Kathryn's Blog

A picture is worth…???

Remember the days when pictures didn’t lie?  Boyohboy, was that ancient history or what.  Photoshop and the like sure has brought an end to the honesty of photos. 

Good pictures are a must for the Internet dater—I always tell folks to get them—and now you can have them retouched, too!  See what this article has to say, and then bop on over to PicWash.com and see what is possible.

(Frankly, I love the slimming service that takes 20 pounds off.)

But what do you all think, really?  Are touched up photos another way of lying?

Retouching services put a new face (and body) on your photos
Posted by Susan Langenhennig, Fashion editor, The Times-Picayune

There was a time when snapshots were something to stuff in an album and place on a shelf, to be pulled out occasionally when dear friends wanted to chuckle over your Farrah Fawcett hair and your micro-miniskirt from back in the day.

But, now, thanks to online picture-sharing and social-networking sites, friends aren’t the only ones looking. Co-workers, former classmates, long-lost acquaintances and even creepy guys you’ve never met can flip through your favorite snaps at their leisure.

And what they’re seeing isn’t always reality.

Photo-retouching services are helping people put their best face—minus the crow’s feet, double chin and blotchy skin—online. Internet services such as PicWash.com, Fotofix.com and Retouchxp.com can give you a digital facelift and tummy tuck, zap away blemishes, and even out your tan.

For $7, PicWash will reduce facial shine, remove acne, erase wrinkles and whiten your teeth. For $15, the company’s new slimming service, launched this month, will put your image on a digital diet, whittling your waist, stomach and thighs, erasing cellulite and toning the arms—all without breaking a sweat.

The demand has been dramatic, driven largely by the growing popularity of sites such as Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook, MySpace and online dating services.

To keep up, PicWash has grown from five graphic designers to 30 since it opened in August 2007.

Fotofix, a 2-year-old company based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Austin, Texas, gets thousands of page hits a day, said Jessica Mitchell, the company’s founder and chief operating officer. Fotofix advertises its services on social-networking and online-dating sites.

“The knowledge of retouching is really coming about on a consumer level now,” she said. “I got my start retouching for fashion photographers, and, of course, the charge for that is 10 times what we charge on Fotofix. At these prices, ($4.95 for such things as teeth whitening or skin smoothing), it really puts it within a consumer’s reach.”

“Photos are shared now more than ever before,” said Daniel Ciraldo, the 24-year-old founder of the Florida-based PicWash. “One photo of yourself can be online for eternity. People are more and more interested in optimizing their appearance; what we do is provide a beauty service for your photos.”

Ciraldo’s sisters used to touch up their pictures before posting on their Facebook pages. Watching them sparked an idea. “I thought, ‘What if we got a bunch of designers together who could do this from an expert approach?’¤” he said.

His family owns a skin care company and his mother is a dermatologist in Miami, so Ciraldo got tips on “how the skin should look. We want pores to be reduced but still visible so it doesn’t look like you’re a plastic person,” he said. “We want it to look natural.”

PicWash’s slimming service takes off about 10 to 15 pounds. The company’s promotional flier features an attractive woman in a tankini swimsuit. She doesn’t have a model’s body in either the “before” or “after” shots. The overall effect is a trimmer figure but without a dramatically noticeable change.

It’s like one of those hidden-pictures pages from Highlights magazine for children. Can you spot the toned arms and the flatter tummy?

“One thing you probably don’t immediately notice is that we also brought the breasts higher and closer to the body,” he said.

About 60 percent of PicWash’s customers are women ages 18 to 26, Ciraldo said.

Although online services are leading the charge, local photo retailers also are in on the action. Lakeside Camera Photoworks, which has locations in Metairie and Mandeville, offers retouching, but clients request the improvements primarily for professional portraits, not vacation snapshots or Internet posts.

“Most of the time, it’s publicity and business photos for actresses or actors or real estate agents,” said David Guidry, owner of Lakeside Camera. “It’s become an integral part of our portrait studio work.”

Not all of the retouching is vanity-driven. A considerable part of Lakeside’s retouching work comes from requests to add in grandma or crop out an ex from family photos, Guidry said. And Mitchell, of Fotofix, said some customers turn to her service for diet motivation.

“We had one woman who said, ‘Make me 20 pounds slimmer, and I’m going to put it up on my fridge so I can see it everyday.’¤”

Such altering of reality isn’t new. Magazines are filled with unreal beauties. In the March issue of Vogue, for example, Pascal Dangin, a sought-after New York photo retoucher, tweaked 144 images, including “107 advertisements (Estee Lauder, Gucci, Dior, etc.), 36 fashion pictures, and the cover, featuring Drew Barrymore,” according to a May 12 story about Dangin in The New Yorker.

Now everyone has access to a little digital makeover magic. Fotofix’s tagline is “Look your best, even if you didn’t.”

“Everybody knows that celebrities and models are retouched,” Mitchell said. “Why shouldn’t we have the same treatment?”



Ooops.  It isn’t clear here that I don’t think retouching photos is a good idea.  Certainly good photos are important, and I almost always recommend professional ones.  But don’t do —or say—anything that will make a first meeting a huge disappointment, ie you don’t look nearly as good in person.  In fact, there is some advantage in looking better in real life than you do in your profile pics.  Remember that there will be no one at your first date with an airbrush to touch you up.  You’ll be on your own!  Kathryn

I don’t edit or retouch my picture. It would be better to leave it alone. I had a date once, she edited her picture and when I met her, I really turned her down. Better to be rejected before you meet than rejected after you have meet because of the lie on the picture.

Leave a Comment


Contact Kathryn by phone at , by email at

home | kathryn's romance newsletter | test yourself | new, fun, free | facts
about kathryn and coaching | who is kathryn lord? | kathryn's own cyberromance story | what is romance coaching? | are you ready for romance coaching? | what kathryn's clients say | want to try romance coaching?
kathryn's blog | contact kathryn


Copyright 2003-2007 Kathryn B. Lord