uncategorized

Confession:: I Photoshop Every Picture On My Blog

I’ve been mulling over this topic in my head for a few days now.  You see, it started with a blog post over on Crafterminds called Blogger Confessions (and the two follow-up posts here and here), which seemed to outrage, frustrate, and disappoint a great number of people.  While the shock and outrage at some of the confessions most certainly seemed appropriate, what puzzled me the most was the outrage over Photoshopped pictures.  Here are the two “confessions” that fit into this category:

I’ve used Photoshop to finish “painting” a project when I ran out of spray paint and was on a deadline.

I am not technically proficient in all my crafts, so I do a lot of Photoshopping to make them look nice.  I’m pretty skilled, so I can do a good fake job without anyone noticing.  I also fake a lot of my crafts; I don’t glue stuff down . . . I’ll just place it on top for a photo. No one has to know that I don’t actually finish the project!

I admit, both of these confessions made me laugh.  I most certainly didn’t see them as evidence of these bloggers being wicked, deceitful people.  I really didn’t think anything of them at all until I started reading the comments (both on the blog, as well as on Facebook).  But what struck me as interesting about the comments among those outraged over Photoshopped pictures is that each one seemed to have a different measuring stick by which they judged the point at which the blogger stepped over the line from “perfectly acceptable” to “deceitful liar”.  For some, any Photoshopping at all should be fully disclosed to the readers.  For others, correcting for lighting is acceptable, but anything more is “excessive”.  And still for others, correcting for lighting, sharpness, and removing an annoying outlet is fine, but anything more crosses a line into dishonesty.

And that’s when it dawned on me…there are actually many people who would place me into the “dishonest” category, and classify me as a blogger who lacks integrity.  Why?  Because I Photoshop* EVERY.SINGLE.PICTURE.ON.MY.BLOG.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture directly from my picture card and put it directly onto my blog without first manipulating that picture in some way.  EVER.  Here are some examples…

I recently made a framed magnetic spice board for my kitchen.  Here is the picture exactly as it came out of my camera (I only resized it because it was enormous):

framed magentic spice board before picture

And here is the above picture after I edited it…

framed-magnetic-spice-rack

What did I do?  I cropped, lightened, brightened, increased the contrast, corrected the color, sharpened, and straightened the vertical lines of the frame.

Does this make me dishonest?  I would certainly hope you don’t think that!

But wait…there’s more.  One of the bloggers above confessed, “I don’t glue stuff down . . . I’ll just place it on top for a photo.”

If you gasped in horror at that confession, then let me also confess, I’ve done the same thing.  Step #6 of this project says, “With everything assembled, it should look like this.” Here’s the photo I provide to demonstrate the assembled jar…

Guess what!  Nothing in that photo is “assembled”.  The lid isn’t glued together.  The magnets aren’t glued down.

Is this dishonesty?  Ummm…no.  This was me mistakenly thinking that hot glue would work for this step, realizing that hot glue did NOT work, and then forgetting to purchase the right kind of adhesive during one of my 10 trips to Home Depot that day.  But in my tutorial, I clearly explained the step and offered a photo as a visual guide for people like me who are visual learners.

And you know what?  To this day, this framed magnetic spice rack is hanging on my wall, but I still haven’t taken the time to assemble the lids or glue on the magnets.  Does that make my tutorial any less accurate or valuable for those wanting to create their own magnetic spice rack?  I certainly don’t think so.

Let’s move on.  I recently offered a tutorial on creating miniature pumpkin vases.  My favorite was the one covered in Epsom salt.  The picture out of my camera looked like this (again, I’ve only resized the picture below)…

miniature pumpkin vase with epsom salt before picture

And here’s the picture I presented on my blog…

miniature pumpkin vase--epsom salt

What did I do?  I lightened, brightened, color corrected, cropped, and sharpened.  Also, there was a piece of Spanish moss in the foreground that was a different color from the rest, and I found it really distracting once the picture was zoomed in and cropped, so I copied and pasted another section of moss over it.

But wait…there’s more.

In my tutorial, I show how to cut down a small milk container to create the actual vase that will hold water.  Here’s the picture…

But guess what!  Only one of the five pumpkins actually had one of those in it.  Once I did the one for the tutorial, I really didn’t feel like cutting four more, so I just carved out those other pumpkins and stuck the flowers right in…no carton, no water, nothin’.

Does this make my tutorial any less valuable or helpful for those who wish to make their own miniature pumpkin vases?  I don’t think so.

I really could go on and on, because like I said, every single photo that I put on my blog (that belongs to me) is photoshopped in some way.  And while most of it is what I would consider “standard” editing (for lighting, sharpness, etc.), there are other times when it’s definitely more.  I’ve removed outlets, removed cords, combined two pictures to create one, removed ugly lights, etc.

I’ve also added an item to a photo (or more accurately, I’ve had my mom add an item to a photo).  Are you shocked?  Take a look at Julia’s kitchen.  There’s one item in this photo that wasn’t in the actual kitchen when we took pictures.

