (1), along with her expression lines (2).

Multiple changes have been made to Kroes' body along her left side. Folds of skin have been removed (1), along with part of her back visible below the armpit (2), and the area around her armpit where her pectoral muscle was previously visible has been extensively smoothed and modified (3). The nude underwear originally visible underneath the swimsuit bottoms has also been edited out (4).

A bruise on Kroes' right hip has been removed (1) and her abdominal muscles have had some of their tone retouched away (2).

Wrinkles in the swimsuit have been magically smoothed out (1) and Kroes' expression lines were — once again — taken away (2).

Kroes' abs are looking a little smoother and less defined in the Photoshopped image than they are in the original on the left (1). And once again, the swimsuit top has been magically turned into a bandeau (2). Kroes' expression lines are gone (3).

Notice how they straightened out the horizon line (1). There were also changes made to her right armpit.

Gone are Kroes' expression lines (1), some of the definition to her abs (2), and the hair that spilled out behind her shoulders (3). Also gone are the fingers of her left hand (4).

Folds of skin along Kroes' side have been smoothed out (1), along with veins in the crook of her arm (2) and the area around her armpit (3). Shadows have been deleted from her abs, making them look less toned (4). The nude underwear is gone (5).

Another total garment color change (1).

Note that this is the same swimsuit as seen previously, except that here the color has been altered. Kroes' expression lines have also been smoothed (1), along with the skin around her armpit (2) and the veins in crook of her arm (3).

Note that this is the third shot using that same tankini from our first slide. In this image, wrinkles in the swimsuit top have been smoothed (1) and the lay of the hem of the swimsuit bottoms has been changed (2). Kroes' expression lines are gone (3) and her armpit has been smoothed out and any hint of body hair removed (4).

[Via Jezebel]

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

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Interesting!  Thank you for sharing and for documenting all of these changes!  Regarding the change in color, most of these sites will have many versions of the same image with different colors of the outfits so that you can see the different colors available.  Instead of having a dozen different separate photos of each version of the suit, they will have a rollover feature so that the color of the suit appears to change within the image from blue to aqua to purple, etc.  

Very true. That does make sense. I wonder why they would remove the bra straps on some... unless they actually plan on selling it that way. 

My guess would be that the suit probably has removable bra straps, so that you can wear them however you like.  

this is to fool the rest of the world that these girls' breasts are a) so perfect, b) that buying this swimsuit will make your breasts behave the same way ;)

The straps would give her better cleavage, taking them away gives her the look of not only amazing lift but a cleaner picture.

Nothing too radical really. I can see why they change color/styles of the bikinis, since they might have just shot pre-production stuff, and changed their mind later. Respect to the guy editing these. I have no idea how you succeeded with removing the straps underneath the hair. 

 If you check out the VS website, you'll see that most of the garments come in multiple colors.  When you shop online you can click the different color swatches and see what the item would look like in a particular color.  Also, a lot of the bras and bikini tops have removable straps so you can change the style.  Changing the color/styles in post totally makes sense because it allows them to shoot one image and edit it in multiple ways to show all the options for that particular item of clothing.  Otherwise, I agree that none of the processing is really all that radical.

Great article! These touch-ups are really not that radical, and are very subtle.

As far as the bra straps on some, you get more "lift" to the "ladies" when you have straps on.  So they photograph the model with the bathing suit with the straps, it contours the breasts nicely, and then they remove them.

Or you can try the old duct tape trick :) 

Last image also has the swimsuit's bottom straps tied in a knot :)

yea there's a lot of things that this person pointed out, but also missed a bunch more with showing what all they did.

All the same kind of stuff I do on my images. Not that radical, as already stated.

I almost wonder if they intentionally toned down retouching on these because they knew the originals were leaked. Nothing here I wouldn't have done myself really. The removing of straps and changing of colors is probably just to show alternative product lines.

Not that models like these need much retouching done ;)

I was wondering the same thing. Since they knew they were leaked, did they intentionally not do anything drastic

Most retailers take a shot of an item in one color and change it when the item is sold in many options. It's obvious for a lot of Dillard's products. And as someone else has said, removing the straps digitally makes the strapless suit look like it actually holds their boobs up when all of us ladies know they don't support anything.

