The “Photoshop Fails” Online Group Shares 50 Of The Worst And Funniest Attempts At Photoshop
Have you ever seen a photo that just didn’t look quite right? The background was wonky, someone’s thighs were unrealistically small, or an arm had mysteriously vanished from the image altogether.
We all know how prevalent Photoshop is today. It is used on nearly every magazine cover, probably every photo we have ever seen of the Kardashians, and even by some of our friends before they post on Instagram. In this technological age, it makes perfect sense for people to utilize their computer skills to make photos pop. But if you really want to convince viewers that your manipulated photo is rooted in reality, you might want to at least take a course in Photoshop first…
In honor of all the botched images that people try to pass off as truth online, the Photoshop Fails subreddit was born. From users shaping their bodies to enhance certain features to companies editing their products onto stock images, we’ve gathered some of the most atrocious uses of Photoshop that we couldn’t help but laugh at. Enjoy this list of hilarious fails, and be sure to upvote all of the images that you can’t believe were ever shared online. Keep reading to also find interviews with Photoshop experts Jesus Ramirez, from the Photoshop Training Channel, and Enrique Flouret, editor of Photoshop Roadmap.
Then let us know in the comments what the worst Photoshop fail you’ve ever seen was. (If it happened to be your aunt’s Facebook profile photo and the ridiculous amount of filters she added to herself, don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me!)
And then if you’re interested in viewing even more cringey editing mishaps, you can check out Bored Panda’s last article featuring Photoshop fails right here.
Believe it or not, there was once a time where we could actually trust most of the photos we saw on magazine covers, in the newspaper, and even online, for a while. Sure, a little editing here and there has always been done, but as technology has advanced, it has become almost impossible to distinguish an edited picture from a raw one. This is assuming that whoever did the Photoshopping was a professional, of course. Because along with how high the standards have risen when it comes to editing images, the backlash for trying to manipulate viewers through a photo has become extremely strong as well.
The Photoshop Fails subreddit was formed in 2013, and it has had an unlimited stream of content since then. The page currently has over 23k members, and they share a wide variety of photos, from screenshots of photos they have seen posted on social media to horribly edited advertisements. Despite access to editing technology becoming much more widely available these days, many of us have also adapted to have eagle eyes when it comes to spotting Photoshop fails, and we can’t help but laugh at them online.
Poor Horsie Legs
Don’t hate her cause she has curves... just say a prayer for that poor horse.
To gain some insight from some Photoshop experts, we reached out to Jesus Ramirez, of the Photoshop Training Channel. When asked what inspired him to get into Photoshop, Jesus told Bored Panda, "As a kid, I often drew comic book characters. I saw a friend's dad working in Photoshop, and I decided to use Photoshop to enhance my art digitally. I quickly became obsessed with the program and learned as much as possible by watching videos and reading books."
We also asked him why Photoshop is so difficult to master. "Mastering anything is difficult, not just Photoshop," Jesus explained. "Anything you want to become a 'master' at requires a ton of hard work. I don't think learning Photoshop is any different than mastering a sport or becoming a painter. They all require a lot of time and dedication."
We also asked him what he thinks the best thing about Photoshop is. "Photoshop has been the industry standard imaging application for over 30 years," he told us. "And I think it is because you can do anything with Photoshop. The only limit is your imagination."
If you'd like to learn more from Jesus about Photoshop, be sure to check out his Youtube videos on The Photoshop Training Channel right here.
We also consulted Photoshop expert and editor of Photoshop Roadmap, Enrique Flouret, to hear what inspired him to get into photo editing. "I began using Photoshop in version 1.0, when Desktop Publishing was the new thing and Digital Photo Retouching wasn't even a concept," he told Bored Panda. "So I can't say I was inspired to become a Photoshop Expert. I simply grew up professionally with Photoshop as it became a more popular and capable tool."
We also asked him why Photoshop is so hard to master. "I don't think Photoshop is hard to master," Enrique says. "It's a professional tool made for photographers, artists and designers, who can master much more complex tools and concepts than Photoshop itself. Of course, if you treat it as a social media meme generator, you will have a hard time trying to use it. Besides, it's expensive and requires a lot of machine power to simply use it for fun."
We also asked Enrique what he thinks the best thing about Photoshop is. "Well... That's hard to say," he shared. "In the past (version 3.0) the addition of the 'Layers' feature was a game changer. Believe me it was. But today I believe that all the new AI features, although in their early stages, are hard to beat."
Enrique went on to share, "Although I did my fair share of photo retouching, my main activity was always training creative professionals. But 22 years ago I created one of the oldest Photoshop sites that are still around today: Photoshop Roadmap. My main goal was to showcase all the great tutorials and assets that were hidden all around the web, specially at times where Google was a little known search engine, and social media didn't exist at all."
If you'd like to gain more expertise on Photoshop from Enrique and his colleagues, be sure to check out Photoshop Roadmap right here.
Photoshop has been around for decades now, 32 years to be exact, and it has completely changed the way we see photos since then. Almost any image we see on an advertisement, movie poster, product, posted by a celebrity or in a book has received some amount of Photoshop doctoring. The technology was incredibly innovative, as at the time of Photoshop’s release to the public, digital retouching was only done by a handful of professionals who charged about $600 per hour. Suddenly, any photographer with a computer could purchase the software for about $2,000 and learn how to correct their own images. The prevalence of Photoshop has skyrocketed since.
