Don’t Believe Everything You See on Internet


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I’m sure your mother told you,”Don’t believe everything you see on TV!”, the same should be said for Internet. Today, with the growing surge of social media and remote working, the old adage “put your best foot forward” has been replaced by “put your best face forward“. Before meeting a new lawyer, dentist or babysitter, before interviewing a candidate for job, or meeting our kids’ new teacher – we Google them. The urge is irresistable. We have instant accessibility at our fingertips. Type in the name of the person you are looking for and chances are you will find him or her.

Can we believe what we see?

Thankfully, for the most part, yes. Most people post real pictures of themselves on their social media profiles.

Certainly not everybody uses apps to enhance their appearance but in some cases it may help with first impressions. A dentist might “brighten” his teeth, a babysitter can “erase” the tattoo on her neck, a blogger can “slim” her hips so she looks better lounging by the pool.

There are some cases when an alter-ego, for example, a writer’s pen name, needs a profile picture. If you were to see my alter-ego on his own, you would probably never question if he were a real person. In fact, he looks a lot like my real brother!

Photo enhancement apps can change skin tone, age and even gender.

However, a recent New York Times article about the use of artificial intelligence to create “fake people” explains that there are websites where fake profile pictures can be bought or even downloaded for free. Originally intended to be used as characters in video games, or for virtual imagery, these fake people, are also being used as masks by real people with disreputable intentions.

Not everybody is out to scam you!

For the regular Joe or Jane, using an app or filter to enhance their appearance is done more out of vanity than with the intentional aim of fooling you.

Photo apps and filters are so common, they are now built into our phone cameras. With a click and a swipe, a bland selfie becomes a fanciful portrait.

Whether you’re a pro blogging about beauty, food or travel, or just want a better LinkedIn profile, chances are you have used filters and apps to make your pictures look better.

Is it bad to use photo enhancement apps?

In my everyday life, I use makeup to make myself look better so, why shouldn’t I use the digital equivalent?

I admit it, I use filters to make myself look better in pictures.
I’m somewhat self-conscious of premature age spots which are predominantly evident on the side of my cheek. In real life I do what I can to conceal them and in photos I try to hide them too. It sure beats doing an expensive laser treatment or chemical facial peel!

Before – After

More often than not, my pictures are “tourist shots”, “selfies”, or done with a self-timer without the help of a professional photographer and makeup crew. So yes, I tweak them to make myself presentable.

The example above is a “selfie” done on my trip to Cilento in Campania, Italy. See the sunspots in the first one?

I certainly agree that too much enhancement can look overwhelmingly fake and just unnatural. My best advice is to use filters with moderation.

Pro Bloggers

I learned my tricks from Eva Lako, beauty and lifestyle blogger of @TheMermaidFashion. She explains, “There is nothing wrong with using a beauty enhancement app, you have to feel good about what you post online. Use a photo app only if it will make the picture better. For example in this picture I erased some distracting wall graffiti.”

#RealBeauty

Social media trends like #nomakeup , #realbeauty, #messyhair or #aunatural come and go, but some bloggers are turning off the filters and going #realbody.

Plus-size supermodel, Ashley Graham published photos on Instagram promoting her debut swimsuit collection. The photos are unedited and untouched with natural lighting showing off her beauty, curves and some natural imperfections such as cellulite. A bold move for the influencer with 6.7 million Instagram followers. Notice, however, her hair and makeup are flawless!

In an interview on BBC, Graham says “The photos are a reminder that being authentic is beautiful.”

In a press statement and message to her fans, she wrote “I’m not ashamed of a few lumps, bumps or cellulite and you shouldn’t be either.” The photos got great feedback from her fans thanking her for showing off a “real body.”

Hats off to Ashley Graham and beauty models like her sporting their beautiful, natural looks!

Travel Photos

A filter can set a mood and make the colors pop for travel pictures. There are also times when you just don’t want that crane in the background, so you use a program to remove it. Too much trickery can also create a false impression. Again, use photo enhancement apps with moderation.

Slide the arrow to see before and after.

Its all about finding the right balance of angle, color, and light to show off the perfect shot.

When searching Booking.com, 80% of my decision choosing a hotel is made from the photos. In all of my hotel reviews, I include a section “Does it look like the photos on internet?” It would be very disappointing to book a beautiful hotel suite only to find mildew or peeling paint on the walls!

Professional, architectural photographer Beppe Raso explains, “Getting the right photo is a process that requires both technical expertise and patience. I have sometimes waited hours in sub-zero temperatures for the perfect lighting but then had to do some post-production editing to touch up elements like an odd reflection in a window. Post production is an important process of professional photography today, but a good photographer doesn’t need excessive editing.” @bepperasophotographer

Have Fun With It

Sometimes you can create an awesome shot from a “nothing” image with photo enhancement apps. This was a photo from Carnival. I was wearing a blue wig, fake eyelashes and a fluffy scarf. With a few tweaks, “Bla” turned to “Bling” in just seconds.

Before – After

It takes some time to learn how to use photo enhancement apps. You will find that each app has features the others don’t. You may need to use more than one app to get the desired effect, but it is good fun learning.

Mobile apps: Google Photos, Snapseed, FaceApp and YouCamPerfect
Desktop apps: Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, Adobe Lightroom, Skylum Luminar

Do you take awesome photos?

Sell your photos online on Picfair.com. Picfair is a marketplace which helps independent photographers sell their work. The photographer uploads and sets the price. Users can download or order decorative prints.

Aber.Nethy photos are published on Picfair: picfair.com/users/Abernethy
Photos are good for use in editorials, on travel blogs, social media, for travel brochures and catalogs or to print to hang on your wall.
Living in Italy, the majority of my images are locations in Italy and from my travels in Europe.

Need photos for your travel brochure? Search the Picfair.com marketplace.

Ciao! I’m Celia. Originally from NY, I’m now living la dolce vita Lake Como Style and on a mission to live it to the fullest! I hope to inspire you to explore Milan & Lake Como, the culture, cuisine and creativity. Would you like to book a video call with me? I'd be happy to share my insider tips about Milan & Lake Como with you.

Celia Abernethy

Celia is the founder and managing editor at MilanoStyle.com. Originally from New York, she now spends her time between Milan and Lake Como sharing her discoveries and experiences living in Italy. Follow @CeliaAbernethy on Twitter