“Normal” vs. “Crazy eyes”…that is the question…

I honestly don’t even know where to start with this blog post…I can usually sit right down and share my opinions and thoughts with ease, but this one honestly has me speechless, (for once, WOW, I know ) hehe. First off a little disclaimer: I don’t claim to be, nor am I anywhere close to being the “best photographer” ever  and or the “Photoshop expert” . Nor do I feel like my taste and style trump every other photographer out there. This whole blog post is my privilege to practice my right of free speech. So let’s have at it..

Let’s start with this, As a mother (taking photographer out of the equation) I look at my beautiful daughter wanting to remember every little thing about her. Her smell, her little smile, her little face when she cries, the little peach fuzz that is up her neck, what her beautiful blue eyes look like when she looks at me, her awkward teeth, (now that she’s lost 7). Everything, I want to remember everything just how she is. I’m so fortunate that I have the god given talent and ability to capture all of those fun and special little things that I never want to forget about her. With that said, as a photographer when I take photographs of her, I want it as close to the real thing as I can get, because after all, that is reality. I realize in photoshop that the possibilities are truly endless. One of my favorite quotes is.,

“Just because you can do it in photoshop, doesn’t mean you should”!

With that said I want to open up about why I had y’all participate in the little facebook experiment and what it has taught me, and what It could open your eyes up to see. While I’m browsing around on FB visiting random photographers pages  I notice images with precious children who’s eyes have been made to look like little aliens or better yet, offspring spawns to the devil. Obviously, because I am a professional, I “pick up” more on style and technique more than the “normal” person would.  In addition I notice that these images I feel this way about have 20+ comments on how BEAUTIFUL the eyes are of the precious child in the picture. I am always beside myself. I’m truly not trying to be disrespectful to the photographer, but my initial thought is “NOTHING and NO ONE in this universe looks like that on a day to day basis, so WHY are these people commenting that this is amazing, beautiful eyes, gosh to have eyes like that, etc…” It truly does pain me, lol.  I would be appalled if a photographer would make my daughter’s eyes look like that. It’s not real. So that led me to my experiment. What do people see as “normal” “Beautiful”  and “Desirable” Well let’s have a look:

Let’s start with the image of my daughter:

This is the image I posted and asked y’all to pick weather you thought the TOP image was better or the BOTTOM image was better…

Out of “22″ participants 13 people preferred the TOP image and 9 preferred the BOTTOM image.

The TOP image is my preference on this one. The ONLY thing I did to change this image was over sharpened the eyes, brightened the iris’s and dodged (whitened) the whites of the eyes. NOTHING else was done to this image. I will tell you that in the bottom image, that looks NOTHING like my daughters eyes, so that is clearly why I chose the TOP image. Here is what the image looks like standing alone, my edit:

The next image is from one of my adorable clients who has the most gorgeous baby blues than anyone I know:

Out of “31″ participants 23 preferred the TOP image while 8 of you preferred the BOTTOM image.

OK, now for this image, I again prefer the top image. In the bottom image what I did was throw on an ” Extreme Action” (actions are pre-made “recipes” made for photographers to “speed up” their editing process) to intentionally over blow the shirt and over saturate the surroundings thus throwing his skin tone off into some foreign country. I again, over dodged “whiten”  the whites in his eyes, over sharpened the eyes and brightened the iris’s so much it could make your eyes hurt looking at it. Here is the image by itself my preference:

Now for the third image. Oh boy.. Here is the comparison I asked you to evaluate:

Out of “26″ participants 17 preferred the TOP image and 9 of you preferred the BOTTOM image.

I went so over the top with this adorable clients eyes that It seriously pained me and made me LOL doing it. ALL I did to this image is more than over sharpened the eyes, dodged the whites more than I would  playing dodgeball and brightened those eyes shinier than the chrysler building. Nothing was done to the skin tones and no all over sharpening was done at all. JUST the eyes were tampered with. A lot of you thought that the skin looks brighter and softer an the lips looks lighter, what an optical illusion this was!!

Here is my final edit, which is the top image.

Ok, now that you know what I did to each image have you changed your mind seeing the images bigger?

I struggled to find my point in all of this after my experiment  especially because y’all were all over the board with your preferences, which honestly shocked me.  I certainly don’t want to hurt any one’s feelings based on my opinion, I was just searching for understanding is all. Have I found it, no, but It has taught me a valuable lesson and I want to humbly admit it.

It has taught me that everyone has a different “Taste”, not one size fits all here. This whole experiment could teach you a valuable lesson as well. There are thousands of photographers in this world and each and everyone of us is different. We all have different styles and opinions on what we think looks “good”, “normal” and “natural”. Am I beside myself that people prefer the “alien eye” yes, honestly I am. But my opinion doesn’t matter, because someone somewhere likes it. Would I EVER make a client’s eyes look like that, NO, so perhaps that’s why  client, X, Y an Z didn’t hire me, for overly enhanced eyes is what they desire. I get it, not everyone likes Starbucks, some may prefer Dunn Bros. Coffee.

I also want to advise you to research the prospective photographers portfolio. If they are making clients look like the devil’s spawn, which is not your liking, Then keep searching for someone to fit your “style”. However, If you hire them anyway because, oooh they sell a CD that is “Cheap” and I can print 100′s of 4×6′s at Walgreen’s for 19 cents a piece. Thus resulting in complaints, because they made your child look like anything but you’re child. Then, I don’t feel sorry for you. Our children are only the age they are today, once. Hire a photographer based on style that best represents your tastes and who will capture your child as they are. The real them. They are only that age one time, and years from now when you look back at these images, you will remember what you once said you never wanted to forget.

I truly do not want to come across as disrespectful to photographer’s and their “style”. It’s my opinion that I wanted to share. Some people may not like my style, and that is perfectly ok.  It really has taught me a lesson and I hope it has you too. I hope when you look at an image, of your child you think,

“That is exactly how I want to remember my child in that exact moment in time”.


Sandra - AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME, post!! I couldn’t agree with you more!! Well said!October 23, 2011 – 1:48 PM

Gina - So glad you were not changing your style. I got a little worried. I love your photos the way they are….beautiful and natural!!October 28, 2011 – 3:52 PM

christi munson - where do you get your pictures printed at? what place do you use to do this? Is there places that are better than others? this part I am new too and am overwhelmed!!!November 1, 2012 – 8:03 PM

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