To retouch, or hands off?

Hello and love and regards to all of our CDH readers. The photo I am using for this article is part of a shoot I did on June 26th on the top floor of a shopping complex. It’s for a singing performance in August. The photographer is a friend and my upstairs neighbor.

The top floor of the complex is a food court. In Japan, shopping centers tend to be built up rather than out. We had thought if we got there just when it opened it would be quiet. Silly us! It was quite busy already!

Anyway, we found a space behind a folding curtain. We were probably not supposed to be there but aside from the photographer’s flash, we finished without any problems. I think the overhead lighting was better anyway. We checked the photos as we were taking them. I couldn’t help noticing my flaws as a human being. Too much belly. Too little sleep. In fact, I’m perilously close to retirement age. Yeah-right. Whatever.

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Once I got the photos, I showed them to a friend who has also done several photo shoots with me. She said, “They’re good but there’s something weird with your right eye”. I had seen it too. It looked like I hadn’t slept for a month. I assumed it was just me. My friend said, “No, it looks like a photo problem. You should ask the photographer to fix it”. Well this was done as a favor. I’m going to pay even though the idea was dismissed. My friend was having a free trial with a kind of retouch app. She fixed a few of the photos and I said, wow!

But then the other heel dropped. I say-not in a vain or boastful way at all-I have never used alteration of any kind on my photos. I know it’s very common with celebrities. It just never occurred to me. I mean, the photos are supposed to be for a live performance. What happens when I don’t look perfect like the photo? I don’t know, maybe famous people just take it as part of the business. But I’m not sure how I feel about it. I have seen photos of CDH members that are so beautiful. I always assume they are taken as is. But even if they aren’t, so what? Our beauty always shines through. A smile. A pose. A moment.

I’ll leave it as this. A photo is not the same as a conversation, however, it is a statement. I have found that my best photos just happen when I’m not trying to look like or act like anyone besides myself. There is a belief among some indigenous people that a photo can steal your soul. I don’t know about that. But it should definitely reflect your soul.

Thank you for reading my article and please take a few minutes to either leave a quick response to my article or answer one or more of the questions I’ve posed to you below:

  • Have you ever used a photo app to alter a photo you’ve posted here at Crossdresser Heaven?
  • If you use a photo app, which one do you use and why?
  • What do you usually change about your appearance when you use a photo app?

Wishing you all health and happiness.

Sincerely, Triesste



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Triesste is a singer and actress, who has performed with Tokyo Closet Ball since it began in 2013. She also writes and performs her own songs in guy disguise.

Latest posts by Triesste (see all)

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Active Member
1 year ago

I just go with hands off. I am who I am.

I have seen the photo app’s and know many use them. I have no problem with them doing so.

However, what ever photos people see of me, I want them to see the true me, although at age 75 it is now the older version.

Active Member
1 year ago

As time has passed, I have become closer to the photographer’s adage of getting the shot right in the first place. Well-lit studio, halfway decent camera, done your makeup/hair/outfit right. So – belly: diet (obviously), but also shapewear! and frontal shot rather than from the side. Eyebags: concealer, and wrinkles in general: foundation. As for image filters, I’ve previously used general beautification (skin smooth, eye enlarge and face softening), make up (which turned out to be a good tutorial for the real thing) and plastic surgery (also useful practical guide, if that’s your bag). Today though, I play with cartoon… Read more »

Alison Anderson
Active Member
1 year ago

Hi Triesste, I can’t live without a photo app. But it’s not what you think. My “alterations” usually consist of auto white balancing (adjusting the color level curve by trimming the ends) which tends to sharpen the colors, adjusting the brightness and contrast (more for indoor than outdoor shots), cropping, and scaling down to a reasonable size for web photos (no more than 800×600). When I was taking pictures of my meetup group with a flash camera, I would also have to do red eye removal, particularly on blue eyed people. Occasionally when looking at indoor pictures with low lighting,… Read more »

skippy1965 Cynthia
Trusted Member
1 year ago

This. Adjusting contrast etc is like developing film-it’s making the best of what is there but not ADDING or ENHANCING. Playing around with filters that actually materially change the subject can be fun but I would never post a pic altered that way without CLEARLY LABELING it as such. This is not only because I want to be natural myself but because I think not clearly labeling as ‘enhanced, airbrushed’ etc. can be discouraging to some who might feel that they could never live up to or compare to those images, and thus might never feel like they could share… Read more »

Trish White
Trusted Member
1 year ago

Great article Triesste, personally I’ve never touched up any photo I’ve taken. The only thing I try to do is be in the right light because in the wrong light every blemish or wrinkle shows up vividly. I am not at all a ‘techie’, I have a hard time just using my I-phone never mind altering photographs. It would be kind of cool to fool around with that sort of thing, just to remember what I looked like when I was 20, but I believe that if you’re going to post a picture it should show the real you. Thanks… Read more »

Trusted Member
1 year ago

Triesste, a very well written article thank you for sharing…my “old lady” photos posted on CDH are “what you see is (my opinion) “what you get” albeit some editing, cropping, contrast, and/or brightness… and of course the many photos that reach the editing floor…
I also use a 10 second timer to prepare for that perfect pose lol.
by the way, you are a very elegant lady.

Roberta Broussard
Noble Member
1 year ago

I tried one once. just for myself. It was nice to see, perhaps what might have been. That was it, haven’t used one since.

1 year ago

Hi Triesste’
that is a wonderful photo. I wouldn’t change a thing. But nearly all the members here are more experienced. They will have advice and opinions to help. I’m just your newest fan. I love that it was done in Tokyo. How unique and romantic. Great career. hugs ruth-ann

Barbara Ann Lewis
3 months ago

Since I do my own photography (camera tripod and timer), I only use enhancement features in Microsoft Photos, altering the light levels, contrast, or shadows to the overall photo. I never alter my actual figure flaws.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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