Afternoon, ya’ll!  Glad some of you fell for my April Fools Day joke.  I’m a little trickster!


What I really had for breakfast:


A HUGE Cherry Chocolate Bomb Green Monster.  So big it didn’t even fit into one glass!  When I have a smoothie for a meal, I add a special ingredient:  OATMEAL!  Yes, just plain, raw oatmeal.  It tastes great, I promise.


My oatmeal contained:


  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 15 frozen cherries
  • 1 scoop Nesquik
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup almond breeze
  • 1 banana


Here are other tips on how to make a smoothie “stick” to your ribs.


Lunch was leftovers.  Magical leftovers!


I had a cup of African-Inspired Sweet Potato Soup:


And Kashi Pilaf with sugar snap peas… covered in hot sauce!


Book News!


For those of you that are newer readers, I have a book coming out on AUGUST 3!  It’s based on the Operation Beautiful blog. If you want to read more about the process of quitting my job and getting a book deal, check out this post (I need to update the blog with information about physical therapy grad school – Short story is that it’s probably not happening).


All has been kind of quiet on the book front for a few months, but today I had a meeting with my Gotham Books publicist team, and it got me SO excited! I’m officially listed on Barnes and Noble and Borders.  Pinch me, I’m dreaming!


I was just thinking about how I really have all of YOU to thank for this dream coming true.  I started to blog just to have fun and meet other like-minded people, and I really never thought it would go this far.  I REALLY appreciate every single reader, commenter, and fellow blogger that adds something special to this wonderful community.   Thank you, thank you, thank you!


And Thoughts on Photoshopping


I was doing research for an Operation Beautiful presentation and came across this great “photoshop hall of shame” slideshow.  Did you know 99% of images in magazines are photoshopped?  Even TABLOID photos are photoshopped!

There’s been tons of studies that photoshopped images create false expectations and unnecessary stress on women reading the magazines.  I definitely believe it’s wrong to photoshop someone thinner (adjusting lighting or whatever is fine).  So… one of the issues I’ve been thinking a lot about is what to do with photoshop?


Some countries are considering “warning labels” for photoshopping, similar to the labels in alcohol and cigarette ads.  Britain has a proposed ban on all photoshopping in ads aimed at those under 16.  The law would also require all other ads to carry a disclaimer describing the extent of their alterations.  In France, the lower house of French Parliament voted in favor of a bill that would ban "inciting thinness."  The bill now has to go to Senate (I don’t think it has, yet).


Some questions for you (I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts, it will help me a lot for you presentation):


  • Do you think photoshopping is wrong? Why?  Do you think it creates a false ideal or we should “know better”?
  • What is the solution to photoshopping?  Would warning labels help?  Should it be outlawed entirely?
  • It is the magazine’s artistic right to photoshop?
  • What about fitness magazines photoshopping their cover models?  Does that make you particularly mad?


And… discuss!



  • Jessica @ How Sweet April 1, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Congrats on the book being on pre-order! 🙂 I checked it out and it was like I knew a celebrity!

    I think photoshopping it great for photographers in certain scenarios – such as bad lighting, or a glare, etc. But photoshopping models does give so many people the wrong, unrealistic expectation.

  • Samantha April 1, 2010, 12:38 pm

    How exciting with the book!! Your breakfast looks more like you!! 🙂 I definitely think it’s wrong to photoshop ads. It’s making people feel like they need to change themselves to look like those in the ads when really the people in the ads are not perfect like they are portrayed!

  • Sarah W. April 1, 2010, 12:38 pm

    On the whole, I don’t think photoshopping a horrible thing. In some cases, I can see how it enhances an ad. However, I do think that warning labels would help greatly. I also think that they shouldn’t just be on ads aimed at those under 16. I’m 24 and I am still influenced by pictures of celebrities, like Kim Kardashian.

    Personally, a warning label would be a helpful reminder to me that photos like these aren’t entirely “real.” It’s really easy to forget that.

  • kirsten April 1, 2010, 12:39 pm

    wow so exciting to see your book listed!! Also I feel like Post-It should be giving you a cut of their profits. I’m sure you have increased their sales 🙂

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 2:52 pm

      I tried to get Post It on board but they weren’t having it. Bah!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs April 1, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I think photoshopping a picture is 100% wrong. The only time it should be ‘allowed’ is if they do have a disclaimer saying that isn’t what the model looks like – and maybe even the original picture in small or something!?
    It’s totally not fair on women (or men, or whoever), cos you look at those pictures and think it’s real. No-one looks like those images though.
    Grr, it’s a topic that makes me mad!
    Magazine pictures had a BIG influence on my ED (before I knew about photoshop), so I know it will have a BIG influence on other girls too.
    It should definetly be banned. And fitness models having it is just as bad as regular IMHO.
    Oh btw, can’t wait for your book, love the look of that soup and I often add oatmeal to my smoothies too – it’s fab 🙂

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:06 pm

      you are so sweet and always have the most thoughtful comments.

  • Emily April 1, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I think the majority of magazine readers already KNOW images are photoshopped so why put laws on it? Sure, it does make things seem faker, but then you would have to also consider plastic surgery. Should those have to walk around with a label? The idea is the same – they are altering the image (of themself or an photo).

    Let the magazines do what they want to do. If someone is offended by how the magazine portrays body image, then they shouldn’t pick it up in the first place. Just my two cents though..

  • alex April 1, 2010, 12:41 pm
  • Estela @ Weekly Bite April 1, 2010, 12:43 pm

    I agree with Jessica. Photoshopping is appropriate for certain situations… but not when is presents an unrealistic… unreachable viewpoint.

  • Morgan April 1, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Photoshopping has a time and a place in certain instances. I understand that it helps to sell clothes, magazines, etc., but it’s excessive. It’s one thing to photoshop out a strand of hair in a models face, and a total other thing to photoshop out excess skin, muscle, hips or any body parts. I believe that since actresses can look great on the red carpet wearing things such as Spanx and other body slimmers, maybe those should be used more in photos, so less drastic retouching needs to be done.

  • Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life April 1, 2010, 12:43 pm

    amazing!!! It really seems unreal for you!!

    I think majority of people know stuff it photo-shopped not that I agree with it though.

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) April 1, 2010, 12:43 pm

    first all congrats on the book. Your dreams and mission are coming true! It’s a beautiful message so I’m happy it’s getting “out there”. Also, I think that magazines such as shape, self, and other fitness/healthy magazines should NOT photoshop. I understand (not really but kinda) fashion magazines doing it to sell the CLOTHES but when you are trying to sell a HEALTHY lifestyle…then it’s deceptive and potentially dangerous to women

  • Sarah April 1, 2010, 12:44 pm

    Wow Caitlin! I’m totally going to pre-order your book, that’s SO exciting!

    I think putting restrictions on photoshopping would be nearly impossible to monitor and police. That being said, I think it’s the responsibility of the publication to be accountable for themselves. Fitness magazines especially should NOT photoshop their models. GAH!

    Even before photoshop, there were artists who would paint their ideal of beauty. Their paintings were definitely flattering to the subjects because if not, they wouldn’t get the commission! I think it’s in human nature to want to view things that are impossibly beautiful.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:08 pm

      thank you for your preorder!!!

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place April 1, 2010, 12:46 pm

    I just googled your book title and I found that you were lised in a San Jose newspaper?! did you know about it? here’s the link

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:09 pm

      thanks for this link!

  • Rika April 1, 2010, 12:46 pm

    I think models should represent themselves and us! so I think photoshopping is basically stripping their identity away from them! So in advertisement that appeals to people like us, yes I believe they should ban it.

  • Astrid April 1, 2010, 12:46 pm

    This reminds of the very very fine print they put on weight loss adds on tv. Results not typical. But no one pays enough attention to read those words. It is very similar with photoshopped bodies. We just need to be able to accept that comapnies are selling a product by using a piece of art. The art is a person, so they can alter the person as they see fit. It does make people want to compare themselves to that art, but why are people comparing themselves in the first place?
    It would be pretty awesome to have companies that go way overboard with photoshopping to make people look unrealistic as a way to add interest to the products (think the extra large head on the red queen from Alice in Wonderland). Photoshopping could be pretty awesome if used in a positive or purely aritistic way.