As my mom and I were looking at the after photos, we both agreed that there was just something missing—one small touch that was needed.  Because I didn’t want to make one more shopping trip just to purchase one more item, and then schedule a time with Julia to take more pictures, I just had my mom add the one item.  Can you spot it?

More importantly, does this make me dishonest?  Well, after the months and months I spent working with Julia and her contractor on this kitchen, selecting the finishes, colors, fabrics, etc., I would certainly hope that the addition of one decorative item in Photoshop wouldn’t completely ruin this remodel for you.

**FYI, Julia’s kitchen is the only room “after” picture that I’ve shared on my blog where I photoshopped an item into the picture that wasn’t present in the actual room.  And if I ever choose to do that again on any future room makeovers, I’ll gladly disclose that info to you when I post the room reveal.**

The fact is, I rely heavily on Photoshop.  While I mainly use it to correct where my photography skills are lacking, I can say that I certainly don’t limit my use of Photoshop to just the correction of lighting and cropping.

I can think of one specific time when I wanted to remove a client’s ceiling fan and replace it with a chandelier, but they wouldn’t budge with their ceiling fan.  So in the “after” pictures, I had my mom (a total Photoshop pro) remove the ceiling fan and insert the chandelier.  I never would have considered that “dishonest” because the chandelier was actually part of my design plan, and if I had my way, it would have been in the room.  (I never shared this project on my blog.)

One of the most challenging Photoshop requests I’ve made of my mom was detailed on a post I wrote in February of 2010 called “My Little Photoshop Secret”.  Interestingly, I asked her to do some major surgery on a “before” picture rather than an “after” picture.

You see, in my haste to get “before” pictures of our condo when we were handed the keys, I didn’t even take the time to clear out the previous occupants’ clutter from the kitchen, so the picture looked like this…

Well, in showing before and after pictures of my kitchen, I really wanted the changes made in all of the materials and surfaces of the actual kitchen to be the focus…not the clutter left by others.  So I had my mom clear away the clutter for me so that the picture would show what the actual kitchen looked like before, without the distraction of detergent bottles and rusty pans.

In using this second picture as my “before” picture, not only will people not be distracted by all of the clutter, but it also gives a more accurate comparison of the “before” state of the actual kitchen as compared to the “after”.

The goal certainly was NOT to present my kitchen as spotless and clean when it’s not.  Heck, if I wanted to portray that image of myself to you, then I certainly would never even dream of writing a post like this one.

Here’s another interesting Photoshop edit.  This one is from John & Alice’s family room.  Here’s the picture that I shared on my blog…

john and alice family room edited

The truth is that this picture is actually a combination of two different pictures.  Because we had trouble with the chandelier washing out the color of things around it, we took one picture with it on, and one picture with it off.  Then my mom layered the photos, adjusted the transparency on the top layer to take away the harshness of the bulbs, then flattened it into one picture.  From there, we each did some further editing:  color correcting, sharpening, straightening vertical lines, etc.  I also smoothed out a really distracting seam on the lampshade.

Here’s another one of the same room.  This is the photo that was taken directly from the camera (only resized)…

fireplace in john and alice family room before edit

And here is the photo as I presented it on my blog…

fireplace in john and alice family room after edit

I lightened and brightened, increased the contrast, cropped, sharpened, corrected the curved walls, and straightened the vertical lines.

But there’s one more difference.  One more thing that would not be considered “standard” editing.  Can you spot it?  And if you can, do you feel disappointed?  Let down?  Do you feel like I’m a fraud?

I don’t really know where I’m going with this.  I certainly don’t mean to shake my finger in anyone’s face and demand that you be okay with this.  If you’re not, then you’re not.  But I certainly also don’t want someone pointing at me and labeling me a fraud, or a liar because I photoshop my pictures.  And like I said, I photoshop every single picture on this blog in some way or another.  Literally.

So what say you regarding the whole photoshop issue?  Do you think bloggers should refrain from editing their pictures?  Do you consider any undisclosed editing to be dishonest?  Or do you expect it, knowing full well that images you see in shelter magazines (even those pictures of our favorite bloggers’ homes) have been completely staged, perfectly lighted, and fully edited, and we bloggers have to be able to do at least some of that as well in order to stay relevant?

Do you find yourself disappointed at the things I’ve shared above?  Or did you just assume that I and other bloggers would edit our photos?  Share your thoughts!

*I use the term “photoshop” as a verb, kind of like “google” is used as a verb.  I actually don’t own Photoshop, and instead, I use Paint Shop Pro for all of my photo editing.  When my mom edits photos for me, she uses Photoshop.



You Might Also Like...

