Recently The Daily Mail published an article, “exposing” Amelia Liana, a UK blogger & Youtuber, for photoshopping her Instagram posts. The article showed some of Amelia’s posts where there were some alterations done to them. Most of those alterations were done to the background. Like a photoshopped NYC skyline, an impossibly empty Taj Mahal etc… They stated that these photos are unrealistic and misleading. They also questioned where the alterations stop.
While I understand where this article is coming from, I also understand Amelia and a lot of other bloggers side of the story. As a blogger, I strive to present the highest quality content possible. And just like about every blogger out there, I “beautify” my posts. That means, fixing the exposure/brightness/contrast, playing with the saturation, cropping out something distracting in the background. As for my face and body, I’ll be lying if I said that I always keep it real. Sometimes I’ll clone out a zit or two (because no one wants to see a close up of my hormonal zit )and maybe whiten my teeth if they need to. But that’s it. I stop here! Everything I retouch is by using Lightroom. I don’t photoshop my pictures. If I did, trust me I’ll have a smaller waist, bigger booty, and a fuller bust.
You can always see my freckles (like here, here and every other post), small blemishes and MY REAL body in my pictures. I’ve discussed before here how I select certain pictures that are naturally more flattering. I’ve always kept real and I’ve always preached that imperfections are what makes us beautiful.
What people don’t understand is that bloggers (especially those with a bigger following) have replaced magazines. And we all know how much Photoshop magazines use. Just like magazines, bloggers want to share esthetically appealing photos that attract attention and viewers. But sometimes, just like magazines they take it too far.
Another thing to note is that Instagram in all is fake! Those candid shots are not so candid. Almost everything is staged and well calculated. Even the posting timing. For example, while I was on vacation in Lebanon earlier this spring, I was posting lots of colorful and aesthetically pleasing pictures of my travels there. Lots of different location, making me look like I was having the time of my life. A girl actually messaged me telling me she was so jealous of my “happy amazing life”. What she didn’t know is while I was having a blast there, I was also going through a lot offline. My dad was hospitalized, I had issues with my visa and lots of other things that I didn’t share online. I made sure to explain to her that no one has an amazing life as they showcase on their feed. We all have to remember that Instagram by itself is a beautified altered reality.
While I don’t have a problem with beautifying a background, such strong changes like Amelia did, can lead to a loss of trust in a blogger. Just like people don’t trust magazine’s pictures anymore, they can lose trust in bloggers also.
After all isn’t followers’ trust what we are all seeking?
So while I’m all for minor improvements, big alterations are a no no for me. What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think it’s ok to change and alter pictures? And where do you draw the line?