  • Ellen April 1, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Congrats on the book! That’s SUPER exciting 🙂

    As for photoshopping, I tend to agree with Diana above. Photoshopping will happen to some degree and it’s a lesser evil in certain arenas (high fashion, maybe?). It is NOT ever okay to photoshop in mags like SELF, Shape, Fitness, etc. These are magazines that feature healthy guides for fitness and nutrition, and photoshopping someone’s lovehandles completely goes against the philosophy.

  • Kailey (SnackFace) April 1, 2010, 12:50 pm

    First off, MAD props for the book. It’s going to be amazing.

    As for Photoshopping, I think it’s fine in magazines and ads, but only to a point. For blemishes and poor lighting, it’s fantastic. But when it comes to slimming shapes and eliminating body parts, it’s too much! As one who’s been majorly photoshopped, to the point where my nose was unrecognizable as my own, I’m all for minimalism.

    I think disclaimers would be silly, though. That’s too much restriction, and I don’t think it would help much. What I think needs to change is the modeling industry, but that’s another huge issue.

  • Neely April 1, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Congrats Caitlin! So happy for you!

    I don’t think photoshopping is wrong at all… but much of that opinion probably comes from the fact that I have grown older and have also grown wiser and more confident and knowledgable. I now know for a fact that a large percentage of what the “perfection” in a photo I am looking at is doctored. I also am confortable with myself and don’t look to images in an attempt to attain something I am not, body-wise.

    Yes, this kind of thing can be a detriment to girls/women, but I am not a fan of policing the media or fashion mags because it is not up to those people to babysit us as a society. They are free to put out what they wish. It is a parent’s responsibility to get a good message out their young women so this stuff doesn’t have the chance to affect them in a negative way in the first place.

    No one should live life in such a naive manner that they really believe they are supposed to look exactly like a model on a runway or a face in a catalogue. I know it happens, but you can’t hold those in that business responsible for the mental/physical well-being of the general public.

  • Christie {Honoring Health} April 1, 2010, 12:50 pm

    I just pre-ordered the book on amazon!

    I think that photoshopping is completely wrong. I’m all for adjusting lighting or color balancing (I do that on my food photos all the time) but I don’t agree with turning a photo of a person into something they are not. I think the message it sends is completely crazy, I mean, if even the models themselves are not ideal, what is that teaching those who a reading??? I think warning labels are a great idea.

  • Jen April 1, 2010, 12:51 pm

    I can’t wait to buy your book!

    For the photoshopping thing..I think magazines should include one “real” picture for every fake picture. I was just looking at a picture of a nudist beach in Germany – no I’m not a pervert, it was in an encyclopedia! – and all the people looked so REAL. It was refreshing! I think the picture was probably taken about 15 years ago but still…I loved the fact that they looked so comfortable in their bodies.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:11 pm

      i love real bodies!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin April 1, 2010, 12:52 pm

    Congrats Caitlin!!!!! How awesome!

    I agree with the idea that photoshopping creates false ideals of beauty. I think the average woman gets overly self conscious when she sees picture after picture of celebrities and models tweaked to make them “perfect.” People who think they can’t achieve this get really caught up in it and can go to one extreme or another – either giving up and letting themselves go because they’ll never BE perfect, or constantly over exercising and under eating to try to get there.

    That said, I think it would be very difficult to monitor photoshopping and place restrictions on it, but I think it would be helpful if we could find a way!

  • Suzanne April 1, 2010, 12:52 pm

    In fashion magazines and most ads, I do consider photoshopping to be an artistic right. Companies should be allowed to make their products look as appealing as possible. I think people should be better educated about how common the practice it, though, and realize what an unrealistic standard those pictures represent.

    Fitness magazines are a different issue, in my opinion. The premise of those magazines is that if you buy them and follow their advice, you will look like their models. This is usually impossible, and photoshopping women (who no doubt look amazing without doing so) is false advertising!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman April 1, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I’ve worked in the magazine industry for six years and I really doubt Photoshopping is going away. Most of the time I don’t disagree with it. People don’t want to read magazines where the images look just like something you could take on your point-and-shoot camera. And it’s necessary to get rid of bad lighting, glare, stray hairs, and so on. I even don’t mind when the background is changed because really magazines are an escape from reality.

    I don’t, however, agree with the gratuitous Photoshopping that happens just to make thin models thinner. There’s a difference between essentially creating art with Photoshop (because, really, how different is a Photoshopped picture than a painter’s rendition on the same scene?) and doing it not for the sake of art but with the idea of creating beanpole women. I also think that putting a warning label on it is so silly. Who wants to read a magazine where every image that has even been touched so slightly has a big *This image has been Photoshopped* on it? I think the best way to affect this change is to vote with our wallets. If it bothers someone, they don’t have to support that magazine by buying it.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:12 pm

      AMEN!!! I am no longer going to buy magazines with photoshopped covers.

      • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:13 pm

        um, unless they have a review of my book inside. LOL

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner April 1, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Congrats on the book….so exciting! And I agree completely with what above commenters have said. Photoshopping is getting ridiculous.

  • Madison April 1, 2010, 12:57 pm

    I think what it all boils down to is money. Lots of these companies care less about what these altered images are doing to people. These companies and magazines use photo-shopping to make us want to buy whatever they are trying to sell…a pair of jeans, cosmetics, magazines.

    I don’t like it but understand why they do it. It’s a crazy world we live in.

  • Paige April 1, 2010, 12:57 pm

    I agree with most of the other posts here…Photoshopping is okay to a point (lighting, background, etc,); but when body parts are removed or slimmed to a point of being unrecognizable…that’s ridiculous!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) April 1, 2010, 12:59 pm

    Photoshopping non body realted things don’t bother me. But when they shave part of a hip or add some extra abs it irks me. It’s like saying the already beautiful celebrities and models aren’t enough unless they are perfect. Show me real people.

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love April 1, 2010, 12:59 pm

    Yeah pre-order, so cool! Photoshopping has just become out of hand. I can understand making someone’s skin a little clear or messing with shadows. But making people not looks like themselves is insane.

  • Jenny April 1, 2010, 1:01 pm

    I think photoshopping is wrong simply for the impossible standards of beauty it sets for every day women who are exhausted trying to keep up with these standards!

  • Reenie April 1, 2010, 1:02 pm

    YEA! Can’t wait till your book comes out ~ congrats again:)

    Photoshopping…..wrong! When they photoshopped FAITH HILL ~ Faith Hill ~ I couldn’t believe it. Since then, I don’t believe any of the photos in/on any magazine!!!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 1, 2010, 1:02 pm

    I have no problem with photo-shopping in ads and magazines. I think that it shows images in their best possible manner to attract an audience. Regardless of the poor self-image that may result, people are drawn to what’s attractive and of course magazines are going to capitalize on that.

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health April 1, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Ditto to what most other commenters said. I especially agree with Madison; “I think what it all boils down to is money. Lots of these companies care less about what these altered images are doing to people. These companies and magazines use photo-shopping to make us want to buy whatever they are trying to sell…a pair of jeans, cosmetics, magazines.” I certainly fall into that trap. When I see a favorite celebrity of mine with a bangin’ body on a magazine cover, I’m more likely to buy it.

    …Which leads to my answer about your question regarding fitness magazines. I think it’s one thing to photoshop the cover image for a fashion magazine. Sometimes magazines want a certain “aesthetic” to be portrayed through the clothing, and altering the image might enhance that. But when it comes to fitness/health magazines slimming down the cover model then having articles inside about how to “love your body” and what not…well that’s straight up hypocrisy (and takes away from the credibility of the magazine, in my opinion). And I hate when magazines/celebrities say “look, look, we didn’t photoshop this image!” like we should be proud of them or something. Um, isn’t that the way it SHOULD be?