61 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Heidi
    December 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I actually think it's really cool how you used photo editing to change some of the photos. It helps reveal what's really important in the photo.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Audra Christensen Silva
    December 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I see nothing you do as different from what magazines or TV does. You are providing the best content you can which certainly would include tweaking photos as much as it includes editing your writing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jodi Groth
    December 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I don't see color correcting as being dishonest at all.  However, adding items in that are not in fact not there to me is dishonest.  If you have to add the item into the pictures, then it should be in the design plan and be factual.  Do I hold it against a blogger?  No, but it makes me trust less of their designs as to what is real, what is half real, and what is entirely made up.  I want to see the end result exactly how it appears.  IMO 

    I do commend you for standing up and being honest about what you have photoshopped. That takes courage.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    monica
    December 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I edit all my photos!  I crop, sharpen, brighten, enhance the colors, too!  I really don't know enough about my camera get the best pictures in a particular lighting and so I do the editing after I take my photos.  I see nothing wrong with doing this!  Editing makes photos more appealing and sometimes it makes colors more accurate. 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susan
    December 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    My husband is a photographer. He asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him "Photography lessons" – I told him I wanted to take pictures as nice as those that I see on many of the blogs that I visit. I think my pictures are lousy, and unless I can improve my photography skills, I figured I would never be a really good blogger.  You see, the only things I ever do to any of my pictures are to re-size them, so that blogger won't have a fit, and I sometimes crop them, because (for example, see my last blog post) I don't get close enough on the object that I'm including in my blog post – I'm not "hiding" anything – the reader just doesn't need to see all the additional background.

    It's actually encouraging to know that people edit their images to make them better – it makes me feel better about my lack of photography skills 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Space 46
    December 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I don't know how to use Photoshop, which my goal is to learn it.  I use Picasa to brighten the picture and increase contrast.  That's all.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ashley
    December 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    I see no shame in editing a photo to make something more visually appealing. People like bright and shiny and perfect – despite what they might *think* they want to see, hits and followers and sales say otherwise.

    I don't own any photo editing software, so I'm limited to what I can do with Flickr's free version of Picnik, but every single photo is auto-corrected, cropped, and watermarked.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Stephanie Elliot Grosz
    December 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I knew you photo-shopped the kitchen counter because there was a broom with no handle. Crazy that I remember that but I do because I realized you photo-shopped something out. Does it bug me. Not exactly. In that last picture when you made the dark thing white, or in the kitchen when the sign was added that is a little different, but I don't think of you as dishonest for it.  I think most people realize most big professionally published magazines with well paid editors crop, airbrush, and stage.  However most people do not expect that from  Mom and Pop bloggers. Blogs by nature seem more down to earth and honest. I think most people assume what you see is what you get. That may just be being naive.  However, I see photo-shopping before and after "designs" a little different than how-to photo-shopping.
    Part of the problem with photo-shopping tutorials and how-tos is that the person who tries to replicate the steps wants their project to look as good as yours. If they don't know you photo-shopped your results to make it look a little better or less messy, they wonder why their project doesn't look as good. It's disappointing to try something and have it not look as good as the finished product on the screen. So I think to avoid reader angst, you might show the real after or admit when you have to photo-shop a crack or too out. That way some poor woman won't sweat that her glued down magnets showed glue ooze and yours didn't. 
    You have a great blog Kristi and I have enjoyed it for a long time. Nothing you said changes any of that for me… Well except I won't puzzle for hours how you hide cords and outlets so well! 🙂 You know I actually painted all my outlets in my dining room the color of my walls because I figured that is how designers hid them so well. Feel a little silly about that now! 🙂 LOL!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds
    December 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I think this is a great topic of conversation and you did a great post about it.  I don't think there's anything wrong with editing photos to improve the overall photo quality.  I don't think it's dishonest at all, usually it's just done to correct what can't be captured with a camera.  However, I think it can be dishonest if bloggers are changing around important elements of their projects to make them seem like something they're not.  Kind of like photoshopping models in fashion magazines sets unrealistic expectations of how women should look, I think photoshopping a project or room sets unrealistic expectations of the perfect homes bloggers are living in.  I like reading blogs because I enjoy seeing real people's homes, I'd much rather see a realistic project than a "perfect" one.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Msmaf
    December 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    I'm surprised anyone is surprised that any blogger photoshops!   Every photo we see in magazines, major websites, etc. are photoshopped.   Surely they don't think Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware stylists are that perfect.   The photos are photoshopped!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Beth Miller
    December 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I agree that images on blogs look better when they are corrected for size and lighting. But I also agree with some of the comments below that adding items to the photos that are not there is dishonest. The photo presented on the blog should be an actual representation of how the room or item looks in real life. Adding in accessories or swapping out fixtures is cheating in my opinion. For those of us not skilled in "Photoshopping" and trying to grow our blogs by presenting tutorials and spaces that are "as seen in real life", it kind of disappoints me. I really look up to and respect the bigger blogs, so I'm disappointed that some of them may be presenting spaces that are not "real". I correct my photos for size and lighting, but I would never dream of doctoring the photo in any other way. 
    Thank you for sharing on this difficult topic. It took a lot of courage, and I will still be reading your blog. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anne Sullivan
    December 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    It's a blog, not the news. And heck, the news even edits their photos these days. I assume every picture has been edited in some way, and I do the same. I don't know many bloggers that tote around a tripod and light meter, so when I see a photo that is crisp, with bright whites and good color saturation, I assume photoshop, not a detail-oriented photographer. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carrie Robaina
    December 5, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Kudos to you for writing this post. Every time I open Lightroom I go through a mental checklist. I'm a self-taught photographer and there are certain lines I will not cross in the editing of photos such as making a client look thinner or removing features that are permanent features. For example, I will not airbrush to make a person seem thinner nor will I remove identifying marks such as moles, birthmarks and wrinkles. I will, however, remove pimples or small blemishes that aren't permanently there. Also, if it's a windy day and a person has a flyaways (in relation to their hair) I will edit it out of the photo. I also edit contrast, clarity and lighting. And I will saturate color if a photo is clearly meant to have an artistic flare. I angle, resize and crop. Basically, if a client is looking for me to create a flawless version of themselves I encourage them to find another photographer. 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    kndred
    December 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I have been subscribed (RSS) to your blog for the LONGEST time, and I must admit this is the first time I've actually commented on any of your posts. Oddly enough, there's nothing "pretty" about it, but it's my favorite thus far! 

