Photographers have used terms like "touchups" and "air brushing" to talk about "improving" a picture.
CBS News This Morning's Field Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart looks at cutting-edge digital technology, that opens up a whole new bag of tricks for professional photographers.
Photography has always been improved on. Many an artist has made a living spending painstaking hours painting over unflattering wrinkles or waistlines to make fashion models or movie stars look even better than they do in real life.
But with today's technology, it's cheaper, quicker and perhaps even better for the environment.
With new technology developed at Peer 59 Studios in New York City, a beautiful Italian fashion model can look even better, says co-owner Marco Graviano, a photographer in his own right.
His studio handles high-fashion photography. The technique he uses is only a few months old.
The tools of the trade remain almost the same. There are still the various lenses and Graviano still uses the same camera.
But a hookup from the camera to a computer does away with the need for both film and developing.
And a creative photographer can push the envelope with some digital tricks.
For example, several images can be printed in a sequence - on one sheet.
"If you have somebody moving, you keep shooting, bang, bang, bang, for two hours without stopping. We have about now 7,200 images in this picture. The final print is going to be about 14 feet by 9 feet," he explains.
But the true test of his new technology is what it can do for a series of photos of Diaz-Balart dancing.
After the shooting, there are no darkrooms, no chemicals; all shots are instantly available and Graviano starts editing on the spot.
"Let's say you have a client in England. You take this picture, send [it to] them over the Internet. They can call us back and say yes or no, change the background," he says.
Next he brings Diaz-Balart's best shots to Tonino Fedale, who used to be one of Italy's best touchup artists. Today he's one of America's best digital specialists.
"Here the big jump; he looks like a dancer. Now we're going to make him thinner," Fedales says.
He softens his skin, whitens his eyes and eliminates the lines on neck and eyes. He can even give Diaz-Balart more hair. And to start erasing the microphone, he clones a section of his T-shirt.
To make Diaz-Balart a slim dancer, it takes about 15 minutes on the computer instead of the four hours it might have taken by hand.
Fedale gave him longer legs and added muscle, giving Diaz-Balart yet another excuse to avoid the gym.
These days, almost everything you see in print and fashion is touched up.
Those striving to look as slim or perfect as their favorite model or actress should remember: At least part of it is always an illusion.
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