  • Mama Pea April 1, 2010, 1:07 pm

    I am opposed to photoshopping. Period. I think it gives women, young girls and men a false perception of what women should and do look like. It infuriates me.

    But mostly I just wanted to say congratulations on OB (the book, not the tampons). I know you have put a TON of hard work into this and you have been nothing but gracious and appreciative of the amazing opportunity to have your dream come true. I’m so proud of you!

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:28 pm


  • Sara April 1, 2010, 1:08 pm

    congratulations on your book!
    i hope your meeting goes well = P
    i think photoshopping started with good intentions but has gotten to the point where readers are so delusional about what stars REALLY look like..
    if you ask any random person, there is going to be something on their body that they arent happy with..and why is this??
    because our society has lead to believe what ideal hips and legs and lips and cheeks and stomachs ‘should’ look like…
    If the opposite were true, and we lived in a place that CHERISHED rounder, softer bodies and those beautiful, blu blu veins then would these people want to change themselves?

    im sorry…got a little winded…anyway cant wait to read about how the publishing stuff goes! congrats again!

  • Kristen April 1, 2010, 1:09 pm

    One thing I didn’t realize for a long time was how much photoshopping is done to people’s skin (and not just their faces). That Kardashian picture is a perfect example- look at what they did to her legs! I always felt like a freak for having less than perfect skin…my skin never looked that good (and still doesn’t) and I felt like I was uglier because of it.
    Now that I know, it still pisses me off a little because I still look at the pictures and think “man, I wish my skin looked like that” even though I know it isn’t real…

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:32 pm

      good point… i know i feel the same way about my eyebrows! weird huh? i always see perfect eyebrows in magazines and mine never are that neat or pretty.

  • Nicole April 1, 2010, 1:11 pm

    I don’t really think photoshopping is wrong. I think it’s more important to educate people, especially children/teens, that everything you see in the media is not as it appears. And that goes for movies, television, magazines, radio, etc.

    Photoshopping can get ridiculous, though, like when they removed Demi Moore’s hip. Who did they think they were kidding?

    I really dislike when fitness magazines photoshop. It is counter-intuitive to the purpose of their magazine, and to me, it undermines their product.

    I also really dis-like when plus-size clothing stores use thin models for their catalogues. Not helpful!

  • Hangry Pants April 1, 2010, 1:12 pm

    I do not love photoshopping. Like you and others said, it is okay to retouch for lighting, etc., but making someone look different, whether it’s thinner, more toned, more tan, whatever seems so wrong and so against the message that people should love and accept themselves. It says up unrealistic expectations for everyone. And this doesn’t just happen to women either; most men do not have abs of steel, ya know? I especially think it’s harmful for very young people – like 6 – 16, who don’t know that these pictures are fake. It’s horrible, actually.

  • Hedda April 1, 2010, 1:13 pm

    So many greet and reflected feedbacks already, I agree to a lot of what has been said.

    For me photoshopping is wrong, if it is not just to fix the light, red eyes- stuff we all do! But when the people who are photographed are being photoshopped to look a certain way, it is just yet another reminder that we don’t accept and appreciate this we call “flaws”. It does create a false image of beauty, and as long as the practice of photoshopping continues these constructions are reproduced and keep influence people.

    I have no good solution to the problem, but it would be rather interesting if magazines started to inform the reader about what has been done to the pictures they print. Like a food label where it could stand ” The hips of these models has been slimmed down”. Perhaps that would function as an eye-opener and make people ask : WHY do people find it necessary to photoshop- why not show the person as she or he is?

  • Jen April 1, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Congrats on progress with the book!

    Photoshopping should be illegal. A disclaimer will do no good for those who it truly hurts. Our perceptions of what an “ideal body image” are formed so young. A child could peruse a parent’s magazine and get a sense of what her body should look like. And if that child can’t read or doesn’t understand what a disclaimer or photoshopping is, then it’s a lost cause.

  • Molly @fuelherup April 1, 2010, 1:16 pm

    1) I think a huge amount of photoshopping is bad. I don’t mind covering up a few zits, but taking inches off someone’s waist is ridiculous.
    2) I don’t think warning levels would help – I think most women know. I don’t even know that it should be outlawed, because there’s a spectrum of photo shopping. I think powerful industry people need to take initiative, and women need to start spending discriminately – $ is voting!

  • Matt April 1, 2010, 1:17 pm

    I don’t think photoshopping is “bad” unless it is used to cove up a lie. Do you know what I mean?

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:32 pm

      isn’t a false image of a body a lie?

      • Jessica April 1, 2010, 3:42 pm

        um. yeh.

  • Maria April 1, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Congrats on the book!

  • Courtney April 1, 2010, 1:20 pm

    As a professional graphic designer, I obviously set my own standards and limitations for what I will and won’t do with Photoshop. I never alter human-beings, and even made an eating disorder awareness ad campaign for placement in magazines, doctors offices, etc. To be honest, I’m not sure how much a warning label would help because it’s still instilling the idea of “well we prefer the person to look perfect like this, but fyi we altered her.” Knowing the size of disclaimers, I’d say it would go relatively unnoticed anyway. Just use the real image! Images can be STUNNING of anyone of any size with proper color and lighting adjustments, along with a nice overall composition. In my opinion, the only people that should be allowed to touch any image to be mass produced is a designer with proper design/ethics training. Use Photoshop responsibly!

  • Julia April 1, 2010, 1:20 pm

    What a great topic!

    Here is my take on Photoshopping.

    I am an Artist and Photographer – against Photoshopping. Now, while I do not deny using the program for school projects etc, I do not advocate Photoshop use. Now I understand color correcting etc. but altering the way someone looks and distorting reality is just wrong.

    Like it our not magazines want to sell their products – there is a good chance if we saw a “normal” person on the cover we might not buy it. There is something about seeing someone who is perfect that intrigues us.

    I do not like photoshop but I think it is here to stay, I am not sure warning labels would work.

    Good thoughts and great conversation here!


    • Hedda April 1, 2010, 2:07 pm

      You might be right there, we are actually very much responsible for the use of photoshopping.
      If the consumers stopped buying magazines which featured photoshopped models, then perhaps the industry would change their practice.
      So, basically, it is up to us.

  • Sarah April 1, 2010, 1:22 pm

    Photoshopping on fashion magazines is ok, in my mind. You know, we’re adults, and we can’t blame the media for all our issues with our own body image. Sometimes I feel that we spend too much time blaming the media and not the real issues behind a poor self-image (like self-esteem, etc). I do agree that photoshopping should be banned in magazines targeted towards those 16 or even 18 and under. Kids that age don’t really understand the extent to which pics are photoshopped. Adults do. And you can argue any which way you want, but even if they get rid of photoshopping we’re still not gonna look like those models – they have a team of professionals to make them look good, and excellent lighting. We don’t.

    Fitness magazines, however, are a whole other kettle of fish. When they photoshop it’s immoral. It’s lying. It’s WRONG. The whole point of fitness magazines is to encourage you to get healthy and fit, not buy a pair of jeans. Although, that can be linked for, umm, many people (me), but that’s not the point. They’re supposed to take the high road. They’re supposed to be real – that’s what you read them for, real life advice. People read them for Inspiration and motivation. Photoshopping is an art – it’s inspiring but not motivational, because you *know* it’s unacheivable.

  • Lee April 1, 2010, 1:22 pm

    This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I think photoshopping is an artistic right. How is digitally changing an image any different than a painter enhancing (in his or her opinion) a portrait with paint?

    Yes, some of the photoshopping in magazines is ridiculous and might give young women a false sense of unattainable perfection. But I think when you tell a magazine what they can and cannot do artistically (photoshop is an art form), it borders on censorship.

    That sounds really harsh and obviously I don’t want any women developing eating disorders or low self esteem from these magazines, but I think if you know that the pictures are digitally retouched, you shouldn’t strive for those ideals. So, a warning label would be okay with me, but telling the magazines that they cannot do it would not.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:33 pm

      i agree with you on the censorship aspects. it is a very thin line!