    Keep photoshoppin those photos (or Paint Shop Proin – doesn't have a good ring). I think I naturally see everything through a photoshop window,  how else would I manage braving the world daily 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Linda
    December 5, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I'm guilty of using Picasa on all my photos …

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Christine kellogg
    December 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    That is amazing! The pictures look gorgeous after they are touched up! Now I am WAY more interested in "photoshopping" my pictures, only I have a Mac, so I need to use a different program 🙂 I never knew it could make such a difference. I wish you could and YOUR MOM could come give me a lesson 😉 Plus, you are funny…I like it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jean
    December 13, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Wow! I’m really surprised that people think they need to see how the room looks in “real life” in order to appreciate the decorator’s talent and work. The truth is that in real life, when going in to take pictures, there would quite often be all kinds of things there such as the dog’s bed, a favorite throw made of granny squares of all colors that clash with the decor, the kids’ favorite art work covering the refrigerator or taped to a wall. So is it wrong then, when going back to a client’s home to take pictures of the decorator’s work, to remove those things since the client obviously keeps them there? I can remember several times when I went with Kristi to take pictures and we found that the homeowner had added many of her personal things from years past back into the room. The colors clashed and the stacks of newspapers, magazines, knick-knacks, toys, etc. had really diminished all that Kristi had done. With permission we removed all of that, took the pictures, and then we put it all back and left. Was that dishonest since it didn’t show how the room looked in real life? I don’t see that Photoshopping something out is really any different.

    Color correcting means showing colors the way they really are instead of the way the camera sees it, which is quite often much darker and duller. The whole point of the pictures is to show the decorator’s talent. I don’t see how adding a chandelier that was a part of the original design, but got nixed by the homeowner in the end, is wrong. It could easily have been hung there and would have completed Kristi’s original plan. Changing the dark object on the shelf from black to white because Kristi forgot to take white paint that day also completed the original plan. The pictures had to be taken that day and then all paint, tools, etc. cleared out. Sometimes you just do what you have to do in the time you have and hope you can Photoshop in the object originally planned for the space.

    Several years ago I saw a picture of a bathroom on Rate My Space. I don’t remember what the bathroom looked like. All I could see was that the toilet seat was up!!! Bring on the Photoshop, Baby!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Johnplusamy
    December 13, 2011 at 4:55 am

    It would be nice for the average person to see how the craft or space looked when the design is finished, not how well someone can decorated by cut and paste on PhotoShop. I gotta admit, I AM disappointed.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    December 13, 2011 at 4:56 am

    I always edit my photos…I usually have to crop, adjust exposure, color, sharpen and even rotate if needed…I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing all that…Believe me if you saw some of my photos you would thank me for editing them….LOL

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jodie M.
    December 13, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Personally I see nothing wrong with it. Photographers do it all the time!!!! Lighting is hardly ever perfect. What you have “confessed” to is absolutely fine. But if someone changes something so drastically that a person couldn’t absolutely come up with the result, then that’s misleading…but everything that you have said is absolutely fine. Hey…they do it in movies all the time. Do you think they really build a house for a movie? Heck no…they build a shell and put the rest in a studio. Now if someone is promoting a diet and they Photoshop a picture of someone that didn’t actually lose the weight…then no that’s not appropriate…I think that would be deceptive because the product didn’t work for that person.

