Singer Colbie Caillat Rejects Photoshopped Perfection in New Music Video and Album


Receiving a lot of praise today is musician Colbie Caillat, who is using her newest EP and music video to speak out against the undue pressure that Photoshopped and make-up-made perfection puts on all women.

At the center of the anti-Photoshop message is Caillat’s music video and lyric video for the song “Try,” in which she encourages people to “take [their] make-up off” and “let [their] hair down.”

The main music video features Caillat and others stripping away layers of makeup. At one point, the singer becomes ‘un-Photoshopped’ as her pores magically reappear during a closeup:

The lyric video takes it a step further. She asked celebrity friends of hers to send her photographs with as little makeup on as they felt comfortable with, and no post-processing done.

She met with quite a bit of resistance to the idea, but eventually convinced many to show their less-than-perfect (read: realistic) side:

Both the videos focus mostly on make up and hair, but in order to do this idea justice, Caillat had to eschew the use of Photoshop as well. She tells Elle that this particular album cover is completely un-Photoshopped, despite the pressure she and others in the industry face to quite literally look perfect:

When I see gorgeous models and singers and they look perfect on their album covers, it makes me want to look like that, too, and it makes me feel like if I don’t Photoshop my skin on my album cover, I’m the one who’s going to look a little off and everyone else is going to look perfect. And that’s what everyone is used to seeing.

They’re used to seeing people on the album covers completely Photoshopped. On one of my album covers, my arm was shaved down and it made me look very skinny. I think that gives a false reality.

Here’s a look at the Photoshop-free album cover for Gypsy Heart:


The album and song both deliver a positive, empowering message that isn’t focused on vilifying Photoshop, but instead encouraging people to be comfortable in their own skin. And what’s more, Caillat herself is leading the charge by example. It’s no wonder she is receiving so much praise — it’s well deserved.

You can read more of Caillat’s thoughts on Photoshop in the full Elle interview here.

(via Elle)

  • ReinoldFZ .

    She looks beautiful as every woman in real life.

  • Colin Smith

    so how they they convert the photo to black and white without Photoshop or a photoshop like application? It’s easy to hide blemishes on a black and white conversion, just reduce the blue channel.

  • OtterMatt

    I’m pretty “meh” over this. It’s a hot-button issue. You hit the hot-button, you get media praise and a sales boost from the potential controversy. It’s not like hiding skin blemishes is a new idea, just look at the orient and middle east over 5000 years ago.

  • nerdbomber

    I’m curious to see if her future album photos will be un-photoshopped as well. Time will tell.

  • Chang He

    I’m sure they shot it on Tri-X with an M3 and a 50mm Summicron. ;-)

  • Colin Smith

    Even if it was, they still have to convert it to a digital file for printing, everything is DTP these days, none does film and color keys anymore. you can’t get away from Photoshop. Maybe Photoshop isn’t the problem? Maybe its bad retouching and programs like Portrait Professional?

  • Guest

    yeah, if she had a severe acne problem like many woman do, she wouldn’t be doing this, just saying.

  • Colin Smith

    yeah, if she had a severe acne problem like many woman do, she might not be championing this “cause”.

  • TN

    i wonder what skin care products she uses, and whether or not she considers that part of the process.. BECAUSE!!! the models that we work with all have some sort of skin care regimen, that goes beyond the normal washing of the face that most people engage in.. which is encouraged, as it reduces the reliance on heavy makeup applications, as well as the time put into post processing..

    also, it’s easier for someone like her, who is fortunate to possess natural beauty, to say that they’re taking a stand against “that Photoshopped and make-up-made perfection puts on all women.”

  • Chang He

    I was being sarcastic. But if you insist on taking me seriously, I’ll add that I’m sure Miss Caillat’s convictions are deep enough that she insisted her record company dust off the old equipment and directly print the covers from the negative, without dodging or burning in the darkroom.

  • ReinoldFZ .

    Yep, a lot of women have several acne problems. And what? She is presented as a singer, not a model.
    What do you do when you are in front of a girl that has acne in her face? Do you take a photograph of her and after that you Photoshop it to talk to her? FWIW I have 18% of my skin burned till second degree and third degree in some spots and I haven’t nor wouldn’t photoshop it to meet your standards of beauty.

  • Colin Smith

    I knew you were joking, I just wanted to rant more ;) Thats what I love about online communication, the silly faces and body language are missing, which makes communication harder. ;)

  • Chang He

    It does, indeed. All the best.

  • concertshooter

    I’ve photographed her a few times so I decided to look at the photos I’ve done with her in the past. Zoomed in, there are barely any normal imperfections (perfectly imperfect). I guess I’m not one to look at normal things like that. She’s shy and reserved but is very comfortable in front of a camera and has a glowing personality which makes her so genuine.

  • moonbase2

    Your anger is appreciated and can never be completely understood. I still think that Guest brings up a good point. These people are in this business for a reason. And please don’t think for one second that curves, levels, masks, colorists, etc, oops forgot makeup artists weren’t involved here. This is coming from a single Father and fat guy that deals with rejection CONSTANTLY due to my size. I’m sure you know that with some effort I can change my size but you can’t change what you brought up here, but discrimination runs rampant everywhere in this world. Being nice about things is a good step towards stopping it. I recent;y was yelled at here for pointing out that someone was shooting in program mode LOL. Maybe Petapixel is secretly a place to start difficult conversations on any level. Much love to you ReinoldFZ!

  • ReinoldFZ .

    Thanks for the kind words moonbase2. I am not against processing photographs, I use photo ninja to my raws for example. I am against to don’t tell the truth. To flatten tummies, to erase pores, to add volume to breasts, etcetera. That the photograph is not an interpretation of the reality but a recreation of it.

  • Mr Hogwallop

    This brings up the question of how much sweetening and audio post was done on her music…Did all the band play together in one take? Were there multi track or layers in the final mix? Probably not autotuned but there are ways to improve and polish the final output…
    Just wondering.

  • Kynikos

    Nice publicity stunt. Doesn’t hurt that she’s easy on the eyes for starters.

    Makes me wonder about a lot of these singers/actresses: if they don’t look great to start with, how much tougher is it to get noticed?

  • Rob S

    Bravo but……she happens to be one of a very lucky few who can manage this. So congrats for winning the genetic lottery but for the remaining 99.9997% of the population, bring on the make up and post.

  • moonbase2

    My how your tone has changed… can I now post something angry about your incredibly fallible grammar? “I am against to don’t tell the truth. “

  • Guest

    Didn’t a European band do this last year?

  • Chris Pickrell

    Why is it celebrities do these sorts of things after they become famous and have a substantial following, but never when they’re starting their career?

  • MacMan

    Natural beauty is always a winner for me :)

  • Willi Kampmann

    I have no doubt that extensive make-up and photoshopping in the media creates an illusion of beauty that can’t be reached by normal people and is therefore very harmful to our self-confidence.

    However, when of all people a *beautiful* person says she doesn’t need that, somehow that doesn’t really make me feel better, but in fact worse. I don’t see how this would possibly be empowering for genetically less fortunate people, i.e. almost everyone outside of the visual 1% elite.

  • Devorah Kaye Goldstein

    yep, she’s doing it old school. because before photoshop, we never had the ability to retouch all this stuff out. oh, wait…

  • James

    Probably just until the fad is over.

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  • ReinoldFZ .

    Of course, English is not my native language, so if you can point my error then I’ll learn something new.