  • megan April 1, 2010, 1:25 pm

    like others i’m not a fan of photoshopping people thinner. but i get why companies do it. like another commenter said, if we don’t like it, we should vote with our wallets.

    I definitely don’t think it should be banned, or that a warning label should be required. it should be up the company to decide how they want to use photoshop, and the consumers can react how they see fit.

  • CJ April 1, 2010, 1:32 pm

    The ban may have been proposed in Britain – but it was by a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament which will never be in power.

    Just think it’s slightly misleading to suggest that we’re moving towards the ban when really it’s a minority, third party that is merely campaigning on it. It’s supported by maybe 5% of MPs

    – CJ

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 1:36 pm

      thanks for the clarification!

  • Andrea of Care to Eat April 1, 2010, 1:34 pm

    I don’t support photoshopping for the purpose of making someone appear thinner, but I do think photoshop has it’s place to fix things like skin tone, flaws in clothing or lighting, etc. Any bride who has ever had professional photos done can not say that photoshop should be illegal. I would have shot my photographer if he gave us portraits that weren’t photoshopped. My husband is a photographer and he photoshops everything whether it’s a landscape, a building, or a portrait of a client. Photoshopping is there to enhance beauty, but I do agree that most magazines cross that line into being utterly deceitful.

  • Katie @ Two Lives, One Lifestyle April 1, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I can’t wait to read all the comments. Back in early high school, I remember my cousins and I looking at a Victoria’s Secret catalogue and wondering why we had that little fold between the armpit and boob area. My uncle, unbeknownst to me, worked in photo editing and starting to tell us how they had to edit each and every model’s picture. We were shocked when he told us every picture he’d edited of women had that bit of fat/skin and it made him so mad that that was always edited out since it was just natural.

    Ever since he told us about how they edited, I was skeptical of pictures but even when you KNOW it’s edited, it’s hard to know WHAT was edited. It would be amazing and refreshing to see a woman with some stretch marks or moles or a spot of cellulite or fat because no matter how in-shape or young we are, we ALL have some imperfections! I’m not sure banning it would ever go over but getting the word out there so that especially young, impressionable girls (and guys) understand that it’s not reality.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:34 pm

      i’m glad your uncle told you the TRUTH!

  • Bree@beeskneeslife April 1, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Congrats again on the book! I can’t imagine seeing my name on Amazon 🙂

    Being an occasional Photoshop user in my profession, I am grateful for the program. I don’t deal with photos of people, so I have never altered a human. I do know how easy it would be to change myself in a photo, so any picture I see in magazines, ads, etc I assume altering has been done. I guess being aware of it makes it less bothersome to me – that and I don’t really buy fashion/gossip/health magazines anymore. A lot of the content is rehashed, and I find a lot of mainstream fitness and nutrition advice to also be rehashed and sorta lame, so like others, I speak with my wallet in that case. I admit I do some color correcting in Photoshop on photos for my blog. I think it’s part of the process, and since I don’t have a really nice camera, I think it just looks better.

    The thing I worry about is younger girls who may not yet realize that the images they see aren’t real. I have a teenage sister and I know she gets all kinds of magazines like Teen Vogue and Seventeen. I have tried to help make her aware that those things aren’t real, but I know at her age I was constantly comparing my “large” thighs to the unrealistic legs/bodies of the models and celebrities.

  • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 1:47 pm

    wow-I didn’t realize your book would be out so soon!

    But, from one Caitin to another, I will definitely buy it 🙂

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 1:48 pm

      Caitlin** haha

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:34 pm

      Caitlin are epicccccccccccc

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle April 1, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Photoshop for fixing lighting, coloring, etc. I am fine with but it has just started going too far lately. The images we see now are almost more perfected caricatures of the models/celebrities. Reality is basically gone.

    Oh and I HATE that fitness/health related magazines use it too to make the models look perfect and not real.

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing April 1, 2010, 1:59 pm

    I don’t mind a little smoothing out here and there, but excessive Photoshopping is NOT cool. We need to see REAL women on magazines.

    I will admit that the photo on the front page of my blog is photoshopped. It was a professional picture and that’s just what they do. My skin does NOT look that good!

  • Kristin April 1, 2010, 2:02 pm

    As a photographer myself, I can understand photographers doing basic editing on the whole image and maybe softening the subject’s skin a little but I am so against the stuff they do like in that photo of Kim Kardashian. That’s what humans look like! Human women have cellulite! They act like people don’t already know that women have cellulite.

  • Jennie {in Wonderland} April 1, 2010, 2:05 pm

    Congratulations on the book!!! I looked for it on B&N and it was so exciting to see it right there on the screen.

    I’m living temporarily in the UK, and they have stricter rules than Canada about advertising and such. I was at the gym today and looked up at one of the TVs to see it was playing a hair commercial. L’Oreal shampoo, I think, with the singer Cheryl Cole, flipping her luscious locks and making everybody jealous, lol. Anyway, I almost missed it, but then I saw at the bottom of the screen, “Cheryl is wearing natural hair extensions”. I thought, WHOA, I would have thought that was her hair! And it just goes to show, it’s all an illusion…

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:34 pm

      WOW! That’s awesome.

      • Janet April 2, 2010, 7:04 am

        Another Brit reader de-lurking: hello!

        Just wanted to say in response to Jennie that the disclaimers on the L’Oreal ads are quite recent, and only came about because they were called out on it in a previous ad! ( Despite the ASA rules about false claims on product advertising, unfortunately there is still just as much Photoshopping in UK magazines to make models and celebs look thinner and prettier.

        Love your blog and congratulations on your book 🙂

        • Caitlin April 2, 2010, 7:29 am

          thank you for telling about about this! i’m going to include it in the presentation.

  • Janelle April 1, 2010, 2:08 pm

    Interesting thought. I think that just *knowing* that photoshopping is happening should really be enough in most instances. Honestly, I think this falls under one of those categories where I question if it is necessary for us to put the time/effort/$$ into legislating against. I certainly understand the harm it can do when someone compares themselves to a “perfect” model, but the program is so useful for editing colors and lighting, etc., and it would be hard line to draw/enforce. Outlawing it completely seems out of the question, but how do you decide how far is too far?

    On another note, congratulation on your book! I’ve loved reading your blog for the past…while? and it has great to watch you go from a job you didn’t LOVE to following your dreams and becoming a published author, all based on a post-it note! How inspirational. I can’t wait for the book!

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:35 pm

      thank you so much for your support! i really REALLY appreciate it.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow April 1, 2010, 2:08 pm

    A second, third, fourth, twentieth the congrats on your book! You have an incredible message to share Caitlin!


    1- the media has created a fantasy image and expectation for men and women today. That is something I have a very hard time with- not only accepting but helping other men and women recognize that the ads simply are not reality.

    2- Though I am older and more knowledgeable, too many people out there aren’t. With that said, I do not think that photoshopping should involve changing a photo to a point where reality no longer can be found.

    3- Is a warning label appropriate? Not sure. Will it work? Not sure. But I do support changing what is released to the public so that real women, real men and real life is produced. Why haven’t we done this already? Because reality is sometimes hard to expect but that doesn’t make it alright to ignore it!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 1, 2010, 2:10 pm

    I think the biggest thing about Photoshop, is that most of us don’t know it’s been done on a regular basis. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with making things/people look better, but I think there should be full disclosure. Do you think magazine publishers would go for a huge logo across the cover: warning-image has been photoshopped!! 😉

  • Courtney April 1, 2010, 2:12 pm

    I think photoshop is a reason for many eating disorders. Girls that don’t know that these people really aren’t flawless try to create that perfect image for their body. I’m not sure if a warning label would do any good. I think photos should be posted, if even just for a month, with the real photo so everyone can breathe a big sigh of relief and realize that no one is perfect and that’s what makes us beautiful.

