- Editing photos is commonplace today, with everyone from Kim Kardashian West to noncelebrities using photo-editing apps to alter their appearance.
- But where there’s editing there are editing fails, from Instagram selfies to the covers of famous magazines.
- At least 11 photos caused a ruckus on the internet in 2018 for being so-called “Photoshop fails” – in other words, the editing was a little too easy to spot.
- You be the judge if these “mistakes” were just tricks of the light or an attempt to change someone’s appearance.
Photo editing is ubiquitous today, whether you’re aware of it or not.
While by now it’s a given that magazine covers and celebrities do some editing, it has seeped into popular culture in the form of editing apps on phones.
But whether it’s a big-name magazine, a famous celebrity, or someone fine-tuning their Instagram selfie, sometimes the editing goes a little too far.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite photo-editing fails – or alleged fails, because often the perpetrator won’t admit to altering images.
Keep scrolling to see who might be getting a little help from editing software.
In September 2018, a French art school was caught editing their students to appear more diverse.
This year, the Émile Cohl art school in Lyon, France, was caught editing their photos to make their student population seem more diverse ahead of a planned opening of a new American branch. Five students were edited to appear as people of colour.
A former student posted both images on Twitter in a now deleted tweet, which proceeded to go viral. The school was forced to issue an apology, with the school’s assistant director, Emmanuel Perrier, telling CNN that an American communication company “decided on its own to darken the skin of some students to add diversity. The communication campaign was made from the US.”
Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were retouched in promotional images for their upcoming movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
Because of a mistake by Sony, the wrong promotional images for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” were uploaded to the company’s publicity site in August – anyone who opened the photos in Photoshop was able to see their edit history. And that history revealed that the studio had tightened both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio’s chins and nixed a few of 55-year-old Pitt’s wrinkles.
Sony took full responsibility and said both actors had no knowledge of the edits. The correct images were quickly uploaded, but the snafu proved that not only women in Hollywood are held to unrealistic beauty standards.
Kourtney Kardashian’s arm all but disappeared in an ad for Calvin Klein, but the brand said it was just bad lighting.
Kourtney Kardashian’s forearm appears superhumanly thin in this August ad for Calvin Klein.
The brand disputed this in a statement to INSIDER: “As you’ll see from the high-res version of the image, there are no issues with Kourtney’s arm. However, the light is hitting it which makes it slightly less defined. Unfortunately, when the image is posted to social media in a lower-resolution format, the shape of her arm loses its definition, creating the effect which social media users have commented on.”
This didn’t stop the internet from having a field day.
Vanity Fair’s 2018 Hollywood issue was rife with editing mistakes, including Reese Witherspoon’s third leg and Oprah Winfrey’s extra hand.
The issue, which was released in January, was supposed to celebrate the entertainment industry’s heavyweights, but all anyone could talk about was Reese Witherspoon’s third leg. As INSIDER’s Jacob Shamsian explained, “There’s one leg that goes straight down from her left hip to the ground, another leg that seems to cross over it from her right hip, and another leg, also from her right hip, that seems to fold over the second leg.” The magazine claimed that the third leg was actually the lining of her dress, but people remain unconvinced because of another mistake.
In an outtake from the shoot released on Twitter, Oprah Winfrey clearly has three hands: one resting on her hip, one in her lap, and one wrapped around “A Wrinkle in Time” costar Witherspoon.
Both actresses had a sense of humour about the gaffe, with Witherspoon tweeting “Well…I guess everybody knows now…I have 3 legs. I hope you can still accept me for who I am (and I will never apologise for snuggling @Oprah .. if you get the opportunity, I highly recommend it;).” Winfrey responded, “I accept your 3d leg. As I know you accept my 3d hand.”
Kim Kardashian West posted a photo of herself in a parking lot, but the background looks like it’s from an alien planet.
In honour of March’s March for Our Lives, Kim Kardashian West posted a photo on Instagram of herself walking, meant to imply she was on her way to march.
But people couldn’t stop staring at the background of her photo – specifically, the curved footpath and the weirdly flattened car.
Kardashian West explained that she had simply reposted the photo from a fan who had added a mirror effect that distorted the background. You can see the full image here.
YouTuber Jake Paul posted a photo to promote an upcoming boxing match, but people noticed that his shoulders appeared to be transparent.
Jake Paul, one of the infamous YouTuber Paul brothers, posted this photo in June to drum up hype for a boxing match against fellow YouTuber KSI.
When Paul posted the photo, commenters were quick to notice that his right shoulder (our left) appears to be transparent – the stripes on the wall behind him are visible through his shoulder muscles.
Other photos of Paul shirtless seem to show that he tends to edit his neck to look more muscly.
Naomi Campbell posted an up-close photo of her face on Instagram captioned “bare,” but many people thought the pic was edited.
Naomi Campbell posted an up-close picture of her face in March, captioned “#Mood #Bare,” implying that the photo is unedited and makeup-free. The internet was not convinced.
Many people said the supermodel had significantly thinned her nose, while others said she had changed the symmetry of her face or edited out dark circles underneath her eyes.
The caption tagged NARS Cosmetics, and after some investigation, people concluded that the photo was from NARS creator François Nars’ self-titled book, which came out in 2016.
This family went viral after receiving horribly edited images from a “professional” photographer they’d paid.
The Zaring family matriarch, Pam, posted a set of photos on Facebook in January of her and her family, which she said were taken by a professional photographer. According to Zaring, the photos cost about $US250.
As you can see, the Zaring family’s faces barely look human after all the editing and retouching. They’re preternaturally smooth, and their teeth look drawn on.
The photographer did have an excuse, though. “She said the shadows were really bad on the beautiful, clear, sunny day and that her professor never taught her to retouch photos,” Zaring wrote on Facebook.
Elizabeth Olsen called out an “Avengers” cover of Empire magazine for making her look unrecognizable.
Olsen wrote about the cover in a now deleted Instagram post, asking her followers if they could even recognise her overly contoured, airbrushed face.
Two “Riverdale” stars expressed their dissatisfaction with a photo shoot after their waists were shrunk to impossibly unrealistic sizes.
Actresses Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes have both been vocal about feelings of insecurity and body positivity, so it was no surprise when Reinhart called out Cosmopolitan Philippines for editing her and Mendes’ waists to appear much smaller than they are in real life – it looks like they’re missing a few ribs each.
“Camila and I worked incredibly hard to feel confident in the bodies we have,” she wrote. “It’s an everyday battle, sometimes. And to see our bodies become so distorted in an editing process is a perfect example of the obstacles we have yet to overcome.”
Kylie Jenner was accused of editing her daughter’s skin and ears on Instagram.
In May, three months after Kylie Jenner gave birth to daughter Stormi Webster, she posted a photo of the two of them. People immediately zoomed in on what appears to be a warped wall in the background, usually a sign of photo editing – and assumed she had edited her daughter’s skin and ears.
While some were furious that Jenner might have edited her daughter’s face, others tried to explain by saying Jenner might have been trying to edit her own arm, and that she mistakenly edited Stormi as well.
The photo has since been deleted.