You also forgot to mention in many of these pictures that there was a beauty mole on the right side breast of the supermodel that was removed.. :)

In fairness she is in great nick. who cares if they change one or two little things on the suits and remove a furl or distended vein.. I would!! ( and i dont mean edit the photos)

Nothing radical, really. I just don't like what they did to the overall color. In most of them, I prefer the original skin tone. Retouched version looks too fake-ly orange. Not "spray-tan orange" more like "I-painted-over-the-photo-with-watercolors orange"

I really hate to be a stickler... but isn't calling those RAW images about the same as calling a can of uncooked beans "Un-refried beans"? aren't they basically 'untouched'.... or .... well RAW?

sorry... just, I hope I'm not the only one this is urking

And your point is?

Not sure I understand what you are asking?

Gunter, RAW is an image format in the same way JPG and TFF are image formats.  Shooting in RAW gives you much more flexibility for changing the white balance, exposure, etc.

This is really simple post-production. Don't see the fuzz about it.

Basic retouch job... big whoop.

Actually, in their on line store you can click on the color you are interested in to see if you like it. These suits come in several colors. Usually (not all suits..but most) Victoria Secrets suits come in the same colors so that you can mix and match tops and bottoms. Most of the straps are removable so to take them off only helps boost her boobs up during the shot..something a strapless bathing suit will never do. Anyway, at a typical photo shoot there will be several bathing suits they want the model to wear hanging on a rack, they may later decide that because of the back ground or because they made her skin tanner after the retouch, a different color would look better for the actual posted shot. 
You can't really expect these women to be tanning would they ever keep that nice skin? Anyway, I don't think she particularly looks like a dog in any of these 'before' pics. Everyone should be so blessed as to be the equivalent to one of these so called 'before' pics. LOL. 

People say that the editing encourages eating disorders in young girls and teenagers, but what do you think it does to the self esteem of these models' whose bodies are being altered so much and their so called flaws being eliminated? It cannot be nice for them either to know that they themselves aren't good enough. The reason photoshop is needed is because of how critical society is. The need for perfection was started by society and only fed by the media because it was being demanded. Perhaps we should criticize ourselves before criticizing the models, brands and agencies.

It's interesting that you think models are perfectly happy with their bodies and would be offended at any touchups.
Models are among the most insecure you'll ever encounter.

 Gosh, I wonder why.

If I were to get paid what a model gets paid for this shoot, I wouldn't care what they "improved" And if it did bother me I would have become an auto mechanic, not a model. Auto mechanics get greasy. Modles get retouched. Everyone has a choice as to what they do in life.

Does anyone else feel that those are some pretty mediocre SOOCs for a VS shoot?  #1 is badly underexposed, and the harsh shadows on the chest in #2 are also a poor excuse for a shoot with a whole team behind it.  The guys doing the post work always save the day.  The retouching done here is pretty standard.  

Looking at these for the last few minutes I found a ton more edits. Just saying... I enjoyed this post and I think a lot of people can learn from it because when your girlfriend makes you look at these adds most of us are thinking "this is not even close to how it was shot" but sometimes you come to find that the big name companies are doing the same things we all are.

Kind of happy to see they really are that skinny and not just on the photoshop diet. Is this bad?

No wonder so many people exhibit symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder..

third image from top has shadow removed from chest

Thanks. Learned a lot.

How to make a ten an eleven - excellent!

seems like you don't need a good photographer but a retouching geek..

nice work :)

Yeah, that's how I look in a bikini too.

There is nothing overkill over this photo. They dosent sell if they dont did they retouch!

there's nothing like a nice retouched photo to make us fat chicks want to eat a whole chocolate cake. thanks VS and anyone else who retouches photos. you guys are totally awesome. Now's where's my cake?

eu adoro essas meninas  com photoshop ou nao sao lindas do msm jeito

Chilling story.  To think that they do that.  There should be a law.  False advertising - Photoshop should be outlawed!!!!   Let ugly and imperfect shine!!!!!    :O)

I'm actually really more surprised that the photographer's lighting in the originals are sooo bad.

I think the the reason for the colour change is because VS sells things in different colors. It's pretty convenient to be able to see the exact shot, but in different colours.
It does amaze me at how under exposed so many of the originals are.