sprucing up the baby (photos)

Yesterday, Baby M and I had a playdate at the in-house photo studio. While that may seem like a glamourous playset, it’s really just a white IKEA bedsheet draped over the West Elm console table in our living room. But I’m pretty sure, that if you asked Baby M, she was definitely on trial for becoming America’s Next Top Baby Model. Except that photographer (aka. mom/me) was awfully demanding of her cuteness while the afternoon light was fading!

Luckily we got in all of the photos we needed (and all the naps as well!), and I was able to edit them last night with ease in Lightroom. But before the shoot, Baby M had done a number on herself with her fingernail, scratching her cheek from end to end in the middle of the night. And her cradle cap had loosened a bit more get a little chunky in the middle of her hair line. Oh, and you can definitely tell which photos were taken RIGHT before nap, or right after I stopped her from crawling into the kitchen to play with the dog.

But did I edit those out with Photoshop? Not one bit!  Baby M isn’t a perfume model, she’s a baby! Now did I pick out the photos that captured her the best? Why I certainly did! And I think that’s the difference… choosing your highlights is a different process than modifying yourself digitally. You can find a photo that looks awesome without creating a reality that doesn’t exist. It plays well in the magazines, but I think that I’d like to remember what my family looked like as I saw them, and not as digitally cleaned up.

[EDIT: Here’s the original NYT article that started the conversation on Saturday: No boo-boos or cowlicks? Only in school photos (thanks Maya for the reminder… I forgot to put that in!)]

Today there’s a little bit of a debate going on about kids and photoshopping their photos between Mom-101 and Gwen Bell (see the comments). I wonder where you fall in the discussion? Does photoshop help us put our best foot forward or does it take things a bit too far? And does it differ between adults editing themselves and adults editing kids? What do you think?


  • Amber

    Sometimes I’m so tempted to slightly photoshop out Piper’s pink nose or the spot under her nose above her lip, but I don’t. :) It’s what makes her our baby, and should anything ever happen to her (say, she gets lost at the LA County fair as a child like I did), at least I can say she has distinguishing marks!

    L is SO DARN CUTE!!

  • HamiHarri

    It’s all about natural light! Who needs photoshop/lightroom or whatever when you have some lovely natural light?

    I have photoshop – no idea how to use it though… so my photos are SOOTC :) But, I have to say, when we’re paying someone for professional photos, especially group family photos, I do love some photoshopping!

  • Tamara

    Interesting topic, and one I wasn’t really aware of as I am not a parent right now.

    Mostly wanted to say, Baby M looks super precious, and the photos themselves are lovely. You’re so talented, Kim!

    Hope y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Carolyn C.

    Uuuuuuumm… More photos please!!! She is suuuuuper cute as always, Kim!

    Oh and I don’t have a kid but I don’t think of photoshopping myself, so why would i do it to my kid, I guess?

  • Julie S.

    She is SO cute! :)

    I don’t retouch photos that I take of Brayden, or any child for that matter. I think that doing it too much takes away character from the child and makes them (especially girls) look too pageant-y.

  • virginia

    I edit for lighting etc. but I don’t think I’d ever retouch my baby, herself! But to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever felt a need to. Now photos of ME, on the other hand…. ;)

  • ep

    Super cute picture.

    And il don’t think Photoshop could improve the lameness the camera I am using, normally own it. That being said, when we have professional pics taken, I am fine with whatever editing they do. As long as it still looks like me and the kids, go for it

  • Creature Gorgeous

    First, Baby M is adorable! She is growing so fast!!! I think sometimes photos can abberate or distort what’s really there and it doesn’t hurt to spruce up or enhance something that the camera skews. After all, it’s only a two dimensional image! But sometimes, I do think Photoshop can take things too far. Maybe that line is with children. Maybe its analogous to adults wearing makeup to enhance their features, but to put makeup or do Photoshop on kids is kind of like…creepily JohnBenet?