Viral TikTok video shows the insane power of photo editing

Photo editing
(Image credit: Nojan Namdar on Unsplash)

We all know that Photoshop and other photo editing programs can be incredibly powerful. However, it's easy to forget just how transformative they can be. Unless you're a portrait photographer or a high-end photo retoucher, you might not even be aware of how much photo editing goes into the beauty and fashion advertisements we see everyday. 

Alternatively, if you've never even used Photoshop before (like many of the consumers of these beauty and fashion products), then you might not realize that there's been any photo editing at all!

• Read more: Best TikTok lights

However, a recent TikTok video has uncovered just how powerful photo editing can be. TikTok creator Gisele Ayora regularly shares beauty tips and reviews on her page, but her recent video showing images before and after retouching has racked up 4.3 million views in two days. 


Brands should be obligated to say a photo has be retouched. Do you agree? Artist- Maksim Tomakh ##photoshop

♬ оригинальный звук - Anna Bruni

This video displays images from Maksim Tomakh, a high-end beauty and fashion retoucher who regularly shares before and after images on his Instagram. Photo editing of this standard can take hours of work, involving complicated techniques. This painstaking work is why the skin can appear to look natural and retain its pores, as opposed to filters or less sophisticated editing techniques that will blur and smooth the skin indiscriminately.

Gisele states in the caption of her video, "Brands should be obligated to say a photo has be [sic] retouched. Do you agree?". While we're yet to see this fully put into practice, there are some countries that have made steps in this direction. France passed a law in 2017 decreeing that any brand who had digitally altered an image to make the model appear slimmer should carry a "Photographie retouchée" warning, which translates to "edited photograph". 

Meanwhile, Norway recently passed a law stating that social media influencers can't post modified photos as part of a paid post without declaring what exactly they've edited.

While intensive photo editing might be here to stay, the 406,000 likes that Gisele received on her video seems to indicate that consumers appreciate being educated on just how powerful photo editing can be. 

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Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine and  Digital Photographer. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.