By the mid nineties, photographs that were essentially collages started emerging on magazine covers and advertisements. At this time, Photoshopping was not primarily used to emulate reality but rather to create surreal images that would be difficult or impossible to make without digital editing. Some of the most influential photographers of this period who set and embraced the surreal trend were David LaChapelle, Nick Knight, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
As Photoshop has taken the photography world by storm, it has become a verb as well. For example, instead of saying an image has been edited, we often just say it has been “Photoshopped”, regardless of what software was actually used to manipulate it. Enrique actually mentioned this point in his interview too, "This software is so popular that it became a verb. What else can I say?" And although the technology is primarily used by graphic designers, web designers, photographers, and people working in marketing, even NASA and many professionals in the medical field have use for it. The software has permeated our society, for better or for worse.
Photoshop is obviously useful for a number of reasons and has provided us with infinite possibilities for what we can convey through photos, but as I’m sure you are aware, it has faced its fair share of criticism as well. The technology itself is not to blame, but it has given companies the opportunity to tell any story they like, particularly about a model or celebrity’s body, and many of us the opportunity to portray warped versions of ourselves online.
Whether or not you consider this is an issue can be debated, but Photoshop certainly has drastically shrunken the amount of “real” or raw images we see on a daily basis. And while you might be thinking, “I don’t care; I can tell when a photo has been edited.” I would have to ask, can you really? The fact is that rather than assuming most photos are unedited and only images that look less than realistic have been manipulated, we should really be assuming that almost every photo we encounter online has been edited. But as we scroll through social media, we might not be actively questioning everything we see. We can know logically that Kim Kardashian probably does not look like that Instagram photo in real life, but that does not stop thousands of young, impressionable girls from seeing a picture and thinking, “Wow, I wish I looked like that...” Little do they know, it requires thousands of dollars and an excellent Photoshop artist to look that way.
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Nowadays, it’s not just celebrities and magazine editors photoshopping their images. As you can see from this list of awful examples of Photoshop, plenty of people are trying their hands at tricking viewers online. And according to one study of about 3,000 people in the UK, 71% of participants said they always edit photos before posting them online. In fact, of the participants residing in London, an astonishing 81% of them admitted to always doctoring their pics. When it comes to what these social media users are enhancing or hiding in their photos, the most commonly edited part of the body is a person’s face. 54% of respondents said they will touch up imperfections on their skin, and 47% said they will even edit their face shape, creating the illusion of a sharper jawline or higher cheekbones, for example.
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But the manipulation of people’s bodies in their photos does not end at a few simple tweaks. 46% of participants admitted they are unhappy with the way their arms look in photos and are more comfortable sharing a picture where they have been edited. 42% of people also will edit their eyes, to make them look larger or more vibrantly colored, and one third of people will edit their lips, often to appear fuller. 35% of participants in this study also said they often edit their backsides, as there is a popular trend on social media of having a “slim-thick” body type. All of this incessant editing has been deemed ‘The Kardashian Effect”, as people often edit their photos to achieve the beauty standards the Kardashians have set on social media. The irony is that the members of that family have gone out of their way to portray a certain look online as well, so the cycle seems to never end. (Remember the infamous unedited bikini photo of Khloe Kardashian that her team went through great lengths to have removed from the internet, despite her looking perfectly fine in the picture?)
As hilarious as it is to mock these terribly edited pictures, especially when it comes to the photos where people have edited the shape of their bodies in some way, I can’t help but feel bad for them. Clearly, they would not feel the need to shrink their arms and waist or make their bottom appear larger if they were extremely confident in themselves. But when we are constantly exposed to seemingly perfect, airbrushed images of models and celebrities, who we cannot actually see in real life, the pressure to keep up with those beauty standards can become overwhelming. I have struggled with acne on and off for years, and I know statistically that is perfectly normal. But if I spend too much time on Instagram, I start to feel like I am the only person in the world with a pimple and that I should feel ashamed about it. That is definitely worse for my health than a few blemishes here and there.
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Adults are also better at spotting false realities online, but so many kids have access to the internet and social media nowadays too. They are young and impressionable, and they might not have the wisdom to ascertain truth online. In fact, the excessive photo editing in today’s world has led to an increase in body dysmorphia and an increase in eating disorders among children and teenagers. And considering that the average kid gets their first phone at age 10.3, it is up to adults and parents to ensure that they are aware of the risks of being online. One teenager told the Body Positive Alliance, “I’ve had acne since the seventh grade, and that’s one thing that I’m super insecure about. Sometimes, I don’t even post pictures of myself and my friends because I feel like my red spots are so noticeable. I compare myself to these TikTokers too, which has affected my confidence. Sometimes I wish I never downloaded Instagram in the first place.”
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If you are finding that social media is affecting your self-confidence or suddenly giving you insecurities you never had before, don’t hesitate to take a break from it altogether. Understand that Photoshop is an amazing tool, but it has become far too common online. If you see a photo of someone else and you have the urge to compare yourself to it, take a moment to pause and consider whether or not that person edited the picture. And even if they did not, why should you feel the need to look like them in the first place? I have found that when I stopped wearing makeup and I stopped editing my pictures, I actually gained so much confidence. I look the same to everyone, everywhere, and although I might not love every part of myself, I feel confident knowing that what others see is what they get. Plus, there are so many things more interesting about each and every one of us than what we look like. Instead of wasting hours editing photos, we could be spending time with our loved ones or delving into a passion project.
Clearly, if you are a Photoshop expert, you could probably make a great career editing people’s pictures for social media or for companies’ websites, but we hope you are finding some humor in these painfully bad edits done by people who probably should have outsourced their projects to the professionals. Be sure to upvote the pics that you find most hilarious, and let us know in the comments if you have ever seen any Photoshop fails that deserve a spot on this list. And if you find yourself tempted to warp your body for social media, please resist the temptation. You are perfect just the way you are, and I’m sure you would rather spare yourself the embarrassment of ending up on the Photoshop Fails subreddit.