When I first came across the Face Cam App for iPhone on iTunes it came highly recommended and as I love a good photography App I decided to pay the $0.99 and try it out. The features looked promising and I was excited by an app that seemed quick and simple to use. However I really wasn’t expecting how completely unrecognisable the photos could become with only just a few tweeks (their Photo Makeover App is even worse) so I thought I’d share with you the things I love (and disagree with) about Face Cam but before I start I want to show you how to use it.
You’re asked to either take a photo or choose from your photo album. I always recommend taking a photo with the original iPhone camera app then go and apply that photo into other applications so your original is always saved. I’ve chosen one taken yesterday in the car and it automatically detects my face and applies features points. These don’t always line up exactly but you can manually move the points with your finger and once that’s done just click “apply”.
Then it’s going to ask you to select a level of flash/brightness to be applied to your photo. Just like with a normal camera, the level of flash needed is going to be dependant on your photo’s surroundings and the distance away from the camera when the photo was taken. As I was in the car with uneven light falling across my forehead and chest I chose to add “normal” which in most cases is more than enough, too much and you risk “burning” the photo. A term coined from chemical processing days when additional light was exposed and all the little details (for example freckles) where overpowered and bleached out. In this case, bye bye bags under the eyes, hello porcelain skin!
Whilst playing with lighting and adjusting the level of exposure is fun, flattering and just a little bit cheeky, it was the Face Enhancement portion that threw me. You have the option of male or female presets and this is what comes up when you select female. The eyes are widened, the skin smoothed and brightened and the best part of all is that you can change the shape of your face… are you kidding me?
Notice how it automatically sets it to skinny… as a default! Even an app knows that women harbour issues about their weight and it indulges us in providing a tool to ALTER OUR FACES. It mocks us with “Hey, see how good you look without that other chin? Let’s share this with your friends and make them jealous over your skinny hotness, they’ll all think you’ve lost weight for sure.” … Think I’m wrong?
This is a fake, a completely over edited photo using Face Cam and posted on Instagram as a social experiment. This is my most liked, most commented portrait I’ve ever published on Instagram and whilst that should make me pleased and excited… it kind of made me feel sad. This airbrushed, squished, brightened and eye popping photo was done on all the extreme settings… and you loved it. This is how you thought I looked at my best, my most unreal, fabricated best. When did this kind of beauty become more valuable and publicly applaudable than the original?
There is a button on the app that lets you revert to the original image during editing and switching between the two blew me away. I often wonder if my original image would have been received with as much enthusiasm. When glancing at the photos side by side it’s easy to assume that the edits are small but notice the lines in my neck removed, even the shape of it is altered. The stretch marks on my cleavage are gone, the pimples on my forehead removed, my cheekbones more defined and even the shadows under my eyes and around my nose are gone. My eyelids have been raised to stretch my eye and both the eyes and teeth have been brightened… all with an app that takes mere seconds to use, no special skills required.
As a Vanity Blogger I’m keenly aware that apps like Face Cam are appreciated and have their place in the market. I use this app almost everyday and not just for “selfies” but also for still life shots and photos of Aidan as I like the brightening and smoothing options as well as the app’s Camera Filters. I like my Instagram photos to be bright and engaging and Face Cam’s Vivid filter allows me to enhance the colours without needing to add a filter on Instagram which usually has a frame around it, something I’m not particularly keen on. You could say it was like Lightroom for my iPhone.
I think Face Cam is a great app and a useful tool for a blogger using Instagram or other sharing platforms. What I think we need to be mindful of as users, is that the impression we put out to the world always reflects back. If blogging communities and those using social media (even right up to fashion labels, magazines and marketing companies) remove the “realness” from our online world and continue to warp the views of the public, we are setting our children up for failure.
They will grow to see that no matter who they are, how they look or the personality they exude will be enough to be considered “perfect” or worthy. Let’s not kid ourselves, their world will be drenched in online activities, they will be more connected than we can even fathom. My fear is that perception will rank higher than personality and truth, that the dream will outweigh the reality.
When it comes to fashion, especially high fashion I’m lenient. They sell an illusion, a fantasy that rips us out of our current reality and places our minds (and wallets) into the realms of possibility, no matter how far fetched but when it comes down to it we know it’s not real. I do agree that glossy overly photoshopped images in magazines are unnecessary but I understand “selling a dream” is a part of life, no matter which industry you choose to apply it to. What bloggers, tweeters, facebookers and the everyday internet users have is the power to keep things real. We don’t need to sell a dream, all we need to do is share our reality, allow ourselves to be vulnerable and engaging.
I want my son to grow up seeing real beauty in all it’s forms, to be free to chase his own ideals of what beauty is to him without fear of social prosecution or to be blinded by societies superficial morals of what is “good” and “bad”. The way we use the internet today will reflect how our children use it in the future so please be mindful, even when just taking a simple self portrait. Remind yourself that your own personal truth is beautiful, soulful and much more engaging.
I want to know you as you are, not just the person
you think you’re meant to appear to be.
Please note: This was not a sponsored post, I didn’t get the App for free and to be honest I’m not even sure if Face Cam would like this post. As I stated I do use the app and I like it, I recommend it as it’s easy to use and the results can be great. I just don’t want people to go crazy and contemplate the idea of removing every wrinkle or double chin, they are a part of you and YOU are AWESOME just as you are!