I strive to make people look their best when they’re in front of my camera. Decades of practice have given me the ability to do this effortlessly.

However, it’s not uncommon for someone being photographed to be concerned with their appearance.

Over and over I hear, “can you make me look younger, taller, thinner, etc, etc? To paraphrase Stephen King, “if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that, I’d have enough for a nice steak dinner.”

I tell people that through retouching I can simulate almost anything. There’s something about saying the word “simulate” that brings them back to their senses.

Too often a subject will make a false equivalence with what they see on a magazine cover to what my camera will create in the moment. What they fail to realize is that a typical magazine shoot will spend as much or more on retouching as they will on a photographer’s fee.

The best subjects know this innately. A case in point is this one who collaborated with me on a summer street session near the High Line in New York.

She is a professional model who has attained success by being her natural self. Happiness in life and art are so much sweeter and far easier to attain when one operates this way.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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