I like to think of myself as a smart, informed woman who isn’t easily taken in by media trickery but I have to admit, until doing research for this article, I had no idea how out of hand this whole Photoshop issue has gotten. A few years back, Britney Spears took the bold step of allowing Candies to release untouched versions of her then latest shoot for the company so the world could see what she looked like before the Photoshop wizards got their hands on the pics. The result was pretty shocking (see above) but was nowhere near as dramatic as some of the celebrity Photoshop before and after pics that made this list.
Alicia Silverstone’s before and after Photoshop pictures aren’t really all that bad, are they? It basically just looks like they’ve brightened up her skin and made it look a little smoother while adding a little bit of makeup, or at least darkening it. She looks great it the before picture and great in the after picture. In my honest opinion, the before photo didn’t really need that much touching up but I’d say the editors did a decent job or it all the same.
Angelina Jolie is a naturally beautiful woman. She’s got great skin, gorgeous bone structure and features that are envied all over the world. I’ve long believed Angelina is one of the most beautiful women in the world – with or without Photoshop. Here, the editors just really seem to have focused on brightening up Angelina’s complexion, darkening her makeup and cleaning up her eyes a little bit. While I don’t necessarily think this photo needed retouching, I think the editor did a great job, letting some of Angelina’s natural beauty shine through and only touching up some slight imperfections.
Ann Taylor Model
The backlash against fashion powerhouse Ann Taylor was fast and immediate when this Photoshop monstrosity was discovered. In what world does this beautiful model need to be made thinner? She’s absolutely gorgeous and she was already very thin. Is that not enough? Apparently not. After this little “mistake” was discovered, the photo was removed from Ann Taylor’s website and an apology was issued. Normally, I’d let it go after the pictures were removed and the apology was issued by Ann Taylor is notorious for just this sort of thing which makes the apology feel a little hollow.
One artist. One photo. Two magazine covers. One big controversy. How in the world is this considered acceptable? Well, to many it isn’t. When the photo on the right popped up on newsstands, it didn’t take long for the connection to the photo on the left to be discovered and then the outrage began. Beyoncé is a beautiful woman. Making her skin lighter does not make her more beautiful in the least. After an apology, the controversy died down but that hasn’t stopped the same thing from happening time and time again.
In this one, we can obviously see what has been changed with Eva Mendez. Puffiness under her eyes has been reduced but what troubles me is that it also seems as if her complexion has been ‘lightened’. Of course, we’ve seen worse examples of skin lightening (see Beyoncé above) but this one is just as troubling. It’s possible the editor was just trying to even out his or her work after reducing the puffiness around her eyes but it still seems a little questionable. In any event, Eva on the cover looks more awake and alert than she did in the original picture but the lighter complexion makes it hard to say this one was a job well done.
Faith Hill is a beautiful, talented woman but she is also a woman that’s getting older. It’s only natural that her face is going to show the signs of that – not that you’d know from the ‘after’ photo. In this set of before and after Photoshop pictures, we can see the editor has worked hard to turn back the hands on time on Faith, reducing puffiness and removing wrinkles around the eyes and lightening or completely erasing wrinkles around the mouth. He or she has also brightened Faith’s complexion and lightened the color of her hair. If you look closely around Faith’s neck, it also looks like the photo editor has removed some wrinkles there as well. As sad as it is, I can see why it was done but I think Faith looked beautiful in this photo even before it was retouched.
Like Faith Hill, Jennifer Aniston is a beautiful woman who is getting older. You can really see that in Jennifer’s before photo. She has wrinkles on her forehead (although they could appear more pronounced because of her facial expression) and around her mouth but the photo editor has come in and cleaned house. Jennifer looks younger in the after photo because those wrinkles have been reduced significantly or completely erased. In addition to cleaning up the wrinkles, it also looks like her skin tone has been evened out a little bit. All the same, this isn’t one of the most outrageous Photoshop fixes I’ve seen so I’d have to call it a good job overall.
Now see, I just don’t get this one. Jessica, in my opinion anyway, looks far, far better in the before picture. I love the natural look on this woman so I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would want to Photoshop tons of makeup on her. It’s a good job, sure, but it just takes something away from the photo. On top of that, her skin appears so much lighter. I love Jessica’s natural complexion. If it were up to me, the original photo would’ve been left alone. Why screw with something that didn’t need to be screwed with?
I’m not even sure where to start with this one. The after photo is more physically appealing than the before photo so I can see why it was retouched but it’s kind of a little ridiculous how much has actually been done. Freckles? Gone! Wrinkles? Minimized! Lips? Mostly deglossed! Teeth? Whitened! Shine? Erased! I think Julianne is an incredibly beautiful woman but yeah, I have to say I prefer the after photo for this one.
