Before there was fake news, there were fake pictures.
“Fake news” is a relatively new term that didn’t even exist before November 2016. Fake pictures, on the other hand, have been with us for decades. Today, with Facebook and Instagram, the need to show only the best side of ourselves in order to stand out from the noise on these social media platforms drives many to digitally enhance the pictures they use on websites and social media channels.
As a marketing company, we are firm believers that high-quality photos are a must, and we often schedule a lifestyle photoshoot of our clients during our projects. And yes, we do photoshop our pictures, but we use a light touch: color correction, the removal of minor blemishes and taking out fly-away hairs.
When you see a picture of yourself, it is quite natural to pick out everything that you don’t like about the way you look.
- “I look that old?”
- “Wow, the camera sure does add more than 20 pounds.”
- “Ugh, do I really have that many wrinkles around my eyes?”
And with today’s technology, you don’t even need Photoshop to “slimify,” smooth out creases, even out skin tones and create fake perfect skin. Just do a Google search and you will find dozens of apps that do just that with a few clicks.
But before you do that, consider this: In today’s world of fake news and fake pictures, people are hungry for authenticity and trust. Even in the highly competitive world of fashion, there is a strong movement by big brands like American Eagle and Seventeen not to airbrush their models. Why? Because showing the REAL person is a great strategy to differentiate yourself from the competition, and it appeals to people who are looking for honesty and integrity.
And so I challenge you (and myself!) to resist over-Photoshopping the images that you choose to place on your websites and social media accounts. I sometimes tell the story of one of my clients whose Linkedin profile image was so over-Photoshopped that I literally walked right by him before our first meeting at Starbucks.
To illustrate the point, here is an over-the-top Photoshop image of me that we whipped up in 15 minutes.
We took out a lot of my grey hair, made me thinner, took out my sagging jowls, made my eyes a little wider and sandblasted my skin smooth. Now, this is not a great Photoshop job, but it’s passable. And if you had never met me, you would walk right by me.
By the way, this is what I look like in real life. (The only modification was color correction.)
So before you give in to the temptation to Photoshop your picture into the image of how you would like to look, be proud and confident of who you actually are. And this way I won’t walk right by you looking for someone else!