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Make-up on little kids

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  #11  
Old 01-19-2004, 01:36 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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coin-operated

I personally would not tan a child, slather on make-up, or bleach their hair, but as a professional, if a client asks me to do a pageant "glam" I ask how "glam" do they want it. I'd rather do it digitally then have the parents make them up like Tammy Faye and snap a picture. I try to keep the look of a porcelain doll, or even more natural when possible. I often find myself digitally removing the make-up originally put on the child and evening out the tone. Re-drawing the eyelashes is generally a requirement since the mascara is so clumpy. My advice to parents is to take pictures with just natural looking kids, then if you want it done have a retoucher do the rest.

grafx
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2004, 07:28 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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I don't know why I didn't see this thread before. My wife and I watched a program on TV about one of the "beauty pageants" for little kids. Why would anyone want to take their 6 year old little girl, and make them look like a 20 something floozie, working in an area of ill repute?? Why not let them just be kids, like the ones we see in our local neighborhood, playing in the mud puddles after a rain? I guess somehow they see fame and fortune in it, and they're willing to sacrifice the best years of their children's life.

Ed
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  #13  
Old 01-22-2004, 03:04 AM
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chiquitita chiquitita is offline
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I haven't posted for quite a while because I hardly make it to the site anymore, but I can weigh in on this one. Back in the summer I had my first opportunity to deal with a pageant photo and have dealt with quite a few since then and I have to agree with everyone else.

I was told that the children needed to look like porcelain dolls and even asked to put makeup and thick eyelashes on infants. With the internet, many of these photos are only being used for online photo pageants, and I was told that with many of them it doesn't matter if it even resembles the kid or not, because the only thing that is judged is the photo - if you look at some of these photos, it wouldn't even be possible to get the child to look that way with makeup - they look like anime with huge eyes and matte skin. I was asked to take weight off a chubby 10 year old for one photo and looking at the picture (where she was clearly miserable and uncomfortable to begin with) I couldn't help but think what a nightmare it must be to have your mom make you look like someone else in your photo because you aren't good enough.

Also, and I am sure I will get flamed for this, but the moms I have dealt with in the pageant world have been less than honest and in several cases never paid me. I have also received communication from another retoucher that one of them did the exact same thing to him - so watch out - especially for people who want endless samples and promise you lots of work.

It seems that these online photo contests are a way for women to make a quick buck off their kids. I won't be doing any more glam photos of kids.

PS: That TV special is called "living dolls" and it aired on HBO - I have wanted to see it since I heard about it.
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  #14  
Old 01-22-2004, 07:46 AM
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ExclamPt ExclamPt is offline
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Does anyone remember the Sunday newspaper cartoon in which Opus, wearing a Davey Crockett coonskin cap, is playing marbles?

Up walks this little girl wearing her "Madonna starter slut outfit."

Opus says, "I think kids today have lost their marbles."

I wish I still had a copy of that cartoon--one of my favorites. It says it all.


Last edited by ExclamPt; 01-22-2004 at 10:03 AM.
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  #15  
Old 03-25-2004, 02:03 PM
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grafx grafx is offline
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I wont flame you

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiquitita
Also, and I am sure I will get flamed for this, but the moms I have dealt with in the pageant world have been less than honest and in several cases never paid me. I have also received communication from another retoucher that one of them did the exact same thing to him - so watch out - especially for people who want endless samples and promise you lots of work.
Being that the majority of my work comes from pageant retouches, I guess I would be termed a professional pageant retoucher, lol. I know exactly what you're saying. I have had so many no-pays and partial-pays, that I have to require 1/2 upfront for large orders and I put a big "PROOF" on their digital proofs so that they won't steal them for their online competitions without paying me first. It makes if difficult to discern the good people from the bad so you must in essence punish them all. Not all of the pageant parents are nasty, but there is a 3 to 1 ratio in favor of them being impossible to work with. Most want more than what you offer for your price range. Complete digital surgery for $20, lol! Luckily, I have been picked up by a photographer so it makes my life a lot more managable. I still get impossible requests passed on from the parents, but at least I have a buffer and I actually enjoy some of the challenges given to me. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger ::grinz::
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  #16  
Old 04-06-2004, 01:35 PM
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Rexx Rexx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Couch
I think someone looking at our culture from the outside would be, as Paulie said above, "horrified"...and yet we view things with a detached and almost amused perspective. I'd argue that the whole make-up / pageant thing is indicative of a much deeper problem with our society (which you have already alluded to)...we are like the Roman Empire right before things got really decadent and came crumbling down.
You couldn't have said it better. I'm one of those looking on from the outside, and my reaction and thoughts are exactly what you are voicing here. This may very well be the end.

I really came here because of this thread Odd request for help? where I found it improper to answer. Courtney and Vikki used "disturbing" and "scary". May I add "repulsive".
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2004, 12:23 PM
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Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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This is long...

Just my views on children and makeup and, uh... dogs, not all related to retouching. They are also conflicting ideas and I can't necessarily resolve them. Life is that way for me. This also rambles on so read for curiosity, not edification. ...if you want.


I have a six year old daughter in dance school. She loves dancing and performing and pretty much sings all day long whether anyone's listening or not. For her recitals and recital pictures, the dance school requires specific makeup styling... this weekend actually, I HAVE TO APPLY IT as her Mom won't be there for the photos. (I'm a commercial photographer by the way so I know a little bit about cosmetic styling but it galls me to make up my daughter for another (portrait) photographer.)

