Working photographers will get crazy Photoshop requests from time to time, but it seems Megan Kelly is getting more than most after rising to fame for her ‘What People Asked Me To Edit’ video series.
In the outrageous series, Kelly details demands such as; take out my ex boyfriend, add my deceased grandparent, make me skinnier, remove all people from the tourist place, etc. But the portrait and wedding photographer tells PetaPixel that nothing disturbs her anymore.
“I understand what it’s like to have something small bother you in the picture and everyone has different things they’re bothered about, and I have the skills to help them,” Kelly says.
@the.lightseeker Another day in the life #photoshop #speededits #photoshopediting #photoshopskills #photoshoptiktok #beforeafter #editing #lifeofaphotographer #fyp ♬ edamame – bbno$
@the.lightseeker I promise it’s actually his jacket. #photoshop #beforeafter #bys #photoshopediting #photoshopskills #photoshoptiktok #editing #funny #nudebeach #retoucher #retouching ♬ original sound – Megan Kelly
However, it’s not all fun and games. Some requests Kelly received were due to a serious incident.
“I had a bride who asked me to remove one of the groomsmen from all of the wedding footage because he had sexually assaulted his sister the night before.
“The edits were really tricky and complex because he was trying a lot to be the center of attention, but I managed to get him out of them.
“I didn’t post that of course, I don’t post unless I have permission and things like that are really sensitive to people even if the editing is interesting.”
@the.lightseeker Another day in my life haha #photoshop #beforeafter #editing #photoshoptutorial #photoshopediting #speedart #photoshoptiktok #controversial #editor ♬ original sound – Megan Kelly
@the.lightseeker Welcome to my daily work haha #photoshop #speededit #speedart #funny #fyp #beforeafter #photoshopediting #photoshopskills #photoshopper #makeitepic ♬ Oh no I hope I don’t fall… – IndieHay
Kelly started the show in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic after having a slow season with people staying at home, so she decided to try a new social media platform called TikTok.
“I wanted to release something that was different from everyone else, something that would stand out. I tried to think about what people thought was cool about my photography and I actually remember most people sitting over my shoulder in awe watching me ride,” Kelly explains.
“People have been doing it for years and always saying how fast and good I was. I mean I don’t really understand, it’s just me editing.
“But I knew it was different from others, so I tried to post some edits that I do that most photographers don’t do, and it quickly hit a million views.
“So I just went on and saved and posted random things that I edit while going through my photos.”
Kelly thinks it’s not only entertaining to watch, but also enlightens the layman that not everything they see can be believed.
“It also opened up opportunities for people to send me their images to edit if they come across anything tricky.
“This is taking SO MUCH of my time that maybe I should stop doing it, but I really try to respond to everyone’s messages, even though there are hundreds every time I post a video on things that people ask me to change.”
@the.lightseeker My instagram has more of my finished images if you’d rather see them! Go to my bio! #photoshop #beforeafter #bts #photoshopediting #photoshopskills #photoshoptiktok #photoshoptricks #utahphotographer #weddingphotographer #elopementphotographer ♬ piccolo – bbno$
Kelly, based near Salt Lake City, has been photographing weddings and portraits for 10 years and wants people to know that it’s perfectly okay to be a photographer who doesn’t do these types of retouching.
Ethics in publishing
“There are always those people who think (and comment on TikTok) that the image editing is ‘wrong’ or ‘not even an image anymore’ or ‘fake’ or ‘not authentic’,” she says.
“My husband said it in a beautiful way, he loves my epic style and my editing tricks because it makes the footage make you feel what you did while filming.
“I want them to look at the image and feel the happiness, the adventure and the happiness of our session and their time with their loved ones, not to look at the image and see a group of tourists there. back, or their dress was wrinkled or their hair had a bunch of flyaways.
@the.lightseeker Wedding Edition! These are a few that I edited recently. #speedart #photoshop #edit #retoucher #photoshopediting #photoshopskills #photoshopskills #photoshoptiktok #adobe #adobephotoshop #beforeafter ♬ original sound – Megan Kelly
@the.lightseeker #photoshop #editing #beforeandafter #beforeafter #speededit #speedart #photoshopediting #photoshopskills #photoshoptiktok #photoshopper #photoshop ♬ Dance Monkey (Instrumental) – Tami Jones
“Most of my edits are actually minor and I never change people to be totally different from who they are. I just remove the little things that might distract them from that feeling. That emotional connection to the session.
To learn more about Kelly’s work, visit her website, TikTok, and Instagram.
Picture credits: All photos by Megan Kelly