  • Heather ( April 1, 2010, 2:21 pm

    I think the MAJOR retouching is wrong, especially in a fitness magazine! It makes self confidence low and makes those looks seem unatainable.

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly April 1, 2010, 2:25 pm

    Congrats on the book! As for photoshopping…I think it is wrong because it sets up unrealistic standards for people to try and acheieve. I personally would be much more apt to buy a magazine that I believe pictured the real image. I even think images on supposedly healthy magazines (Runner’s World, Shape, Women’s Health) all photoshop. We are obsessed with beauty and it sells. It is no different that food companies mis-representing labels…(i.e. Made With Whole Grains…okay some cinnamon toast is now healthy?!) We live in a society that refuses to take or accept any kind of personal responsibility and we all just want to “feel good” so why now show beautiful photoshopped women all over the covers of magazines so we can look and admire at how perfect they are?! Yeah…makes me freaking sick.

  • Kate April 1, 2010, 2:29 pm

    Congrats on the book news!
    I live in Nova Scotia in Canada (on the east coast), do you know if it will be carried by chapters or anything?
    I definitely feel that photoshopping is wrong in magazines and it poses unattainable images to both men and women. For example, I know we all love twilight and Jacob, but I recently found out that the lovely shirtless Jacob on the front of the movie isn’t even his body. I mean seriously??! Why not use his real body? It’s just silly. Silly.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:36 pm

      I think it will be! And you can buy online too 🙂 THANK YOU SO MUCH.

      Jacob has a hot bod, why fake it?

  • alli April 1, 2010, 2:29 pm

    it’s so sad that young women and even adult women can often be found comparing themselves to what’s on/in a magazine. of course they are photoshopped! no one looks that good, but it does give girls the wrong impression, making them/us want to aim for perfection when there is no such thing! i always try to look away, because it can lead to negative thoughts about myself.
    i’m not sure what would help. i do like seeing ‘before and after’ photoshop images. i just wish every girl out there could see them!

    i’m going to try that smoothie recipe one of these days! esp. since it’s so hot here in phx! i just need to remember to get cherries at the grocery store…

  • Lauren April 1, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Congratulations on the book! That is so exciting!

    I hate when magazines photoshop someone to look thinner. Photoshop is a useful tool for bad lighting, etc, but other than that, it sucks. I remember looking at magazines as a teen and thinking “Why don’t I look like that?” And the thing is, I never will look like that. And most likely, neither did the model I was referring to. Nobody looks like that. So why is it considered beautiful? Why do we aspire to be something that doesn’t really exist? Nobody is perfect. And at the same time, I think that everybody is perfect- not in the traditional sense of the word, but in that people are perfect when they are being themselves, and not aspiring to be like anyone else. Images in the media are not the only cause of body image issues, but they are contributors. I just don’t agree with the idea of making women’s bodies look so unrealistic when it is harmful to so many.

  • Megan @ Healthy Hoggin' April 1, 2010, 2:39 pm

    Photoshopping celebrities does make me mad! They’re already attractive as it is– we don’t need to make unattainable body types the “norm” on our magazine covers! I know they STILL influence my body image (as much as I try not to let it!) and I think they affect our general population’s expectations, too! Women (as well as photoshopped men) don’t look like that in real life! And it’s easy to forget just HOW much photoshopping goes into those covers!

    I’m not sure a warning label would do much for me– just like on cigarette packages, I’m pretty sure it would go unnoticed after seeing it regularly.

    I would love to support a magazine that bans all photoshopping from their cover and content! Hopefully that will happen someday. 😀

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries April 1, 2010, 2:45 pm

    I can’t believe people are actually talking about photoshopping when we can talk about the fact that you’re listed on those websites AND meeting with a publishing team today! Obviously, this is AMAZING! You’re incredible, girl. Keep it up!!

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:36 pm

      thank you!

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) April 1, 2010, 2:52 pm

    I do find photoshopping a bit annoying, because there’s no “perfect” and photoshopping just sets up unrealistic goals and desires that are so unnecessary to try and achieve.. but that being said I’m really not that upset that magazines do that, esp since most people realize that it is being done.

  • My Life As I Live It April 1, 2010, 2:53 pm

    After watching the recent episode of Kendra and seeing how she really looked for her post pregnancy photo shoot on TV and how they portrayed it in the magazine, it reaffirmed what I already knew. It’s no secret it takes more than 6 weeks to snap back, sends the wrong message when you fake a story like that. Kendra did look great though.

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookie's Crumble April 1, 2010, 2:55 pm

    Photoshopping helps magazines sell their covers! I don’t think you can necessarily classify it as “wrong”, it’s just business and they’re doing what they can to make money. I don’t agree with it, I would rather see what a celebrity “really” looks like, but you can’t prevent a false imaging. I don’t think warning labels would help or be beneficial. I think the best thing to do is just create awareness like you are currently doing!

    But on the same note, I would 100% support a magazine that did not use any photoshopping! I would 100% support a magazine that used real women! I would 100% support a magazine that doesn’t use size 0 models in their “Find the New You when You Lose Weight and reach Your Unrealistic Goal to be Emaciated!” I would support a magazine 100% that when they said this swimsuit/jeans are good for curvy women, actually used curvy women.

    But yet a majority of women have not put down their foot to buying what the magazines are selling them.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:36 pm

      i would totally buy a magazine that stood up and said “we will not photoshop and we will use real women models”

      • Emily April 1, 2010, 7:05 pm

        Caitlin, maybe that can be your next tackle. Operation Beautiful: The Magazine! =] Of course, that would be a HUGGGGGGE job.

        • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 7:08 pm

          my head hurts already. LOL

  • Nora@LiveLifeEatRight April 1, 2010, 2:56 pm

    I absolutely need to try those cherry bombs! My blender just broke 🙁 Right in time for the nice weather…perfect. I think I need to make it a priority to get another one ASAP!

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) April 1, 2010, 3:00 pm

    I saw that Photoshop website before and want as many people to see it as possible — NO ONE is perfect, not even the most gorgeous celeb.

  • Dominique April 1, 2010, 3:00 pm

    First off, I can’t wait until the book comes out. I’ll be counting down the days until it does.

    Secondly, I think that not only do photoshopped images give women a false sense of body images, the sam thing happens to young men. A few years ago I was hanging out with a male friend and we happened to be in a checkout line close to the tabloids. Of course, we both started looking at the celebs and models on the covers and he had no idea that breasts were not naturally so round and melon-like. At first I thought he was totally joking with me but then a deeper conversation made me realize that he wasn’t.

    Photoshopped photos of models and celebs give young men an image of what a woman is supposed to look like but when they end up with one in an intimate situation, they may be disappointed because her body doesn’t mimic that if a model in Maxim or Playboy. It would end up making the young woman feel really inadequate as a result I think. I’m just glad that most guys I know, aside from that one, are well aware of what the media does to sell stuff.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 3:37 pm

      i do agree with you, i think it makes men believe women should look a certain way. also, men are photoshopped a lot, too! but to be more muscular.

  • liane April 1, 2010, 3:03 pm

    Congrats on the release date and pre-order for your book 🙂

    As for photoshopped pictures, I don’t actually pay that much attention to the models and/celebrities in magazines as I always assume they are photoshopped. I know I’m in the minority on this since most consumers aren’t aware of the prevalence of it.
    It annoys me that the photoshopped images are setting unrealistic body images/goals for teens/women etc since we know those images don’t tell the real story.
    Unfortunately, I can’t see photoshopped pictures ever going away 🙁

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople April 1, 2010, 3:15 pm

    I don’t think it is necessarily wrong. But they do it entirely too much! It often makes the model look completely fake. No one’s skin is that smooth!

    Have you ever used unsweetened cocoa powder in your smoothies instead of Nesquick? I tried it yesterday in my green monster (yes! I finally tried it and you’re right, they are amazing, I’ve had one every day this week) and it was pretty tasty. Not as sweet as I’m sure Nesquick is, but I loved that the only ingredient was cocoa!

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 6:04 pm

      i need to try this… will try it next time! which im sure will be… tomorrow.