    I just love your blog…don’t worry about it. Yes…I saw that you turned a brown vase white. So what! It made it better for the overall look.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Stacy
    December 13, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I don’t see anything wrong with anything you’ve posted, I love your stuff! As for adding minor things to pose a room, sometimes you just can’t find that item in the store! Keep up the fantastic work!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Suzy Handgraaf
    December 13, 2011 at 4:57 am

    When I stumbled across my very first blog, I had no idea regular, non-professional people could edit photos. It wasn’t long before I realized that photo editing/enhancement is a very common practice among bloggers. Now that I’ve started my own blog and see how blah my pics usually are straight from the camera, I’ve realized that it wouldn’t take me long to lose interest in a blog that was filled with dull photos. When someone takes a lot of time to write beautiful content it only makes sense to me that they would strive to make their photos beautiful as well! Good post, Kristi.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jen
    December 13, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Photoshop away! I used to run a portrait studio and photoshop was a big part of what I did. I’m all about the photo editing! Personally for me, I love your design work, I love your blog and the photos I see on it. I could care less if you swap out chandilers and ceiling fans in photos. I think it shows a variety in design, especially if you show a before pic with the fan. I read your blog for your design/decorating expertise, not for what lighting is in someone’s house (someone I’ll never meet and a house I will never live in)! So photoshop away my dear, it won’t make me stop reading!

    PS – I think it would be dishonest for the homeowner to show off their newly designed house using your edited photos (as in the ones with the stuff added that really isn’t there).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Molly Cash
    December 13, 2011 at 4:59 am

    I am on the side of “this is totally no big deal.” I laughed when I read your confessions. If I were smart enough to photo shop my pictures I would totally do it, but I try to use the “brighten” or “contrast” and it’s just uneventful. It’s no different then when bloggers are trying to stage a shot for some post or to link with some party and there’s junk in the way. Do we rush around and try to put everything away like someone was going to physically walk in our house? Heck no, we either crane our bodies in some crazy way to get the offensive article(s) out of shot or push them to the other side of the room! People just need to simply get over themselves and take the inspiration for what it is and quit trying to “find the man behind the curtain.” I love your stuff-I’m sad; however, that you are not putting your own house first because you are so busy beautifying others!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    CA_Powell
    December 13, 2011 at 5:00 am

    My photos are pretty pathetic and I photoshop all of them!! EVERY SINGLE ONE! I can’t even imagine showing them otherwise. To me it’s the equivalent of showing your face with makeup or without. Of course if you were presenting yourself to the world on the internet, you’d be wearing makeup (if you wear it at all). It doesn’t make you dishonest, or any less real, just showing the best of yourself!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    missheidi
    December 13, 2011 at 5:00 am

    If anyone thinks that Southern Living doesn’t photoshop, they’re not living on this planet. Lots of times, all the items shown in a photo wouldn’t really fit without being moved, rearranged or photoshopped…..it’s to present an idea….to give you a plan that you can take and make your own in your own way….have at it Kristi. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Peggy
    December 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Hi Kristi – I guess we all read and follow various blogs for various reasons – me – I like to see what I call the “Martha” view of the world and that is things looking as crisp, clean and set up as they can be. I am a realist – I know the world’s not perfect but darn it a perfect world is lovely to gaze at and aspire to! On the other hand I absolutely love it when I see a photo where the blogger states they are just “keeping it real” and show the real deal, clutter and all. Bottom line is that is comes down to what are you trying to show us…..and what are you talking about in your post? I love photoshop and fix many of my photos – to me it’s just another tool in the process of creating something. I am envious of the skills you and many others exhibit in photo editing.

    Stay true to your passion and keep showing us what makes you feel good and shows us what you envision!

    Peggy

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sherry Deal
    December 13, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Kristi, thanks for sharing that bit of info. I don’t see anything wrong with editing photos for lighting, etc….to be honest, if I knew how to do it and if I had the time, I would probably do the same. I enjoy looking at crisp, clear pics. Tweaking is one thing, but changing the whole photo to make a room appear to be what it’s not is completely different.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bryn
    December 13, 2011 at 5:02 am

    The fact that you are able to recognize what improvements can be made to show your work in its best light is an art in and of itself. Each change that you’ve made in photoshop has made it look better. Whether you take the time to make these changes in real time by adjusting lighting and spending more time on photography, or making these fixes in post-processing, the fact is that you still know what needs to be done to make it look the best it can!

    This is not at all dishonest, this is you taking the time and energy to represent to us your finished product as close to reality as possible. Photography is a complex art, and when you begin to try and master it, you realize how amazingly complex our EYES really are, its impossible to photography things exactly as we see them (well, at least for me it is!)

    Thank you for all the time and energy you’ve taken to inspire others, and by all means, do whatever it takes for you to achieve your vision 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brooke
    December 13, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Wow, the only thing I have to say is, man that is a lot of WORK! I have a part time job post-processing photos for a photography studio, and it’s a serious time investment to edit photos. Even just basic edits can rack up. I do a few on my blog, but most of the time my photos are run through a simple action that resizes and watermarks them. That’s about it. I’m not the best photog in the world, and I could definitely use some improvements.

