Back in 2016, the Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition poked fun at the use of Photoshop by featuring a Snickers ad on its back cover. It was a babe in a bikini. But more to the point, the Photoshop blunders were deliberate. Readers were challenged to find all eleven bloopers. The most blindingly obvious? The creepy, weird disembodied hand on the girl’s shoulder. Now, let’s face it! Photoshop is so widely used that it was news when Ariel Winter did a photoshoot and insisted that her pictures not be retouched in any way. Everybody is doing the Photoshop thing, including Sports Illustrated. Smooth that skin, nip in that waist, get rid of those bulges. If you don’t like the way the head looks in a shot, replace it with another one. Now, many professional photographers rant and rave about Photoshop. So, here’s a challenge for you. At the end of this piece is an entry that contains the Snickers ad, together with a reveal of the blunders. How many bloopers can you spot before you read the answer? Plus, we’ve added a “before Photoshop” Sports Illustrated cover from the 1960’s for you to compare to the Photoshopped variety. Which do you think is hotter? We know how we would vote! Here are 14 SI pictures that have been Photoshopped and one that hasn’t. You decide which you prefer.
15. Kate Upton (2012) – The Worst Cover Ever?
Fstoppers said, “There are just so many issues here; it’s been Photoshopped into looking like plastic: the chin, the arm, the hair.” They called it the worst magazine cover ever! It was Kate Upton on the cover of the 2012 edition. Look at the hair artificially swept to one side. And what’s happened to her ear? And oh, her face has been completely airbrushed and reshaped. The arm behind her head looks as if it has been taken off and stuck back on at a weird angle. Plus, they appear to have reshaped her mouth, even her belly button. In the comments on the Fstopper piece, most guys said they hadn’t spotted the “special touches.” One guy even speculated that her head had been replaced with an image from another shot. They called it the “Barbie” head. And let’s not get into the magic nip and tuck waist, that some call “Diet by Photoshop.”
14. Hannah Davis Cover Causes Outrage (2015)
First of all, the trolls were out in record numbers to complain about the 2015 cover with Hannah Davis. Her bikini bottoms were so low that many said they had to have (at least) airbrushed “that” area to avoid offense. Plus, don’t even think about the wax job that came first. Ouch! Plus, like 2012, we’ve got the “plastic” hair with a life of its own. Her arms appear to be replacements from another shot. Plus her head seems to have nothing to do with her body. Her mouth was an odd, unnatural shape that makes her look like a vampire wannabe. And what have they done to her gorgeous eyes? But the trolls did have to admit that 2015 was a heck of a lot better than 2012! Bad, but still better than 2012.
13. Christie Brinkley Walks On Water (2017)
Christie Brinkley was first in the Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition in 1979. And nearly 40 years later, the 63-year-old (yes, 63!) model is back big time. In this shot, she is in a nifty little black number flanked by her two gorgeous daughters. The only thing is that the girls are standing knee-deep in water, while mom appears to be doing a miraculous feat by standing on the surface. Blonde Christie-clone Sailor looks pretty untouched, but note brunette Alexa’s (your) left arm. It appears to have nothing to do with the rest of her anatomy. And Christie’s waist appears to have been nipped in a little…or a lot.
12. Kate Upton’s Fake Leg (2017)
She was only 19 when she was declared “Rookie of the Year” in 2011. Still on 24 years old, Kate Upton is the hot girl by which other models are judged—a combination of girl next door and vamp that guys can’t get enough of. This smoking hot cover shot of everybody’s favorite Sports Illustrated babe has been enhanced by Photoshop big time. Let’s forget the fake windblown hair on one side while there’s no breeze on the other side. But her left leg looks as if it has been cut off and put back at a funny angle that makes it look a lot longer than the other leg. Plus, SI has a habit of mucking around with her boobs, sometimes showing a gap between those luscious girls and sometimes not. This pair looks like something that was drawn on and then enhanced with shadows.
11. Brooklyn Decker Spills The Beans (2010)
“You become a model once you go through hair and makeup and Photoshop,” Brooklyn Decker admitted to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. She took him through her iconic 2010 SI cover. She was making the usual rounds of TV shows following the surprise announcement that she was on the cover. To begin with, she said that there was no house there. No big deal. But what about that waist and those abs, Colbert pressed. With a nod and a wink, the Grace and Frankie actress said it was “a trick of the light,” meaning Photoshop. She got a lot of flack for that discussion with Colbert, but Mrs. Andy Roddick defended her stance, saying that the guys and girls who doctored the images deserved some credit! Astounding, some said. Models made by Photoshop?
10. Chrissy Teigen – Biting The Photoshop Hand That Feeds You
Well, everybody knows, she’s not bashful, our Chrissy Teigen. She’s done the deed with hubby John Legend on a commercial airplane flight. But she’s made a point of posting unflattering pictures of herself to social media. But WTF? Why on earth would she post shot after shot after shot of how ordinary she really looks side by side the Photoshopped la-la land pictures the magazine comes out with? It’s clear that her round face has been airbrushed and reshaped, her boobs enlarged and her waist nipped in. Plus, is that even her hair or her mouth? Maybe she ought to be grateful. If they had shown her as she really was, as Brooklyn Decker rightly said, she probably would have never made it in the modeling world.
9. Three Skinny Models (2014)
It was the 50th anniversary edition. Yep, the swimwear edition goes way back to the 1960’s. And the cover and the models are Photoshopped big time. They look, sources said, “well, kind of like stick-thin, bronzed clones of each other.” There were Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, and Chrissy Teigen in a row, backs to us, smiling over their shoulders. The skin tone is the same. The bodies are rounded and trimmed to perfection. Nina’s arm and head look wrong, as if they had come from another picture. Even her hand looks oddly out of place. Their teeth have been uniformly whitened. Their hair all have the same length. Shadows are in the wrong place. It was a complete mess, some said. And what’s with the Lily and Chrissy head to head? Fake, they shout.