  • D April 1, 2010, 3:32 pm

    I have no problem with photoshopping! I know that every picture is retouched, so what’s the big deal? It’s like saying that we should complain about romantic comedies and demand that movies show dysfunctional, arguing couples instead because that is what’s “real”. I also think it’s silly to say that magazines are “responsible” for anything. If you choose to buy a magazine, don’t complain about it! No one’s forcing you. And if you really need a magazine to validate how you feel about yourself, the issue is NOT the photoshopping. For every skinny and photoshopped model, there are plenty of women in real life to look at, so there’s no excuse for saying that you feel the need to meet an “unrealistic” standard. NO ONE is setting a standard! We buy into this because we’re all insecure, but I find it frustrating when people blame it on the media. Why would I blame the media for thinking I need to be skinny, when I can look at my mother/sister/friends, etc and see that “real women” all look different? There’s plenty of healthy and real inspiration that doesn’t come from a magazine. And why would it be more helpful to see a “real” woman with cellulite and bad skin in a magazine? That implies that seeing imperfections in someone else will make us feel better about ourselves, and that is NOT self-confidence.

  • Catherine April 1, 2010, 3:37 pm

    I agree with a bunch of the above commentors – I don’t think photoshopping is necessarily wrong in many circumstances, but I do think that companies should really think long and hard about the consequences of photoshopping when it comes to altering body types. Enhancing pictures of inanimate objects, fixing lighting,etc. are fine and I can understand getting rid of blemishes on models because that is something they may be self-conscious about (Who has never photo-shopped a photo of themselves before saving or adding to facebook, etc?). However, altering the actual bodies of models, actresses, athletes seems a bit fraudulent to me. Do they really think that someone is not going to buy a magazine if the model’s arms are perfectly tones or if her thighs seems a little larger than normal? It’s simply ridiculous.

    That being said, I think this is a bigger issue for health and fitness magazines. Nobody reads Vogue or Gotham because of the great health tips, or positive uplifting stories of overcoming injury or illness. They read it for material reasons and so such magazines shouldn’t be expected to uphold the same level of morality when deciding to doctor a photo or not as, say Runner’s World. I’m not putting down such mags either because I read both – just my opinion. When it comes down to it though these are corporate decisions, not spiteful ones hoping to disillusion women across the country. I just think that health-focused companies should care more about the side effects such decisions could cause.

    • Kim April 1, 2010, 3:40 pm

      Agree with this 100%!

  • Kalli@fitandfortysomething April 1, 2010, 3:39 pm

    congrats on your book! should you feel so proud 🙂 waht an accomplishment!
    i think photoshopping is just the way it is….everyone should know they change the models and celebs in magazines-it is par for the course unfortunately.

  • Di April 1, 2010, 3:40 pm

    I agree with most the above comments, Photoshop to the extent of changing appearance is wrong. It’s the reason young girls have unrealistic self images and the reason for boys being attracted to an unacheivable ideal.
    I think we are all agreed 100% that it should NOT be happening in health/fitness magazines!!! no way!

    If anyone is in doubt as to the power of photoshop watch this youtube video
    what you see in the mags is NOT real life!

  • Kalli@fitandfortysomething April 1, 2010, 3:40 pm

    just went back and checked out your book on amazon-oh i love it!

  • Ashley @ Good Taste. Healthy Me April 1, 2010, 3:44 pm

    I do not care for photo-shopping. There are already so many women with body image issues. It’s tough enough out there without trying to be perfect (doesn’t exist). But obviously if someone has a huge zit they should remove that…but not make someone smaller etc.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) April 1, 2010, 3:47 pm

    this is a hard question because i believe that photoshop can and should be used to increase the quality of photographs. there’s nothing wrong with that. however, it crosses the line when it turns a photo into something completely and totally different, ESPECIALLY when it’s known to cause so many image problems for so many people. it’s one thing to increase the color quality and quite another to shave 6 inches off of an already gorgeous woman’s body…

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 1, 2010, 4:03 pm

    Ahhh congrats about the book!!! I am pre-ordering, for sure! So so cool!!!
    Photoshopping someone thin is so wrong. I know this has already been discussed to death but I hate it. ESPECIALLY a fitness magazine. Talk about unrealistic expectations…

  • Sarah April 1, 2010, 4:14 pm

    hi caitlin! yay for all the book stuff going on! i think photoshopping to some degree is going to happen/necessary. i’m talking about fixing lighting and little things like messed up hair or clothing…stuff like that. i really don’t understand when a picture is completely altered! i would be offened as the person being photographed! i mean no one is perfect so why do we have to put out this image that celebrities are? it doesn’t make sense to me. well i understand why it happens i just don’t think it needs to at all. i mean if they truely do look amazing then good for them! if they have some extra fat then leave it in the picture or put on a flattering outfit!

  • Serena April 1, 2010, 4:15 pm

    I think extreme photoshopping is wrong because it gives people the wrong image and makes them aspire to be something inhuman/ impossible.

  • Amanda April 1, 2010, 4:23 pm

    As much as people know that images are photoshopped, something about seeing the side by side comparison on that website REALLY makes a difference for someone who has dealt with disordered eating. As much as people don’t want to admit it, we hold ourselves (and others) to an impossible standard. Just today I was on the Victorias Secret website shopping for bathing suits and had to repeat to myself that even though I don’t look like them I’ll still look great in my suit 🙂 … (although I think their bods are just naturally awesome anyways)

  • Kellie April 1, 2010, 4:27 pm

    I love the idea of a disclaimer. They should say that models do not appear the same in real life as they do in our magazine.

  • Stephanie April 1, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Well first off I believe in smaller government and less laws and regulations, so I think passing a bill regarding photoshops is just plain ridiculous. Is it sad that we live in a society where “perfection” reigns supreme? yes aboslutely. Is it sad that businesses feel they have to alter the look of a real woman (or man) into something un-real to sell a product. of course. But that’s the society we live in. Yes it can be harmful to those who don’t realize it’s not real. But perhaps that should fall back onto the parents to teach their young girls the truth. We can’t fault the business for that.

    As far as photoshopping being done on fitness magazines, again, it’s a business and really those kinds of things should be taken with a grain of salt. Or society is incredibly obssessed with looks and dieting and even fitness magazines are selling an ideal. As people we have choices to make and those choices can naturally shape these kinds of business and what sells and what doesnt. Right now our dollars are saying photoshopped photos are alright with us. It’s multimillion dollar business!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write April 1, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Oooh. I love these questions.

    I believe these people have the RIGHT to photoshop these images, but I wish that they wouldn’t. I think it should absolutely be required by law to get permission from someone before photoshopping their image, and IF you do, there should be a disclaimer on the image.

    I think photoshopping in and of itself is an art. There are people who legitimately do very cool things using photoshop and I would hate to see that suffer because there are jerks out there trying to mess with our minds by creating the “perfect” woman.

    I believe that it’s more important to put out positive, incredible examples of body-positive women than to stomp on the “bad examples.” I’ve always believed that people have far more power to create positive change than any law or regulation.


  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances April 1, 2010, 4:45 pm

    This topic really interests me, especially since I’m a journalism major and used to think I really wanted to work for a magazine like Self – which is a publication that DEFINITELY photoshops like whoa, remember the Kelly Clarkson incident?! I’ve recently realized that looking at magazines like that just ends up making me feel inadequate in a lot of ways, even if I try to remind myself that the models/actresses/whoever do not truly look so perfect in real life.

    I just think there’s waaaay too much emphasis on being “skinny” or a certain and size and photoshopped images do nothing but perpetuate the problem. So, while some sort of warning labels might help, I’m not sure they will do as much good as people may hope. And I highly doubt actreses and models would be on board with that… But change has to start somewhere, I suppose.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 4:48 pm

      the Kelly Clarkson incident was so ridiculous because the article she was referenced in talked about BODY CONFIDENCE! Oh boy, mixed message!

