Extreme Photo Makeover: Chili Dog Edition

Retouched Chili Dog

Retouched Chili Dog

Let’s take a good look at this chili dog. Actually, let’s take a look at what this chili dog represents… and we’re not referring to stained t-shirts, sporting events, or American eating habits. Believe it or not, we’re convinced that you can learn a few valuable design lessons via this image’s transition from humble dish to chili-cheesy perfection. All joking aside, we’ve gathered a few insights that we believe anyone involved in business or marketing will find valuable.

#1 – Money spent on quality photography is a wise investment.

The better the images are to begin with, the less time we have to spend manipulating them. Based on that, it seems like a no-brainer that people would start with a good photo. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you’re trying to save money by using a less-experienced photographer, or you’re still reusing images from a three-year-old photoshoot, we highly recommend you rethink your photography strategy. Also, we’d like to remind you that snapping a photo on your phone or pulling an image off a Google search can also be problematic when it comes to using it in a design layout. But let’s not forget that Photoshop exists to “fix” these issues, right? That brings us to lesson number two.

#2 – Designers can work miracles with Photoshop… sorta.

You’ve probably seen sped-up videos that show amazing before and after photoshopping feats. Don’t get us wrong, those are great examples of Photoshop magic. Unfortunately though, more often than not, utilizing a Photoshop magician is a rather inconvenient, costly strategy that should be reserved for “game six” situations. If a metaphorical playoff isn’t on the line, you might consider other options before you assign someone a hefty photoshopping project. And so, although a designer can be the determining factor of whether your product looks good or great, don’t think that makes it perfectly okay to use suboptimal images. Bottom line: There’s a substantial difference in the quality and cost of paying a designer to salvage a low-quality photo, rather than paying them to polish up a high-quality one.

#3 – Tech magic hasn’t surpassed reality.

Perhaps someday virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and images built completely in Photoshop will all be the norm… but we’re not quite there. The real fate of a photo’s quality is still determined in the nanoseconds between a photographer pressing the shutter button and the image being captured for all of eternity. To produce the image a client desires, time will always be a factor, no matter what. Either time must be spent properly setting up the shoot, or time must be spent afterward, correcting the images on the screen. However, when it comes to producing high-quality images, most professionals will tell you that there’s no substitute for good lighting, an experienced photographer, and a skilled creative director.

All that from a hotdog? A chili dog, to be specific, and yes. Imagine what we could do with a hamburger… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.