8. Kate Upton: Before And After Photoshop
On the left, Kate before. On the right, Kate after. In seconds, she’s developed a perfect tan, a slimmed-down midsection, perkier boobs, a better-looking belly button, and smoother/thinner thighs. They would never try to make our Kate look thin, but they have knocked off a good fifteen pounds and given her more of a waist in the after shot. And her left hand seems to have been erased by Photoshop. Notice too that the wind isn’t stirring in the after shot and she’s lost that windblown effect of the before photo. And oh, the fake clouds in the background are a sure Photoshop fail. Hey, even the boat’s railings have been slimmed down!
7. Emily Ratajkowski And Those Telltale Wavy Lines (2015)
One sure sign of Photoshopping is the wavy line effect. You can see it along her arms and back. Part of her hand on the sand seems to have disappeared. Plus, one arm seems a lot larger than the other. And where has her belly button gone to? We can’t show you, but her backside has been smoothed out and rounded. Not even the sand looks real in this shot! The lights and shadows are all over the place and the sky is two or three shades of artificial blue. And the final straw? It looks as if they have taken a head shot of her from a different picture and put it onto this one. The angle is all wrong. And guess what? They’ve added a Photoshop glow to her face and arms. Emily as you’ve never seen her before!
6. The Power To Change Anything And Everything
So, you’re a Sports Illustrated editor and the shot on the left lands on your laptop. The girl on the left looks pretty good, we think. But you’ve got Photoshop behind you and you have the power (literally) to change everything and anything. Let’s look at after: To begin with, (1) all expression lines have been erased. Then (2) skin folds have been smoothed, together with (3) her back below her armpit. Her straps have disappeared. WTF? Why. Well, with the straps her “girls” are perkier and so there is more cleavage. Take away the straps you get great cleavage with a bandeau you would never achieve in real life. Oh, they’ve also Photoshopped out shadows and (4) changed the color of everything. Another exhausting day for the editor. Another perfect model created.
5. That Just Cannot Be Beyoncé
Now for a completely “new” Beyoncé. Whoa! This was a major Photoshop effort by somebody! To begin with, they’ve more or less given her a new face and nose, plastic hair, a nipped-in waist and a pertly rounded backside. Now notice the legs. It’s like the foot and calf have nothing to do with the thighs. Oh, and the headline—”The Dream Girl As You’ve Never Seen Her.” Trust us, you won’t see her this way outside the pages of the magazine. What about the fake sand painted on her arms and legs? And the earrings? Fake, just like her nails. Finally, you try to put your chin against your shoulder and see for yourself how fake the angle of this shot is. If it had been real, she would have had a real pain in the neck!
4. An Oldie But A Goodie
Whoever edited this photo probably isn’t working anymore. At least not as an editor! Notice the obvious thinning of the arms and the enhanced cleavage. But the dead giveaway? There’s a man’s hand on her shoulder. Only thing is they Photoshopped most of him out, but forgot to “disappear” the hand. That’s why her arms look so funny and the water in the background looks strange. That’s where the missing man was. In fact, the whole background is probably fake, otherwise it wouldn’t be so consistent. This kind of shot getting through to publication is every editor’s worst nightmare. Like we said, this guy probably has moved on to greeting at Wal Mart, or some such.
3. The Very First Photoshopped Sports Illustrated Cover
Okay, okay. It’s 1990 and the Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition cost $3.95. Can you imagine that? But this was a huge departure for the mag. It was the first heavily edited cover that the magazine came out with. Sure, it looks more “real” than current covers and there’s no airbrushing or plastic windblown hair, but the use of prehistoric Photoshop is pretty clear. Look at the arm. It was reshaped big time, as were her backside and thighs. And then there’s the artificial lighting, even clumsy attempts to edit in a glow on her face and arms. Also, the background doesn’t look real. It’s as if her bod has been glued to a fuzzy shot of water, which is probably exactly what happened.
2. Spot The Deliberate Photoshop Blunders (2016)
How many deliberate blunders can you spot on this Snickers SI ad? The 2016 ad caused a very big stir. The caption was simple: “Photo Retouchers Get Confused When They’re Hungry.” You know, the Snickers ad thing about how you aren’t yourself when you’re hungry. Another similar ad had a swimsuit model getting blasted by a wind tunnel machine and said: “wind tunnel machine operators get ‘loopy’ when they’re hungry.” So have a look. Top to bottom—one calf way bigger than the other, part of the leg she is standing on is missing, the backgrounds left and right are not in sync, her hand appears to be holding a bag that has magically disappeared, her belly button is in the wrong place, her boob has been smoothed out, one eye is bigger than the other, there’s a hand on her shoulder, one of her bikini top straps has disappeared and (finally!) she’s got wind effect hair drawn in. Plus, of course, the whole thing has been (obviously) airbrushed.
1. To Photoshop Or Not To Photoshop – You Decide
A lot of photographers spend way too much time on the Internet pointing out to the world the sins of Photoshop. They rant and rave and complain that the images are doctored, false, and misleading. Sometimes, they post pictures of a Sports Illustrated Swimwear Edition cover before the advent of the dreaded and much-maligned Photoshop and point out that the pictures were more real, grainy, and natural. That may be true. But take a look at the 1968 cover shot above. You decide. Do you prefer real or do you prefer Photoshopped? Who is the hottest? Do you vote Turia Mau in 1968? Real, natural and largely unedited with a thick waist. Or do you prefer Kate Upton in 2017? She comes complete with a false leg, plastic hair and airbrushed everything? Leave a comment to cast your vote!