Anyway, it makes me flinch when I see my daughter made up for these recitals and I can't wait for her to take it off... but she loves it. She's into Brittany Spears, the Cheetah Girls, Barbie and the like and she is all girl. I used to believe this was a nurture thing but now I believe it to be predominantly nature. She has always been encouraged to try just about anything, soccer, tree climbing, lego, blablabla.
So, the upshot of that is, I like my little girl as her natural self but she likes to mimic the hyper-doll, supermodel types and I generally don't discourage it... I don't discourage her from playing with trucks and swords either but then, she never wants to play with trucks and swords. Her step-sister, also six, likes trucks and swords, so does her brother... go figure.

When we shoot fashion, we bring in a pro stylist and the models, male or female, always look completely different when they are made up. In person they look downright plastic. Make-up styling is really interesting and technically sophisticated; it facinates me. Seeing an adult made up doesn't trigger a flinch... but then, they aren't my daughter or son either.
I prefer my wife without makeup but we've done a couple of glamour shoots with her in the studio and in comes the stylist. The pictures simply look better. I shoot her candidly and those shots are better with no make-up. Like I said, conflicted.

Now, about pagents. To me, trying to pick the 'best' or 'most beautiful' person, kid or otherwise is absurd. It's like trying to pick a 'best' sunset or 'best' song. It's different for different people at different times. Subjective competition is just a continuation of the popularity thing that starts in elementary school... I hate it. It would seem to me that by placing your child in such a competition is a setup for heartbreak.

About Glamming photos professionally. With people, I've not gone further than removing blemishes and retouching eye highlights.
With dogs... now, with dogs, show dogs that is... I've done a fair amount of glamming in Photoshop. I've got a collection of hairbrushes, custom photoshop brushes for retouching dog hair, like you wouldn't believe. I mean, you can't exactly retouch a Poodle with a brush made for Briards.
Show dog owners are indeed normal people who, when it comes to their dogs, radically transform into the characters in the movie Best in Show. That is not an exageration. They do not have limits with respect to making a dog look like they think it ought to look. My biggest paying retouch jobs are dog show magazine ads... 10 hours at $75 per is typical. These are not ads for stud by the way, they are just ads, one or two full pages typically, just to expose a particular dog to the judges repeatedly. It's amazing! Ad expenses for a champion dog run over $2000 per month. I'm told some owners with multiple champion dogs spend well over $50,000 per month advertising in several magazines every month.
...I don't flinch, I give the customer what they want.

If you are a retoucher and a customer wants you to glam an eight year old, human or dog, you shouldn't flinch; you should give them what they want. The ethics are up to them. You are a musician playing an instrument, the audience picks the song. That is the difference between pro and amateur, the market. Amateurs get to do what they want and love to do, their creations are not market driven. Pro's do what the customer wants them to do, they do what the market leads them to do.
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2004, 12:51 PM
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Hi Chip,

This was ... interesting. I've just "come from" a thread in another forum where the person who started the thread was in my - and most other members' - opinion simply wrong, and was unable to see any other point of view than his own.

Why do I start off like that? Because I'd like to say "I understand everything you write, and sympathize", but that statement sounds so hollow to me right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Hildreth
Pro's do what the customer wants them to do, they do what the market leads them to do.
This is the only statement where I beg to differ. It is actually possible to say to a customer "I do not want your business. Please go somewhere else." I know; I have done it. I'm also fully aware that it's nice to be able to eat

Dog brushes - WOW!
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  #19  
Old 04-22-2004, 06:22 PM
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Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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Thank you and I actually agree with your disagreement.

I wasn't so much trying make a statement about professionals only doing it a certain way or to say that one would never turn down work on principle.

It's pretty interesting because I had included a statement about non-professional retouchers often being more skillful than pros because they are doing what they enjoy and are motivated by more than money... but I deleted it because the post was just too long already.

Shifting from amateur photographer to professional has degraded my motivation and ability to shoot for personal enjoyment. The show dog work is interesting because of the challenge as well as the money. I get personal satisfaction from understanding the wants and needs of a client and then engineering a solution to give it to them. I view it as a skill in itself which I work to develop. Customers are tricky! For me, it's THE major difference in photography for pleasure and photography for hire.

If a client asked me to shoot a glammed up kid for a pagent image I think I would hesitate, quote a high, high rate and, if they were still game, I would do the shoot. Basically expecting them to pay me more for doing work that I don't like. I still believe the ethical question is ultimately in their hands.

I'm not wealthy and money is a motivating factor.
Again, a conflict I can't readily resolve.

Briard brushes are the most fun...

Take care.
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  #20  
Old 04-28-2004, 09:00 AM
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grafx grafx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Hildreth
I'm not wealthy and money is a motivating factor.
Boy don't I know it. One of my collegues says I should get a tattoo on my hip of a coin slot because when push comes to shove I just grin and state the phrase "coin-operated"

I'm actually a graphic designer, but in my geographic location job pickings are slim and I don't think I will ever see a salary over 30k again. Sad, sad thing after over 4 years experience and a couple degrees. I do retouch work on the side and the pageant work is plentiful. I have found sleep is not an option when there is money to be made.

BTW, I think your work is going to the dogs.... ::grinz:: Sorry couldn't help it. Seriously sounds like some excrutiating fun though.
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