Photoshop- It’s Not A Dirty Word | San Jose Bay Area Boudoir Photographer

 There is nothing more beautiful than her belief that she is beautiful.

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There has been so much hype of late about photoshop and the negativity it sparks. We have all seen the commercial screw ups with big time campaigns making already thin girls even thinner and over Photoshopping celebrities to look 20 years younger than they are. I want to share another side of Photoshop than many people don’t consider, but first I want to make it very clear that I am not for the over Photoshopped techniques, making someone into something they are not or creating fake, plastic people with unattainable beauty standards. I am all for “enhancing” in a natural way with a hint of “fantasy”, but before you freak out over the words I put quotations around, please, hear me out. There are a few points I would like you to consider before you join the anti Photoshop movement, because Photoshop does not have to be a dirty word.

Unlike a photo people are are not 2D. We are not static, we are animated. This is a very important piece of information when considering how you look in and at images and here is why; Let’s say you go for lunch and shopping with your best friend. Our brains can only take in so much information at once. You focus on the conversation, how good or bad your meal is, the song that is playing, the hunky waiter, the sale rack, etc… what you may not have noticed was the pimple on her chin(until she pointed it) or that she gained a few pounds, has a scratch on her arm from her new kitten or that she looks a little dark and puffy under the eyes from being up late with a sick child for three nights in a row. Now imagine instead that you were handed a photograph of your friend as she was at that moment. Without all the other distractions around, you would likely notice most, if not all of these things. Our brains can’t and don’t take in details it doesn’t deem important in the moment, or is too distracted to compute. This is why three eye witnesses to a crime can give three different descriptions. I have photographed women for 2 hours straight but didn’t notice until I open the images, that one has a back tattoo, or a large bruise on her hip, or a rash on her shoulder and so on. However, as soon as I see that 2D image, BAM, there it is! Our brains can take in much more information when not distracted by 3D, moving and living things. An image is just a reflection of someone as they are at that second from a specific angle and sometimes it can be flattering and other times it can be horrible(think about how we always seem to pause the tv at that split second that makes a gorgeous actor look hideous. hahaha). A great boudoir photographer knows how to accentuate a woman’s features in camera and then does what might be needed to finish the look in Photoshop.

Light plays a huge factor. I like to photograph clients in various lighting situations. Sometimes the light hides smile lines and crows feet, other times it may make her eyes unbelievably gorgeous, but it causes fine lines to shadow. I would rather soften those lines in Photoshop so her eyes sparkle, than allow those lines to draw the viewers attention away from her beauty.

Our eyes do not see the way a camera lens sees. Sometimes PhotoShop can be very handy when it comes to angles. What is closest to the lens will be the largest(think looking into a toaster… haha) You may have a fabulous face shot but her arm looks larger than it does in person. A quick adjustment with the liquify tool will make her look in proportion. It’s not about dropping a couple dress sizes and any good photographer who specializes in photographing women will know that 1. you try and get it right in camera, and 2. the slightest editing adjustment should be all that is needed. Light can diminish or accentuate both the good and the not so great.

Self love and acceptance does not mean you have to see every little physical “distraction” in a photograph.

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Skin isn’t a constant.

Weight isn’t a constant.

Your image in a photograph, now that will stay the same.

Blemishes, rashes, dry skin and bruises come and go. Scars fade, heck even cellulite changes with your weight and as you move. Just bend over a little and your cheeks smooth right out! 😉 Weight comes and goes. The scale always changes and that’s okay. In fact, it’s okay to want to see yourself without these details that have no reflection on who you are as a person. A Beauty, Glamour or Boudoir session is all about seeing what you feel on the inside. Random fact: When I see myself in dreams or playing through a scenario in my head, my body moves like I have never had Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s the strangest thing. The minds eye is powerful. I strive to show my clients the beauty that I see in them. I will remove or diminish the things that I don’t want their eye to go to. You are not a pimple, a stretch mark, a bulge or a bruise. You are not under eye circles, or cellulite. Some clients want these things left as is, but the vast majority do not. There is no right or wrong.  I don’t want clients to feel anything negative when they see their images, we say enough of that to ourselves when we look in the mirror even when we hard we try not to. No matter how much we love ourselves on the inside there may always be something we secretly wish we could change on the outside.

Unless they ask me to remove something specific, 99% of my clients won’t know what I did. I keep them real and recognizable.

Danea Burlseon San Jose Bay Area boudoir photographerMe– you can’t see my fused wrists, deformed hands or scars. Nor can you tell that I have natural dark under eye circles, and I am totally fine with that!

This image makes me feel pretty.

 “But stretch marks, scars and cellulite are part of a woman’s story.” Yes, they absolutely are. However, that doesn’t mean they need to be seen in a photograph. Heck, in my head during sexy time, I look and feel like I did in my 20’s; before my c-section scar and pregnancy belly(can I still call it that 6 years later?). I have a body crippled from RA, covered in scars and deformities, cellulite and now veins and age spots but I certainly don’t want to spend my money on a photo shoot for all of that to be seen forever in print. It does not mean I am ashamed of my body or my past. I am proud as hell about what I have accomplished and overcome to be where I am today. Wanting to see yourself with fabulous hair, makeup and flawless skin, is not something to be ashamed of like we are being told it is. It’s about seeing ourselves for the sexy confident women we know we are or strive to be. It’s about polishing those little daily insecurities, so we can see how beautiful we truly are.

I get that not everyone will have this same viewpoint and that is okay. I get that there will always be those who over Photoshop clients(and clients who request to be made into something they are not)but I can assure you that many, many boudoir photographers feel the way I do. It’s not okay to shame a woman who may want a little more “polishing” nor is it okay to shame a woman who wants to keep it 100% real.

My job as a photographer who specializes in photographing women isn’t to turn you into something you are not, it’s to help you see your beauty, sensuality and the woman you are beneath it all.

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