Now, I know this isn’t a before and after shot in the traditional sense but it still illustrates the point I’m making with the before and after shots. Kate looks great in the main photo, I suppose, but she doesn’t look like the Kate I know and love. She has clearly been slimmed down significantly, enough so that she complained to the press about the photos after the magazine hit newsstands. This isn’t what Kate strives to be. She’s a curvy woman and she’s happy with that. She’s comfortable with her body and as far as I’m concerned, she has every reason to be. I’ve included this photo in this section of the article because if you look in the mirror in the background, you can see the photo editor hasn’t bothered to alter the reflection. In that reflection, you get to see Kate’s real curves and to me, that image is far sexier than the altered, thinner Kate at the forefront of the photo.
I’m not sure who thought anyone would be fooled by this hatchet job some photo editor did on Katie Couric but it’s a little sad, isn’t it? I mean, she’s on live television people! It’s going to be obvious the after picture does not show Katie in a realistic light. The lighting in the before photo wasn’t great so I can understand playing around with the photo to make it look a bit better in that respect but was it necessary to shave so much weight off the girl? She’s not a big girl. Even if she was, that’s just her body shape. Katie is a journalist and a host. We don’t tune in to ogle her fine body. Let her be who she is. Honestly though, did the editor think no one would notice? Insane.
Kim Cattrall is an older woman but you’d have a hard time telling that if you only say the after photo for this one. The wrinkles around her eyes, nose and mouth have been erased. Her jaw has been tightened. Her hair has been lightened. Her complexion has been evened out. She does look good – more youthful, but what’s wrong with aging gracefully. One of the things I love about Kim is her willingness to talk about her age and how the entertainment treats women as they age. I think this side by side proves her point but she goes look good, even in the before picture.
This before and after is practically legendary in the world of celebrity Photoshop before and after pictures because, well, just look at what they’ve done to Kim Kardashian. I’m not Kim’s biggest fan but even still, I don’t see anything wrong with the first photo. She’s always been a curvy girl. Why take those curves away? In this set, the photo editor has lightened Kim’s skin slightly, slimmed her thighs and tummy and fixed some discoloration on her thighs. Is the finished image hotter? Maybe to some but for many, it was overkill.
Yikes. Just … yikes. A lot of people like to say Madonna looks, to be blunt, ugly in the before photo but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. For a woman her age, I’d say she looks pretty damn good but certainly not as good as she does in the heavily edited photo on the right. I get that looking good is a big part of being in the entertainment industry but maybe it shouldn’t be. In this photo, the editor has brightened her skin tone and her hair, smoothed out her wrinkles and cleaned up the area around the eyes. The result? A photo that is clearly heavily edited and looks more like a computer generated image of the Material Girl than a photo of the actual person.
Megan Fox is obviously a beautiful women but even she gets a helping hand from technology. That’s probably worth keeping in mind when you’re looking at pictures of any beautiful Hollywood celebrity. The photo editor here has done a decent job of covering blemishes, evening out skin tone and masking fine lines and wrinkles without going completely overboard. The after photo still looks somewhat natural. I’d definitely say the editor got it right on this one although I don’t think the photo was in need of a helping hand to begin with.
This one bugs me. I think Naomi Watts is one of the most beautiful, talented actresses of her generation. The before photo? There’s nothing wrong with it! If I was in charge, the only thing that would’ve been changed about this photo would’ve been the light levels as the original was a little on the dark side. Instead of just brightening up the overall photo, the editor here has decided to get rid of her freckles and so something disturbing to her beautiful eyes.
This one also bugs me but for slightly different reasons. Now, this photo was intended to be used as a promotional photo for the movie Your Highness and that means heavy editing. The background needed to be livened up, the colors needed to pop and some other minor things needed to be done to make it more suitable for a promo picture. My objection? The boobs! Why on earth did they feel the need to enhance Natalie’s bust line for this picture? Yes, her breasts are a bit on the small side, but what’s wrong with that? Nothing! Will slightly increasing the size of her breasts in the promo pics convince more men to see the movie? Well, probably actually. Anyway, moving on.
*Please Note: Thank you to Cimmy and Ashley for pointing out that this is not, in fact Natalie Portman in Your Highness but is actually Keira Knightly in King Arthur. I apologize for any confusion. I was going to just change the details but I decided it would be pretty dishonest of me. I made a pretty big mistake and am not to big to admit it. Thanks again for correcting me. I’ll be much more careful next time.
Nicolette Sheridan has made a name for herself as a bit of a diva what with the whole lawsuit and … a whole lot of other things, but she’s still a very beautiful woman. She doesn’t need retouching. She looks a bit tires in the first photo but I’m sure being a diva takes a lot out of a person. I don’t think the after photo is all that much of an improvement. The photo itself is brighter which is always nice but the editor has done a step further and smoothed out her wrinkles and left the after picture looking unnatural and too ‘fussed with’. I’m sure Nicolette was okay with that though.
