The Philosophy and Ethics of Retouching with Mercedes Castaneda of Fabletics Men

The E-commerce Content Creation Podcast

Mar 29 2022 • 31 mins


How much photoshop is too much? At one point does image retouching become dishonest or unethical? These questions in similar form have been around, since even well before digital took over photography. In todays world it can be hard to have a conversation on this topic that includes the kind of nuance required to really understand where the line is. Mercedes Castaneda joins Daniel for this episode and they do their best to deliver nuance and thoughtfulness in a roughly 30 minute episode.

Key Takeaways

  • There has been a persistent and passionate conversation about retouching in media and what it does to our senses. While it's hard to have a nuanced conversation about it sometimes, the answer isn't always the same, context is important.
  • Mercedes' rule of thumb is "Is this thing temporary?" A temporary skin blemish, and out of place hair, these are temporary and become distractions in a still image.
  • Consent plays a roll in how much change occurs in post, and what types of changes occur. When talking about celebrities, they may have a lot of control over the retouching and in some cases push for some extensive changes.
  • Even if you want to present a natural beauty in your photography, there are many reasons why an image still needs to be retouched. There are technical limitations to what a camera can see or what it shows us, that needs to be corrected in post because of how can impact perception.
  • Production constraints can also lead to an image requiring more post. A studio shooting a whole bunch of eye shadow colors, but only book 2 models and not every color may work. In this case you may want to adjust skin tones or eye colors to coordinate better with the product.
  • One good rule of thumb may be "can you explain why you changed this?" If you can answer it, you're probably in the clear.
  • Working with intention most likely means you will avoid being guilty of over-manipulation.


Mercedes Castaneda on LinkedIn

Henry Stewart Photo Studio Ops New York

FLOW New York - Pixelz

Produced by: Creative Force -
Edited by: Calvin Lanz Sound -
Hosted by: Daniel Jester -