      • Jessica @ Jessica Balances April 1, 2010, 4:53 pm

        I loved that Kelly spoke up and said that she was photoshopped – which got the magazine in some hot water! That girl has guts.

  • Nicole, RD April 1, 2010, 4:52 pm

    I’m not sure how I feel about photo shopping, I guess. I think amazing pictures are amazing pictures regardless, though. I’m just not savvy enough yet!

    I just wanted to say congrats on being all over Amazon, etc. That’s so wonderful! I want to be there someday, too!

  • Katharine April 1, 2010, 5:08 pm

    Great post! It saddens me that girls look at these edited images and think that they’re REAL. Then starve themselves or exercise to death in order to become them. It is unobtainable, and I’m so glad you’re spreading that message. Go Operation Beautiful!

  • April 1, 2010, 5:26 pm

    as a photographer, i think it definitely depends on the situation. i think photoshop can be a great tool to have fun- and of course who are we to tell others what is considered “art” however…especially when it comes to minors- i do think that there is a limit to what we portray to young girls who are looking to magazines for advice and direction. just what i think! 🙂

  • Franziska ( April 1, 2010, 5:29 pm

    Love your post and the website link to the photo re-touching really interesting and sad. In a nutshell I do think all this photoshopping does create a completely non-realistic idea of what bodies look like. For instance I am very in shape but have a butt and thighs like Kim Kardashian so when I see her cellulite it makes me feel more “normal” and these women in hollywood are not just a small selection of women that have freakish bodies. also, loved the picture of Jennifer Alba – another “body” I look up to and the photo they retouched made no sense. When you see the comparison its almost like they are tyring to make her look like a robot. And Barbie – supposidly her measuremnts would not be physically possible on a human frame. Do I think there should be warning labels? That all gets very complicted. I do not think you could ever tell a magazine to not photoshop – I do not think it is artistic expression but there is a fine line when you do go into the area of putting regulations on media and art. I do think it should be published that the picture was photoshopped so the reader knows – I think that is a right of the reader. For instance if I bought a picture of a landscape I want to know how it is enhanced (and there is debate about this in the photography world). I also thinks there does need to be some regulation in the modeling world – such as certain BMI regulations and we as consumers need to demand that fashion be representative of healthy women. I read Self magazine – it is one of my favorties- and if you are tyring convince me to live a healthy life, eat well and exercise then they photohshop the cover model – what message is that?

  • Kate April 1, 2010, 6:19 pm

    Congrats on your book! Cant wait for it to come out! I guess Im kind of torn when it comes to photoshopping. For me the main issue is that it distorts our views of what is ‘normal’, ‘natural’, and in many ways ‘beautiful’. I think a warning label would be a great step in hopefully the right direction!

  • Hillary April 1, 2010, 6:21 pm

    i think photoshopping stinks but now that so many people have exposed it i just look at a picture and automatically think oh that celeb/model looks good but it’s photoshopped.

    also, you’re on amazon too,

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 6:26 pm

      i’m glad you think that automatically when you look at images! i wish more people would.

      thanks for the link!

  • Jill Will Run April 1, 2010, 6:45 pm

    I’ve spoken with my dollars in terms of magazines… I cancelled my subscriptions to Self, Shape and Women’s Health because I felt they fed my ED. But I do agree with the numerous comments above that Photoshop has a place. Removing a stray hair (or heaven-forbid a zit!) is fine. It’s when it crosses the line to reshaping a person’s figure completely when it is wrong.

    I think putting warnings on ads would be kind of excessive, but maybe necessary for a change. I think people need to speak loudly to advertisers and publishers, through blogs, letters and/or shopping habits, to get real change and for people’s real bodies to be displayed.

  • chandra hall April 1, 2010, 6:54 pm

    my first thoughts (haven’t even read through the other comments yet, but this was my initial reaction, and I’m going to be way in the minority here –

    sorry, I think magazines have an artistic lisence to photoshop. I read magazines as an escape and want to admire fantastic beauty in them. I don’t want to see the girl next door or myself with no makeup, I can see that every day. I WANT to see unachievable perfection, because it looks good on the page. it’s creative and inspiring.

    as for it affecting womens’ self-esteem/making them try to live up to this unachievable “digitized” standard – I know it’s ridiculous to compare how I look every second or what my life is like to how magazines portray people and stuff. there’s real life, and then there’s magazines. I like to keep that line there. I don’t want magazines to COMPROMISE for real life!

    i’m sorry if this offends anyone 🙂 this is also coming from someone who loves graphic design and photography in general, hehe, so I’m definitely looking at it largely from an “artistic lisence” standpoint. which pretty much sums up how i look at life LOL

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 7:00 pm

      many people agreed with you!

    • Lee April 1, 2010, 9:17 pm

      I agree with you. I commented earlier about it. I am also a graphic designer and wonder if our artistic careers have something to do with viewing photoshop and photoshopped images as art over anything else. I have worked for magazines and view their covers and how they are designed as art. Every aspect of it.

      • chandra hall April 1, 2010, 11:37 pm

        I just read your original comment Lee and yes, that’s exactly my point! to me digital editing/photoshopping pictures is the same as an artist painting a picture. I also view every aspect of magazine design as art. 🙂

        i wish Andy Warhol was alive so he could make some awesome comment about this issue!!

  • Niki (Running in Pink) April 1, 2010, 6:56 pm

    I have to admit, I’m kinda freaking out a little bit after seeing your book listed on Amazon (with the cover pic!)! So exciting for you! I can’t wait to read it. 🙂

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 6:59 pm

      thank you so much for your support!

  • Macey April 1, 2010, 7:13 pm

    Hmm…. this is a tough one! As a photographer, my aim is to “enhance” the beauty that I see in everyone. That said, I NEVER create a plastic looking barbie doll, or falsify how someone truly looks. I often lessen the look of wrinkles on faces, take away blemishes in skin, and enhance white teeth and eyes. My clients often have no idea that they’ve been photoshopped, because it still looks like them. This is very important. I NEVER want my images to look photoshopped, but I would never show the client the original image. I think that if you were to look at the original image, the client would not think poorly of themselves, but the photo would not looked “polished” or professional, and look like just another snapshot. But in comparing the “polished” image to the original, blemishes stand out like a sore thumb! (just as in the case of Kim Kardashian’s photos – she’s brave to have had that published!)
    However, I DO feel that artists and advertisers have a responsibility to keep expectations of the public realistic. There is far too much power held by advertisers and photographers, and they do not always make the right decision. It’s too easy to try and make your art look the best and forget that people are looking for images to emulate.

  • Rachel S April 1, 2010, 8:31 pm

    I think photoshopping to make someone look thinner than they actually are is wrong and completely unnecessary. I personally don’t want to look at a photo of somebody, getting the idea that it is an actual representation of who they are, because it’s not. Give me the real deal! On the other hand, I don’t mind if a person’s skin flaws/blemishes have been photoshopped.

  • emily April 1, 2010, 8:41 pm

    I think it’s funny that people are ok with blemish retouching but not body retouching (we can all agree that glare, shadow, etc falls into a different category). What about people who feel bad that their skin doesn’t look as good? People are insecure about all sorts of physical things that have nothing to do with body size.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 8:42 pm

      i agree – i am not ok with skin retouching.

  • Julie April 1, 2010, 10:06 pm

    Interesting debate! I know there are people who work for magazines that say people don’t want to see (or buy) “normal” or imperfect models on the cover….but I kind of disagree. I mean, remember the Dove ads that came out during the superbowl? The ones of “real” women, curves and all (even though I’m SURE those images were photoshopped too). People talked about these commercials and ads. I think people would buy an un-photoshopped magazine. Women (and men) would be able to relate more to the people on the pages. Societal trends are so overpowering and truly affect one’s expectations. And media drive these social trends. Emaciated women on magazine covers weren’t always the social norm…and eating disorders weren’t always so prevalent.

    On another note, congrats on your book!!! So exciting! 🙂

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 10:20 pm

      thank you darling!

      and yes, the dove ads are still photoshopped! insanity!

