Women React To Being Photoshopped As Cover Models

Flawless models and perfect-looking celebrities are all around us. We see their perfect bodies on magazine covers and their smooth skin on ads and billboards. Girls today grow up having a distorted view on what 'Beauty' really is, and many of them aspire to look like the photoshopped version of the famous people they love - flawless and perfect. Check out this video of 'real' women react to being photoshopped into cover girls with flawless bodies and perfect skin, the way they always wanted to look like.

This experiment and beautiful video was (surprisingly) made by BuzzFeed. They brought in four women for a professional studio photo shoot, and then the photos were sent to a professional retoucher. The retoucher did what magazines usually do for their cover images - he fixed all the imperfections. He made them thinner, he removed any blemishes, fixed their hair and made them 'cover ready'.

The last step of the experiment was to reveal the results and show the retouched images to each of the four women. They expected to love it because they knew they will look flawless, just like in magazines. But when they saw the results, instead of loving it, it left them confused. It also made them appreciate the way they REALLY look, which is the most important part of this experiment.

GIF animation via Buzzfeed

[Via Jezebel and BuzzFeed]

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Imperious Images's picture

Thanks for sharing.

Jeremy Chou's picture

So these girls complain they don't like how they look in photos, and then when they actually DO look like the models in the pictures they want to look like.....they said no way? I am so confused!!!

Chase Anthony's picture

It's best if you try not to understand women

Veldask Krofkomanov's picture

That's why you never give a broad what she wants. She'll still complain, and now your out whatever time/money it took to get her what she "wanted".

Sean Mason's picture

They're probably using these photos as their profile pic anyway.

steve carrillo's picture

how is she triggering the strobes??

Mike Zinger's picture

looks like sync cord to the bee and arri lights on the backdrop

steve carrillo's picture

Yeah that makes sense. I thought it was a tether cord but then I saw she was previewing with the camera LCD.

hamtons's picture

damn, I look so hot its not me any more. I'd rather look like me and not Kate Moss.

really? sounds like something scripted for primary school kids...

Daniel Walldorf's picture

Exactly what I thought about this article. Sounds like a nicer world than the one we live in. All the influences from many years are wiped away in one moment and suddenly these women love themselves the way they are. Sure.

Jason Weiss's picture

Or perhaps they just cherry-picked the women who said exactly what they were wanting to hear.

Michael Prizant's picture

The film makers had a patently obvious agenda here and got their point across very well. Unfortunately it's a negative message prompted by overly photoshopped images and pointed questions leading the women towards an obvious response. I'm unimpressed.

Timothy Jace's picture

What happened to the remaining 95 models who like their photoshop images. Did you edit the footage away?

Richard Hales's picture

Mindbogglingly, on UK YouTube the video has an advert for Rimmel (a British makeup company) at London Fashion Week before it.

Hank's picture

Blah blah blah blah Every single one of these borads asked for digital copies of the shopped' images

Mark J's picture

Interesting idea, but I think this video completely misses the point of a modeled shot. These women aren't posing for family portraits. The object of a commercial shoot is not about capturing the personality of the model, but about creating an image that sells the product they're modeling. Ironically, in the case of movie stars and personalities, the product IS the model in which case I believe they have a legitimate beef against being altered. But if you're talking about product models, from a photographer's perspective, I think this video makes a very strong case FOR photoshopping. The statement "once you take away the imperfections, there’s not much left of who you really are" is exactly what I'm looking for because, frankly, I don't care about who you really are if it interferes with selling the product.

Connor MacKinney's picture

I completely agree with you. The people who criticize photoshopping and the people that retouch photos have this idea that has a photographer their end goal is always to create a real to life representation of the subject they photographed. That is what documentary photography/filmmaking is for not magazin/ advertisement shoots.

Jr Miller's picture

Those retouches were completely ridiculous..the skin-tones are just plain silly and getting rid of features like freckles??

Way to slap a woman in the face..run wild with the PS Liquefy Tool and smooth skin beyond all common sense.

No wonder they hated it...

Jaron Schneider's picture

Totally. But you know that's what the retouchers for Cosmo and the like are doing.

