Oct 8, 2010

Editing children

I never realized what a hot button issue this was until recently. You will find that people are highly opinionated on both sides of the spectrum. Here's my two cents.

When editing a child most of the time all I am doing is removing snot, eye boogers, dirt, and scratches. That is for my blog and for my professional shoots. If it's not "normally" there it gets removed. If a child has a birthmark or a unibrow sometimes the camera can make it stand out more than it does in real life. If that's the case I won't remove it but make it appear less noticeable. I don't ever change eye color or hair color. Those are things that God gave them and they are beautiful just the way they are!

I keep the same concept with newborns. If they have peeling skin, red blotchy skin, or even baby acne I will always it out.

For our personal pictures, I usually won't edit the ones that only our family will see but if I place a picture of little man on the blog I will. And that's because I don't ever want to embarrass him. He may not appreciate a picture of snot running down his face on the internet for all to see. Although I don't ever want to edit him to make him appear perfect, he's a child!

When little man was sick for month and the Dr. didn't know why, he changed his formula. When his formula changed he got a rash on his cheeks that never went away no matter what we put on them. We later discovered it was because he has an allergy to milk. Any pictures that I took during that time I would edit it his cheeks so it wasn't so prominent. I'm sure red cheeks with the skin peeling off is not what he would want on his wedding slide show or on the internet. Now that he's no longer on milk they look normal.

That's just my opinion. Everyone's entitled to their own. What do you think?


  1. Hello, I'm a new reader to your blog and I have to say I love it!

    I totally agree with everything you said. I'm not a professional, but that all makes sense to me. My daughter was born with a large birthmark on her face and it is who she is and we would never have it edited out. It just wouldn't be her.

    Now when my son had stitches on his head I would have edited those out, but it will also remind me of that time when he was one. :)

    I've had many pictures that were just great except for the boogers running down the face. No one needs to see or remember the boogers!

  2. I agree with you totally! My oldest daughter's skin appears red and blotchy in photos in certain lighting situations. I definitely will soften that. This isn't what she looks like normally. However, I will not change her eye color or anything like that. I am tempted however, to edit my double chin in pics of myself:)
    I recently edited a photo of a little girl who had the cutest little bob, but one hair was over her face in many shots. I edited that hair out, for sure. (I should have caught it more often while taking the pics)

  3. I agree. It's what's not normally there I edit. I just did a shoot with a graduate who had a really bad case of teenagerhood (acne). His skin changes from day to day, and he doesn't always look like that, so I edited those out as much as I could without making him look plastic. I left the mole and scar, because those are what they are. I think this is a good guideline for everyone, not just kids, unless of course they're going in for modeling. ;)

  4. Wow, I didn't even realize people would change hair or eye color....yeah, that's weird. I mean I guess if your doing a fashion shoot (not for the parents) maybe I could see that, otherwise that's just weird.

  5. I agree. I think editing eye color, hair color, freckles is going a bit far. Personally I think for a shoot I would edit boogers, dirt, ect... but for photos of my kids I don't. The fact is they are kids and they get dirty. I feel like if I were to edit all of that I would be editing part of them out.

  6. I like to keep things look pretty natural but some people are really opposed to skin retouching. I think done really lightly is fine. On the other hand, who edits hair and eye color? That would be different! Well...I'll edit it if for some reason it turns out looking red and I know the child has brown hair or blonde hair.

  7. What I do most is undereye circles. Some kids need minimal but there are some that I find it really takes away from their portrait. But it's just lightening them not removing them.

  8. If I leave a dirty face in my shots, its usually because of laziness, not to make a point :) I have no problems with editing children the way you have done :)

  9. These are my exact thoughts on editing children. Kids are absolutely beautiful, no matter what. But I too edit snot, scratches, scrapes and dirt from my sons face in some photos for the sake of my blog.

  10. If it isn't there permanently, it's fair game to edit out.
    If it's there temporarily AND you're being paid for the shoot, you probably SHOULD edit it out.
    My goal is to make kids look in pictures like they look in their parent's minds-eye. If that involves a little skin smoothing, snot-erasing, eye-sharpening, then so be it.

  11. I edit all pictures, I cant even look at them unless I edit it. Its am obcession

  12. I have to say that I agree with your opinion on this. :) I usually don't do too much editing as I don't have photoshop yet but once in a great while I've edited a red patch or two with the clone tool in Lightroom.


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