Please note: This is how I edit guys. Not necessarily how anyone else does or how you should, but what works for me.

Photoshopping is a hot topic: whether it’s appropriate, ethical, alters reality, etc. If my photos were going on the cover of TIME magazine, this might be relevant. Since they aren’t, I can and will continue to do whatever I want with them, following my own personal aesthetic. Does anyone cry “Photoshopped!” over B&Ws? Show me someone whose reality is desaturated.

My 15-year-old son is a victim of teenage hormones, which leave their mark on his skin. We’ve all been there. When I imported our class picture shots from this week, my 13-year-old daughter, who didn’t feel the need to expend any of her small measure of tact for her brother’s sake, was quick to mention how much editing I would need to do to his face.

Is his teenage skin “reality”? Yes. Is it permanent and who he “is”? No.

I don’t want him to look back at his sophomore class pictures and see nothing but 15-year-old boy skin, which looked different two weeks ago and will look different still two weeks from now.

I want him to remember how he’d just gotten a haircut and liked to style it in a faux hawk.


I want him to see that cocky grin, ready to take on the world.


I want him to remember the “I’m channeling Psych‘s Sean Spencer” shot.


I don’t want him to remember zits.

He’s got a scar under his left eye from getting caught by an older brother’s backswing in a Thanksgiving Day baseball game when he was little. I would never edit it. That is part of him, and my guys have always embraced the “chicks dig scars” mentality, anyway. 😉

I do most of my editing in Lightroom, but I use Photoshop’s Spot Healing Brush Tool to clean up teen skin. Just make the brush slightly larger than the bumps and click away. I do this first and then save the image back into Lightroom. (Command + E on my Mac takes the image into Photoshop, “save” brings it back into Lightroom as a separate psd file. I do not check the box telling Lightroom to stack my edit with the original file. I like them separate.)

When editing guys, I usually don’t use the skin softening brush in Lightroom, either, except possibly to even out skin tone in a small spot, and I never, ever apply a soft focus preset or reduce the overall clarity of the image. I’m much more likely to boost clarity and exaggerate lines and imperfections.

I want guys to look like guys. I’ll save the glamour edits for photos of me women.

Your thoughts? Do you edit guys and girls differently?

Pin It on Pinterest