  • Heather April 1, 2010, 10:29 pm

    While I think it’s awesome that so many of the readers and commentors who say that photoshop isn’t wrong because “they know better” (i.e. know that the media promotes unrealistic standards, a lack of racial & body diversity, and that nobody ever looks THAT perfect), it’s also important to recognize that for every woman who “knows better” there are tons of who allow those ads to eat them up inside. Why do we need stereotypically beautiful women to sell cars or dresses or purses or a freaking toothbrush or body wash? Why do we need to send the message that “if you want to own this and look this hot, you must strive to look like Kim Kardashian (when we make her look as if she’s 20lbs thinner than she is)? Why is Kim’s natural body shape, which is curvy and beautiful, something to be ashamed of? You would think that in 2010 we’d be at a place where ALL sizes, and not just the “curvy” models in Glamour (which are a size 12 at the largest) are celebrating diversity when they are pushed to the back of the page. And I’m not even talking about body size, really: all the models have perfect, straight, white teeth, tan skin, no wrinkles or skin imperfections, etc. It’s so unsettling, and makes me want to stop purchasing magazines at all so I don’t have to look at them.

    • Caitlin April 1, 2010, 10:29 pm

      such a good comment

      • Heather April 1, 2010, 10:48 pm

        Sorry to get riled up about it, but I’m super passionate about it. Our society has impossible beauty standards and I think it’s important for all people to constantly question WHY they admire these beautiful photos, what they think these photos imply, and why we seem to all celebrate diversity, confidence, having great self-esteem, etc. yet admire and envy these women who are digitally altered. It also makes me upset that more celebrities don’t speak up about being photoshopped. While I totally loved that Kelly Clarkson did say that her photo was altered and I ASSUME her overall message was “eh, I’m comfortable with who I am and the way I look, so I could care less what they did” I secretly wish she would’ve said “ugh, I’m angry!” or something.

        And I’ll get off my soapbox now 🙂

        p.s. I’ve been putting coconut in my chocolate cherry banana smoothies, and it is SO GOOD. I didn’t think coconut+cherry would go well together, but they’re AMAZING. or rather… EPIC!

  • Jolene ( April 1, 2010, 11:30 pm

    I think it is totally wrong, and it looks ridiculous too. I would rather see real people looking like their real selves.

    I am SO excited for your book, I can hardly contain it!!!!!

  • Morgan April 1, 2010, 11:38 pm

    I don’t understand why people’s imperfections are so wrong? So what if someone has a little cellulite or some rolls. Not everyone is built the same. I think if magazines stopped photoshopping EACH picture, then we’d stop judging ourselves and others so harshly. Oh and I do not believe that a disclaimer will deter any eating disorders or views on our society. Has it really worked for cigarettes? I don’t think so. I don’t know anyone who has read the label and gone “OHMYGOSH, I didn’t know these could cause cancer!”

    August 3rd is right around the corner! Congrats!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 1, 2010, 11:53 pm

    hmm very interesting topic. I think I have a very different opinion on this because my boyfriend is an artist and I’m a makeup artist. I have never looked at an ad, picture in a magazine, even movies, as “real”. Probably because I know SO MUCH about the behind the scenes tweaking of all of that. Really to me, it’s all pieces of art. Maybe if the general public knew more about how often it’s done, how it’s done, etc then it wouldn’t be so bothersome. When I ride the subway, when I walk down the street, I don’t see anyone that looks like a magazine cover so I really don’t think that I could look like that. The only time in my life that I have been truly happy with how my body looked was when I started truly being healthy. And that has more to do with how my body feels.

  • Susan April 2, 2010, 7:28 am

    I just assume everyone’s skin is photo-shopped. Especially in magazines, jut because everything looks so unreal. I don’t mind the skin thing so much, but I reeeeally wish they’d stop photo-shopping women to look smaller. Like that Faith Hill picture on that website. She has a normal arm in the original picture, and they edited it to make it look SO small and bony! Whyyy? I don’t get it. I wish there was some way to limit how much you can edit a published photo, or that more famous people would take a stance against it.

  • Heather April 2, 2010, 8:16 am

    Two stories totally jump in my mind with this; Kelly Clarkson and Victoria Bekham. I remember all of the heat Kelly got for gaining weight and being angery with SELF for editing her. Victoria Bekham, didn’t hear about that one? I think it was almost two years ago she was on the cover of in an orange dress and they missed a chunk of her when trimming her down. It was so obvious and on EVERY cover.

    Personally I do understand why people do photoshopping, but I think it has gotten a little extreme. I am all over getting rid of blotches and red marks but when it comes to litterally trimming people’s sides I have got to draw the line.

    Sorry so long! There is an article with the SELF editor in chief about the Clarkson
    You have probably already seen this, cheers!

    • Caitlin April 2, 2010, 8:24 am

      thanks for passing that along!!!

  • Ildie April 2, 2010, 10:44 am

    Photoshopping to make someone appear to be flawless and thin is not art, it’s deception. If you want to make a bowl of fruit appear more vibrant and delicious then go for it. The only thing that would cause is an appetite for tasty fruit, not a desire to hurl into a toilet! Well, I’m just saying. There should be some rules and guidelines to follow! Kids and young adults are impressionable. Magazines should take some initiative to be honest! Women are gorgeous in all shapes and sizes. Our differences are what make us unique and beautiful. If kids don’t learn that from the beginning, they will never grow up truly happy in their own skin… Life is too short. I refuse to spend it wishing that I looked like someone else. Some “fake” someone else at that!

    Love your blog!

  • Gena April 2, 2010, 11:27 am

    Definitely not a fan of photoshopping. I realize that I’m not a magazine editor, but it does strike me as the source of so many womens’ unrealistic notions of what a human body should look like.

  • Emily April 3, 2010, 5:14 am

    Hey Caitlin! Congratulations on your book being listed. So happy to see it’s also on our local amazon too.
    With regard to Photoshop ~ my boyfriend and I have talked about this a lot. My conclusion is that if something is for art’s sake, then it’s fine but if it’s meant to portray reality, then it clearly isn’t. So, I guess some fashion magazines might walk a fine line here, as some of their editorials are for art’s sake. Where I think it is not ok, is in fitness magazines, for example.

  • Nikka April 6, 2010, 8:27 pm

    I know this comment is a few days late but I saw this article today and I wanted to come back and share it…
    She may not look like every girl I see walking down the street but at least she’s ‘real’!

    • Caitlin April 6, 2010, 8:40 pm

      i love this!

  • Trish October 2, 2011, 3:03 pm

    I dated a man for 7 weeks. He took a photo of us together, nothing revealing, prom style, when we were dressed up. He had a photo shop package and enlarged my breasts cosiderably and showed it to me. I was in shock! Prior to us going out, I explained that I had recently had a double mastectomy and reconstruction and that I had a difficult time deciding to date again and he said it did not bother him. When I expressed my hurt feelings, he offered a vague apology and sarcastically said he might need to ask his guy friend how he felt about his bicepts that he had photshopped as well. I do not think I would have been pleased, even without the trauma of the surgery. Am I being too sensitive?

    • Caitlin October 2, 2011, 6:03 pm

      I do not think you are being too sensitive and, to me, this is a huge red flag. Even if you think your partner is being too sensitive, you should care that they are upset because they are upset! I think you should ditch him and count your blessings that you figured out he sucked in only 7 weeks. You can do better!!!

      Check out, too!

  • Jason November 12, 2014, 4:57 pm

    I am an editorial photographer and recently did a shoot about a drink that a bar serves. The bartender had on a shirt in the background that said “sucks”. I made the mistake of taking the word “sucks” out. I thought, hey it’s an article about a bar and the drink, not a tee shirt. I am still being ridiculed over this move. It’s such a grey area and the bartender himself didn’t care and only asked why I didn’t make him skinnier. I have been and am still being chastised in the local publishing community. Worst fail I’ve made as a photographer and I won’t do it again. I still think it made a better photo but it wasn’t worth the backlash.

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