Joshua Sundquist: Real or Photoshopped?

Do you think this photo comparison currently doing the rounds on twitter is fake? Well so did I when I first saw it. Looks a little “fake”, right? In fact, someone in a forum calling herself “a professional expert in Photoshop” vouched for this photo’s fake-ness.

Turns out the photo is real. The guy you see here is Joshua Sundquist, a well known motivational speaker (go figure), and former downhill skiing champion.

You can see Joshua explaining the story behind this photo in the following video. The Photoshop discussion starts at 3:12 (if you want to skip the motivational story):

[youtube_sc url=cjjUImmrB3E width=520]

So, since this is a photography blog instead of a motivational blog, why did I post this? Well I can see a few take-home messages in this photo and video:

  • Don’t be to quick to call yourself a “professional Photoshop expert” or you might end up having to eat your words and look like a fool.
  • If you want to make striking “before and after” photo comparisons, be sure to make the “before” in an unflattering environment with your model sad, badly posed, and ungroomed. Then make the “after” photo in a studio with professional lighting, nice muslin backdrop, good pose and a happy expression.
  • If you record yourself talking on youtube, you can get away with a mundane backdrop (like your kitchen). Just throw it out of focus with a large aperture lens and record with your DSLR – like in the video above.
  • If using a bright light directly at the camera position, it may give your eyes an unnatural maniacal glint in your video (see video above). And no, those are not contacts.