Perfection is #trending, and getting the perfect shot takes more than just lighting and angles these days. Although the power of the of the two original selfie tools should not be underestimated, the new players in the social media game are editing apps like VSCO and Facetune.
“I’ll use VSCO for the color, and then I’ll use an app to smooth my face – take out blemishes,” said first year, computer science major Hannah Tobiason.
VSCO is the artsy Instagrammer’s best friend. The app offers tons of original filters for free, and hundreds more if you feel like dropping some dollars. It also contains its own social media aspect, with the options to follow other users and post to a feed, which can be linked into your Instagram bio.
Facetune, on the other hand, is like a guilty little secret. It allows users to transform their appearance with blemish-erasing, teeth-whitening, and body-modifying tools along with a myriad of others. “Facetune helps you look your Hollywood best, even in photos taken on mobile phones,” said Roy Furchgott in an article for the New York Times.
So, when scrolling through Instagram, what you see is really not what you get. “Sometimes it goes through my mind that these photos are edited. A lot of the times, though, I don’t think about it,” said Tobaison. “I think it’s definitely custom to keep it a secret. Everyone wants everyone to think they’re perfect.”
Facetuners should do their work carefully, because others are learning to sniff out the signs of a fabricated photo.“Sometimes you can really tell when someone edited a photo – it will look really janky. It makes me feel awkward and sad because I know that they feel pressure to do it,” said Tobiason.
Five years ago, only celebrities had photoshop and makeup artists to keep them picture perfect while commoners struggled with the iPhone 5. Today, free apps have leveled the playing field.
“I think the effect is really negative on the average user. Because they’ll believe this person looks flawless naturally, and think ‘why don’t I look like that?’” said Tobiason.
Chasing a standard that simply does not exist is nothing new. But while it used to be just the higher powers of TV and advertisements that reinforced these unattainable beauty goals, the pressure now comes from your best friend, your classmates, and everyone else you follow.