    I don’t think I’m offended or “deceived” by your photoshopping. Of course, I’m totally fooled, because on that fireplace photo I had to scroll up and down fifty times like I was playing one of those obnoxious “spot the difference!” puzzles, and it took me forever to notice the change! I personally don’t photoshop much, simply because of the time investment. It already takes forever just to do the project AND photograph it AND post, that by that point I’m just ready to get the darn thing up there! So kudos for you for putting in the extra effort to make things truly beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lucy
    December 13, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Well — I have not read the comments objecting to this, but I can guess what they might say, think. I see it all the time on some other forums I visit. People like this are generally white and black thinkers – maybe young and inexperienced, do not understand how to blend in the world – how to give and take or how to negotiate or aware that they can. The world is gray and they just don’t know it.

    There are many roads to Rome. All they need to do is think about the different ways to get to a store or a friends home and apply that to everything they do. Getting there is the goal. How you get there is irrelevant.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Izzy623
      December 13, 2011 at 5:03 am

      While I understand the use of Photoshop on photo’s for things like BLOGS I also love love when BLOGGERS post things like “keeping it real”. For someone like me with a husband, 3 kids and a dog, it makes me feel like they author is just as normal as me.

      The other issue I have with all of the editing is the lightening aspect. In many photo’s it appears the room has more light in it than the keeping it real photo. When someone like me, a DYI’er sees things so bright, I think they have more lighting in the room or better bulbs. When I bring my own ideas to my room, I always feel like it is too dark. Now I know why. (I am not a photoshop user)

      The photo’s people post after photoshop, are always well done, but I am more inspired at times seeing the real world as well. The homework on the table, the not so perfect decorators life. Life is not perfect, nor is decorating….And I am ok with that, I would like more ppl to recognize that.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Djdeemer
    December 13, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I’m new to your blog. I visit it for ideas and inspiration. Some days I visit it just to escape the realities of laundry, dishes, cleaning, (repeat). 🙂
    I see nothing wrong with you providing enhanced photos.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Stephanie
    December 13, 2011 at 5:04 am

    IMO, it’s immensely disappointing. *Sigh.* But it’s the world we live in. Every magazine airbrushes their images. Every TV ad and every movie pixel-edits the frames. While I don’t consider it “dishonest,” because it’s all part of an “image industry,” I do think it contributes to the idea that this faux perfection is what all our finished products “should” look like — be they home projects, fashion outfits, or family photos. And it’s not real life! Real life is not Photoshopped. It’s raw. It’s awkward sometimes. There are not-so-glamourous things in the periphery.

    The only one of your examples that really grates on me is the chandelier example, where your photo of your client’s finished room excluded the real light and included one you wished was there. I design web sites for a living, and after the client has typed in their text and uploaded their real (usually not Photoshopped) images over my stock placeholders, the finished product isn’t as pretty as my original design. But I never show, in my portfolio, the design as I “wished it was,” but as it actually is. Because how it actually is, is the finished, published product. I’m no longer giving ideas anymore; I’m displaying a portfolio piece. When other designers edit their portfolio pieces, it makes it really difficult for honest representations to compete. You know, like a real girl entering a supermodel contest.

    Sometimes I wish society wasn’t so hung up on “perfect presentation.” It’s this illusion of perfection that nobody really has, but that everyone continues to publish (on their blog, on the Facebook page, in their portfolio) as if it really were reality. What’s so wrong with reality? IMO, if you can make a project look awesome and inspire others even with outlets and electrical cords, then you’ve really got something amazing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Karen
    December 13, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I have to admit… I’m a little disturbed and disappointed. Editing for lighting, clarity, etc… I can understand. I suppose I am even okay with editing out something distracting or visually unappealing. But I think that editing items into a room that aren’t actually there is dishonest. I’d rather see something that wasn’t 100% and realize that you are human and not perfect than to be deceived in the name of perfection.

    But…. and this probably won’t go over well…. I think what bothers me the most about this admission is that it comes on the heels of two posts you made… one about hotlinking and one about not giving proper credit on Pinterest. IMO… there are things that are right and things that are wrong and you can’t get on a soapbox and lecture about one thing and make justifications about another just because the latter suits your personal purposes.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Steam
    December 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

    You do an excellent job photo shopping I must say. Photoediting is all part of being a good photographer these days.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jennie
    December 13, 2011 at 5:05 am

    EVERYTHING is photoshopped these days. I know first hand Pottery Barn does it. My friend’s home was in a PB magazine. I flipped open the magazine and KNEW I had been to this home. However, one really big thing was missing – the waterslide by the pool. I mentally walked around that yard and everything else was the same. So even the “perfect” homes we see in the magazines are still edited.
    It actually gives me peace that there is NO WAY I can ever get a “perfect” home – so I don’t try to kill myself to achieve it. Hugs to you, my amazing decorating friend!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sandy Orazine
    December 13, 2011 at 5:06 am

