How to Fake Fitness in Family Photos

By: Mary Fagan

Concerned that you look larger than life in family photos? Shocked by the images you see after a shutterbug hits? Not to worry. Just follow my solution for faking fitness in family photos and you too can look fabulous.

Why go through the hassle of reductive surgery or sweet deprivation when I have perfected photo fitness retouching? On a good day, I can whack off 10 to 20 pounds from wide format originals and then share the moments with the whole family. No pain for the gain.

Let's begin with the two fundamental ways to alter your ego through your images: retouching and reprinting existing photos, and the use of digital techniques.

If you want to look your best with standard prints, you are stuck with scanning, retouching and reprinting photos using photo imaging software and your computer. This took so much time that I went out and bought my brother-in-law, Don, the family cameraman, a digital. It was worth the small fortune so that I could look like a million. He thought I was very generous. So did I, hence the camera purchase. And once you've gone digital, you'll never go back. The techniques are the same whether you scan and retouch or just download and retouch.

Let's focus on the reduction techniques. You should get familiar with the clone, smudge, re-size, lighten and blur tools your new best friends. These little helpers work effectively to dwarf your stomach, thighs, cheeks and backside. Hi ho.

This no-fuss, no muss elective procedure begins with cloning. Clone a small portion of the area in your photo front of your stomach, buttocks or thighs over this area, replacing it ever so slightly.

Next, take the smudge tool. Go over the edges where you just cloned background over your protrusion. Smudge toward your body, pulling in the pixels. This flattens your belly better than any stupid crunches. If you have chub in your cheeks, move the smudge tool over your hair and wisp it onto your cheeks. This reduces the amount of cheek showing and gives the impression of a thinner face, but don't overdo with the hairdo.

Open the resize object tool. Reduce the width of your photo by 10 or so pixels while keeping the length the same. Everyone in the photo gets thinner - very fair. Speaking of fair, find dark areas like under your eyes and use the brightness tool to lighten them a couple of steps. Don't go overboard or you will be discovered and you will ruin it for all of us.

The finishing touch is to apply a slight blur to the whole photo. This reduces pore size and fades age spots better than nobody's business. Sure, you won't end up on the cover of Cosmo but you will be unexplainably photogenic. Just smile and say, "Pass the cheese."

Before long you will be manipulating your images like Bill Clinton in an election year.

These illusions will make you feel better unless some stupid relative passes around their own photos. For me, the solution to this has been to take control the family photos and rule them like a tyrannical despot. The time spent "working on" and making copies of photos for the family makes for a few less home cooked dishes but I haven't missed any meals.

To date, no one has caught on to my fake fitness routine. Once, my husband once threatened to expose my photo fitness techniques to the family. After I threatened to stop making desserts, he kept his aperture shut.

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