No one will ever be able to tell me why this is okay. Nina Garcia is a beautiful woman who doesn’t need a whole lot of makeup and flash to make her more attractive. That didn’t stop the editor of this photo from deciding that wasn’t true and digitally slapping a bunch of makeup on her face. She looks younger, sure, but she also looks almost nothing like what she originally looked like. She looks far too ‘made up’ which is a shame since she looked so beautiful and natural in the original photo.
Pamela Anderson looks significantly better in the after photo. That’s pretty obvious. Her complexion has been evened out, her prinkles have been smoothed and her lips have been turned up at the corners into something that resembles a smile instead of a scowl. And somehow, the after image still looks like it could have been the original.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way this woman looks in either of these before pictures. I mean that in the most literal possible way. Penelope Cruz is just an absolutely stunning woman. I can’t imagine why the first photo needed to be edited at all. Sure they’ve cleaned up her complexion a bit and smoothed out some wrinkles but it hardly seems necessary to me. The second one really bugs me though. I mean, where has her rib cage gone in that after shot? Leave this woman alone. She doesn’t need the help.
So let’s darken Scarlett Johansson’s hair, make her ghostly pale, slap some dark makeup on her eyes and call it a day. That conversation must’ve taken place. There just seems to be no reason for this. There isn’t a simple flaw that I can see in this before pic. There isn’t a wrinkle or blemish to be seen, so why edit the picture? One of Hollywood’s greatest mysteries, I’d say.
I can see why this photo of Sharon Stone has been retouched. She does look better and more youthful in the after photo but do these editors really think no one will notice that someone has wrinkles one day but none the next? In this set, the editor has smoothed out the wrinkles around Sharon’s eyes, moth, neck and armpit and the lines in her forehead. They’ve evened out her complexion and I believe they’ve also boosted her bust although it’s a bit hard to tell. The result is great but incredibly obvious when compared to other photos from Sharon taken around the same time that haven’t been as edited.
Tina Fey is pretty much my hero so seeing photos like the ones above really, really bother me. She’s such a beautiful woman. Why mess with that? Well, because she doesn’t exactly fit into Hollywood’s definition of what beauty should be. In her book, Bossypants, Tina talks a lot about beauty and particularly, beauty in Hollywood. If you’ve ever felt insecure about yourself after looking at a photo of some beautiful Hollywood star in a magazine or online, I’d sincerely recommend checking out Tina’s book. In any event, I don’t think Tina needs any help looking beautiful but it’s not just the retouching that bothers me. It’s the scar removal. Tina has a scar on her chin that you can see in the ‘before’ photo. It’s gone in the ‘after’ photo. Is it really that big of a deal? No? Then why not just leave it alone?
Come on – Tyra Banks? This is one of the most beautiful models in the world – with or without photo show. You can clearly see that in the before photo. Yet for some reason, someone decided she needed to be more beautiful. Please. Anyway, in the after picture, you can see Tyra’s had the puffiness around her eyes reduced, stray hairs hidden on her forehead and around her mouth and her complexion smoothed out. Most bothersome to me though is the fact that they’ve so dramatically lightened her eyes in the after picture. I love Tyra’s eyes. Why not leave them that beautiful deep color?
Infamous Photoshop Scandals
The problem with Photoshop scandals is we don’t often get to see the untouched version of the photo. That doesn’t mean there Photoshop hack jobs shouldn’t be called out all the same.
I don’t know what the before photo for this W Magazine cover looked like but I’m quite sure Demi probably looked a little curvier in it. Of course we all know Demi is very thin but look at her right hip or, more specifically, look at where her right hip is supposed to be. Not only is it a little ridiculous to think Demi needed to be altered to look good enough to be on the cover of a magazine (clearly, she does not need to be altered – the woman stunning) but it’s downright insulting that they put this second rate edit on the cover and didn’t think anyone would notice.
We talked about a photo of Kate Winslet from British GQ earlier but I had to include the cover in this article as well because it’s just absolutely terrible. Kate Winslet is not that thin. She never has been. She never wants to be. When this cover hit newsstands, people knew the photo had been edited because, well, Kate is a curvy woman and she just isn’t in that photo. Kate spoke publicly about the controversy, not only admitting the image had been altered but expressing her disappointment with the publication. Kate is comfortable with who she is and what her body looks like and with good reason. Since then, Kate has stated several times that she’s very anti-airbrushing. Alas, it seems to have made little difference.
This cover is just insulting in every way. Kelly is a curvy, full figured woman and she’s okay with that. When this cover hit newsstands, people thought it was odd. When other photos of Kelly taken around the same time showed Kelly looking closer to her normal weight, people were confused? Had she lost weight suddenly then gained it back just as suddenly? No. Her photo was edited. Why is that so insulting considering how often it happens. Look at the top right corner of the magazine. See the headline? It reads “Kelly Clarkson: Stay True to You and Everyone Else Will Love You Too”. So they decide to completely flush that positive message down the can by digitally slimming Kelly? Shameful.