    This is my first time commenting on your blog. My thoughts: This is like reading a fiction or non-fiction book. Every movie is going to have some things that are computer generated. Publications are going to print beautiful shots and that means editing. I want to be inspired by your idea (whether real or not) not duplicate your room or craft verbatim. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kathy
    December 13, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I’ve always thought your reason for sharing was to give people like me ideas on decorating our own homes and you do a great job of that. I appreciate the addition of the sign over the sink because it was another idea that I would not have thought of but I really like it. And if you had left the thing on the top shelf black I might have copied that, too, just because you did it. LOL

    Kristi, I remember posts where you showed dirty dishes and paint cans in your kitchen, as well as posts showing how you messed up on a project, or a project that just didn’t work out. I appreciated those posts, but I also appreciate the ones where everything looks beautiful. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Heather-crafterminds
    December 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

    This is such an awesome post. Thank you so much for sharing it. I’ll link up at the Crafterminds Facebook page.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kerry Mohondro
    December 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

    I say bravo… the photoshopped pictures aren’t cheating, but rather a more accurate representation of what these shots must look like in real life. I’m actually very impressed!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tardevil Penny
    December 13, 2011 at 5:08 am

    I’ve never really thought about whether or not someone photoshopped a photo or not. Actually, I wish I HAD thought of doing that. I would post more and remove kid toys and junk that I have to clean up in order to take a blog-worthy photo. I don’t see that photo editing is any different than adding the blog name/watermark. However, I would feel a little different about say adding furniture/accessories in my house that I don’t own, or reading a recipe that a person didn’t actually make, but borrowed a photo from elsewhere to do their post, or a project they didn’t actually complete…to me, that is what crosses the ‘integrity’ line. I also don’t really care for bloggers that write on and on about almost nothing…take a small event or project they did and turn it into some big deal of a blog post.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    J Hill
    December 13, 2011 at 5:08 am

    I don’t have any problem with a design blogger photoshopping pictures. If you were claiming to be a master photographer and giving advice on how to take perfectly lit pictures, etc. then there might be an ethics issue. But you are an interior designer, not a photographer, and I would be willing to be that your designs are much more beautiful IRL than they are in any photoshopped image you have shared.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Brittany aka PrettyHandyGirl
    December 13, 2011 at 5:09 am

    As an artist, graphic designer, and blogger, I really understand the desire to have a photograph look “just right”. I am bothered by the littlest thing that is out of place, uneven, or off. Therefore, yes, I will photoshop something to correct the color, remove a hair, a ding, etc. My blog photos are an extension of me. They are my art and I don’t want to post photos that I’m not proud of.

    I think there is a big difference between photoshopping to improve a picture, and photoshopping something to “fool the reader.” I commend you for writing this post and explaining your reasons.

    Food for thought: Have you ever seen when a famous painting has been x-rayed to reveal a different painting underneath? Maybe it was just a small change, or maybe a person was eliminated, and sometimes an entirely different painting was painted on top! Pre-computers, even the old masters would play with their paintings until it was perfect in their eyes ;-).

    Brittany

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    LisaMarie H
    December 13, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Good for you my dear! As a photographer I will say I photoshop everything! Lighting, contrast, etc and more lol I’d be MORE shocked if someone could honestly say they don’t edit their photos! “Eye candy” photos do not happen naturally. period!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jenny Barnett Rohrs
    December 13, 2011 at 5:10 am

    So here’s the thing- you are at least disclosing your practice. What worries me as a craft blogger is that if you don’t DISCLOSE the altered image, you are selling a perfection that doesn’t really exist. And if a few folks who don’t disclose get “exposed”, then it casts a light on all bloggers that we are “selling” an aesthetic that is unrealistic and unattainable, unless we can figure out how to Photoshop our lives.

    So for me, I will lighten and crop- but that’s as far as I’ll go. Because yes, sometimes there’s that one piece of moss that’s a different color, and it’s OK- because that’s real life.

    Thanks for sharing and letting me know not to believe everything I see on your blog to be “real life.”

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jillian Headley
    December 13, 2011 at 5:10 am

    I’ve read all these comments just to find out what your Mom did to Julia’s Kitchen picture and I can’t find it! Please tell me! lol

    Keep “photoshopping” away! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    December 13, 2011 at 5:11 am

    She added the “Bistro” sign above the stove. 😉

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Jillian Headley
      December 13, 2011 at 5:11 am

      I thought about that, but it was in all the pics, so I tossed that idea. Wow! Good “photoshopping” skills! lol As a graphic designer and artist, I like to play with photo editing software and I’m a little guilty myself of possible over doing it! But I think it’s neat and I’m not offended at all. I bet your customer went out and got a similar sign since it looks so good! 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Vanessa Dawne
    December 13, 2011 at 5:12 am

    think the main problem here is DISCLOSURE.

