No, This Picture of the Royal Family Isn’t Photoshopped (It’s Just Odd)

Kate and William Christmas Card Photo

Kate Middleton and Prince William released their Christmas card photo of them posing with their children over the weekend which caused a stir after many accused them of a “Photoshop fail.”

This piqued our interest here at PetaPixel. However, upon closer inspection, the editorial team concluded that there is no photo editing failure, just a series of artistic decisions that led to it looking a bit strange.

The ‘Missing’ Finger

Immediately after the picture was posted to The Prince and Princess of Wales’ social media accounts, people quickly started highlighting Prince Louis’ fingers alleging that one is missing.

Crop of Prince Louis
A closer look at Prince Louis.

Looking at it close up, it does look like there’s a space in the middle of the Prince’s hand where a digit should be but that’s because of the way he is posing.

Spreading his four fingers over the arm of the chair — almost like he’s giving the Vulcan salute from Star Trek — gives the impression that the middle finger has gone but it’s not the case.

The index finger is partially obscured by the chair with his thumb completely out of sight. Hopefully, the Prince wasn’t made to pose like that for too long as it could be a bit painful.

The Legs

Prince Louis can’t catch a break here as people also commented that his legs don’t look like they belong to him.

At first glance, this looks correct, but that’s because it’s not immediately obvious the fourth in line to the throne is wearing shorts.

The monochrome doesn’t help here either because Prince William’s trouser leg is directly behind him and it’s impossible to distinguish between William’s trousers and Louis’ shorts. But again, no fail.

Further Evidence

PetaPixel’s editorial team did a bit of research on the photographer who took the image: Josh Shinner. It is obvious Shinner does not use much Photoshop, his portfolio is full of natural photos with true-to-life tones. There is nothing in his previous work that suggests he would start compositing layers in Photoshop.

Kate and William Christmas Card Photo

Any photographer who has done group shots knows that they are not easy to pull off. Unfortunately, the leg and hand placement of Prince Louis coupled with the black and white has made people question its authenticity.

Some online commenters were accusing it of being AI, which is somewhat understandable given the year we’ve had.

The muslin underneath the Royals’ feet is also crumpled and something of an unusual background choice. It led one American to remark: “Didn’t know they had a JC Penny’s photo studio in the U.K.”

Image credits:The Prince and Princess of Wales/Josh Shinner