Dani Riot's picture

Retouching will forever be a contentious issue within photography, mostly due to the fact that no one really understands why we do it.

Photography now more than ever is seen as an art form, and no art form is a picture of reality, but of an idealistic view in the artists imagination.

Did the Mona Lisa really not have a line or a spot on her face while sitting in front of Leonardo da Vinci? and more obviously, was she really sitting in front of a river, rather than tucked up warm in a studio?

Fashion photographers have never professed to be displaying a scene of reality. I don't even think many portrait photographers do either.

The biggest problem with photography as an art form is that anyone can take a picture, whether an amateur taking pictures of fields or the instagram happy selfie 'photographers', who all publish real snapshots… but not due to them being happy with it as art… but because they were never setting out with 'art' as their medium.

In fashion, the majority of retouching happens to remove distraction. When a client hires me to take a picture to sell their brand new red dress, they expect me to produce a picture that when the viewer sees it, their instant reaction is "wow, I love that red dress" or more importantly "wow, I need to buy that red dress"

My client is not paying me for they viewers instant reaction to be "wow, look how spotty that model is" or "jeez, look at that cellulite" and so on. (believe me people are that shallow)

So those 'distractions' are removed from the image, so all you see is the dress (or whatever focal point we happen to be selling you today)

So there gives us the catch 22 of the argument. We retouch to remove distraction due to the catty, name calling, fault finding nature of society. When someone walks up to you in the street, you don't see the flaws in the split second you see them… but give you a high resolution still… you will look for them.

So until society learns not to be so shallow, people are going to be less inclined to present society with what they would deem 'flaws'

Connor MacKinney's picture

I agree with you completely. if only more people understood all the points you just made. I loved the Mona Lisa reference

cocoa classic's picture

Very well said.

nicholmikey's picture

This topic was covered pretty well in the last south park episode of the season: s17e10 "The Hobbit". Watch until the end.

Geoffboyardee's picture

"Once someone else has done your makeup, and someone else has done your hair, and someone's directed how your body looks, and then taken away your imperfections. Then there's not much left of who you really are."

You know, except for your personality and all those other silly things.

Chris Pickrell's picture

"When someone takes away your imperfections, there's not much left of who you are."

Apparently we are defined by what we look like. Good job Buzzfeed :)

Cock_Lesnar's picture

but can they cook though?

Spajon Xz's picture

Thru the history all the art painting or scultptures were idealized and altered so you can barely see the marks of reality. You can even see how esthetic trends changed from century to century :)) And we adore that pieces of art and talk about its exceptional beauty. We just want idealized reprezentation of us. Nobody likes ugly people, even ugly people dont like ugly ones. You dont need to retouch, but when you choose good photographer who will find your best position and throw some unusual light on your face you will get exceptional idealized representation of you too just because he know his craft and he used perfect lenses and altered you with special lighting enviroment. Btw did you know that Karolina Kurková has NO belly button?!? ;) :P

Spajon Xz's picture

Hehe watching fake video about fake looks, what a bullsh*t!!! :) Btw hire better actors next time or kickout the director.

Karl Shreeves's picture

There's a point that often gets missed when retouching portraits, which I find helps when I talk to my subjects: What the camera sees, and what the eye sees, are not the same thing. A person's beauty radiates from within, and it outshines acne, facial lines or a double chin. Then, the 2D of the camera tends to flatten (and fatten) the face, as most of us know. The brain filters out these imperfections, but not identifiers like Cindy Crawford's mole (and that you know exactly what I'm talking about makes the point).

When I explain to subject that I retouch to make the image reflect what people see -- the true beauty or character of a person, not a literally photographic recording, the subject usually likes the work rather feel it's distorted. And, sometimes the retouching enhances "flaws" to bring out character and personality. The same explanation usually works in these situations, too.

Finally, it's worth noting that even without Photoshop, an image is biased because we choose the lighting, the angle, the lens and what to include or exclude from the frame. From setup through post, how "real" a portrait is depends upon the integrity of the artist, not upon whether it is retouched or not.


hamtons's picture

"I like my freckles, the fact that they're gone, I don't know who that is."

Hey Bob! keep just her freckles next time you edit her photos. Feel free to remove the eyes, nose and mouth