Gee Whillickers!

Seeing is believing… or is it?

Retouching: before and afterIn today’s world, there aren’t a lot of things that get published that haven’t been retouched.
Girlpower are the ones behind this ad concept. Showing just how easy it is to change someone’s appearance. In this example, they take a 14-year-old and make her look like she’s in her early twenties, and flawless.

Retouch - full view

“The media world is becoming increasingly fixated on appearances. And the number of tricks used to achieve the increasingly exaggerated ideals is growing. Many models have plastic surgery and even more are retouched so they appear to have bigger breasts, smaller stomachs or fuller lips.

“We wanted to show how easy it is to change someone’s appearance in this ad.”

– Girlpower

Following are a few more real-life samples of how retouching is used.

Retouch toaster

Glenn Honiball

Retouch car

Glenn Honiball

Gosh, That’s Handy!


It is common knowledge that captions are sentences or phrases placed near an image or photo to explain or identify what you’re seeing.

But not as well known is how high an importance captions should get. They can deliver the essence of a story with images and a few words and act like a cheat sheet to a reader. Also, when the headline fails to do so, a photo and caption combo can be a good safety net in leading the reader into the body copy (main text or article).

Identifier Captions are short and label-like identifiers for the image, without any extraneous words.


A telescopic tripod

Pull-Quote Captions are statements assigned to the image to personalize it or add more significance.


Don’t even think about taking this without a tripod!

Narrative Captions are lengthier descriptions or explanations of the image that help relate it to the text.


This is a telescopic tripod used by photographers as a means to steady their cameras for shots that would otherwise turn out blurry from hand-held camera shake.

Essay Captions are long extension of the body copy, since they tell the story along with the photos.


This is an example of a telescopic tripod used by photographers today. Most early cameras actually came with tripod stands as a standard part to accommodate their former bulk and weight. It wasn’t until smaller cameras were developed that tripods became a separate tool to steady the camera for shots that would otherwise turn out blurry from hand-held camera shake.

In photo-intensive layouts, more lengthy, but easy-to-read, essay captions are often used to actually carry a portion of the story. In this case, a person isn’t just reading columns of text and then dodging off to look at related photos. This can be very useful in driving and guiding the eye of the reader.

Designers often employ different type fonts (Times, Helvetica, etc.), faces (condensed, light, etc.), colors and sizes for captions to help set them apart from the rest of the text. It also serves as a repeating layout element to which they can apply a varied style.