    I have a two-step process when editing photos for my site. Using my Mac, all photos come into iPhoto where I adjust sharpness, exposure, etc. like most digital photographers. This is the extent of editing that most of my photos will ever have. I do not disclose these ‘photography edits’ for each image as I consider this standard practice.

    If I bring a photo into Photoshop for more involved editing — like texture overlays or painting something in/out — the changes I make no longer portray the actual scene that I photographed. I ALWAYS DISCLOSE when an image has had Photoshop changes applied & WHAT changes I made.

    Designing & producing are different verbs. Yes, we may design whatever we imagine — producing that vision is a different matter. Herein may be where decorating/craft/DIY blogs must split — there are readers who want the glossy, perfect photos like magazines but there are just as many of us who want the real thing — with the trials of production [& the dog bed] included. I simply want to know what I am seeing.

    Thanks for sharing Kristi.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa
    December 13, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I was so happy to read your post when I did because I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure to be perfect in my blog. Realizing that other bloggers feel the same pressure to the point that they even do things that they can only share anonymously made me feel a whole lot better. I actually wrote a post about it on my blog. When I linked your post I noticed that I was getting your Linked In pics at the bottom of my post instead of my own so I had to link to your blog instead. Have you ever had that happen before?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kahli
    December 13, 2011 at 5:13 am

    I photoshop every one of my photos on my blog as well. Even when I was in design school. I used photoshop to enhance my drawings. The professor loved it and said I was going the extra mile to make my work noticeable. Photoshop is the best thing since sliced bread!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lucy | Mayan Palace
    December 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    wow! thank you for sharing, but I don’t think the way you use Photoshop is classified as dishonest, the way you do it is to capture what really matters instead of letting other objects get on the way of the main point of the photo. I believe you are doing a great job using Photoshop and despite what others say, at the end it doesn’t matter because you are doing your job of presenting a visual aid for those like me that we are visual learners.

    great blog!.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    AnnaLynne
    December 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Great post! Anyone that is an artist (that is a wide encompassing category), will not be satisfied until everything is esthetically pleasing in it’s most perfect form. It not only looks and hooks the reader, but it portrays the content in it’s best light, no pun intended. As long as the majority of the how-to project is doable by the steps put forth, hemming and hawing by splitting hairs on a common industry practice is a moot point. I can tell you I’ve worked on magazine layouts and on a beauty feature “how to achieve this look”, one brand of a cosmetic was given (implying it was used on the model), but a completely different brand was used. People in general would be completely shocked to shelter about what actually goes on behind the scenes! It’s very falsified and the reader and sales are it’s #1 concern, integrity in any fashion doesn’t exist. So I personally think you’re doing more than A-OK!! Carry on with the Photoshop Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lyn
    December 19, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Please keep PhotoShop-ing. We really like the after pictures better, too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    JJ
    December 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Ha! I love it! I learned to use Photoshop waaaaay back when I was in college (late 90’s). I was a graphic arts major so it was just part of my degree. I’ve loved it ever since. I do see where people feel somewhat “fooled” (and maybe therefore foolish) when people who take photos and manipulate them. Maybe they feel “tricked” into thinking something is one way when really it is another. But professionally, I have to say that every image used to show or sell something is going to be “photoshopped” as you call it. Look at a favorite magazine spread and notice how the stylist will have used the same nick nacks four different places. The person living there doesn’t have that space like that all the time! Also bumping up lighting is just common sense. If it is dark you can’t see it! I love seeing your photoshopping work. You’re keepin it real now!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April
    January 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    WOW, Will i never come back to this site again. You photoshop everything How could you! here i thought we are to gain idea’s and see before and afters and other wonderful projects and the images that you use isn’t real. it’s fake.
    I just just don’t know what to say.
    other then
    WTH
    nothing wrong with that. nothing. You didn’t do anything wrong you enhansed the images i could see others feeling tricked or fooled if you moved the couch to the left side of the room but even then. most take life to seriously.
    live a little ..lol
    I never knew it was photoshop i just thought you did really good photography!!! Most professionial photographers will use most of the techniques you used on a normal regular basis.
    no worries..
    post more i want more projects!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi
      January 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Ha! You had me going there for a second! I was thinking, “Is it really that big of a deal??!!!” LOL!!

      More projects on the way soon. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marty Walden
    July 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I’m having fun with this thread on blogtalk. I simply don’t have photoshop but I’m going to have to learn to use picmonkey clone, obviously! When magazines photograph something they airbrush the heck out of it! Perfection sells, imperfections do not. Most people who read magazines know this as it’s just part of the trade. If you follow a blogger most likely at some point they’ll be honest like you are because it doesn’t bother you to show your mess or the before or whatever. We live real lives but our job is to inspire people through our photographs. Love your honesty, Kristi.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    shellac nail polish
    October 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Simply want to say yur article is as astounding.

    The clarity in yohr post is simply nice and i could assume
    you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow
    me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.