Photoshop Disasters That Have Made the News

There really is no excuse for a major corporation appearing in the news due to dodgy Photoshopping – and yet it happens all time. Not only that but often newspapers themselves are guilty of bad editing!

If you want your images to appear professional then make sure you know how to use Photoshop. Silicon Beach Training provides a range of Adobe Photoshop Training Courses, perhaps if some of these companies had sent their staff on our Advanced Photoshop Training Course they wouldn’t have made national news for bad Photoshop decisions.

Here are our Top 5 Photoshop disasters that have made the news:

Microsoft Racism Claims

Microsoft racist photo

Photo – BBC

Microsoft decided that their original image of an Asian man, a black man and a white woman was unsuitable for the Polish market and so replaced the black man with a white man. However, they forgot to do change the hands.

Why Microsoft didn’t decide to just take a new photo is strange. Circulating two adverts with different faces was always going to be noticed in modern times of global communication. Not only have they lost face for poor editing but have also sparked a racism row over why they removed the black man in the first place.

Even if there was a really good reason for just editing the original photo you would have thought a global computing giant would have the expertise to change hands as well as faces.

BP Oil Spill

BP oil spill clean up photoshop disaster

Photo – Telegraph

This is one of a number of doctored photos that appeared on BP’s website during the clean up of their oil spill. These edits were strange as they don’t really add anything to the photo. Does it really matter if the helicopter is in the air or on a platform? Why enhance the dashboard when it actually shows that the helicopter is on the ground? Other photos were enhanced to show details on screens in an effort to make BP seem more active in their clean up but poor Photoshop skills meant the edits were clear even to the untrained eye.

Those responsible were quickly told by BP to stop with their dodgy Photoshopping.

Hosni Mubarak takes the lead

Mubarak takes the lead photoshop disasters

Photo – Alex Wong/ Getty

State-run Egyptian newspaper Al-Aham decided the then President Hosni Mubarak deserved to be at the front of a group of leaders during Middle East peace talks. Within the year Mubarak was ousted from government and charged with offences committed as President. This isn’t the first edit for political gain (and won’t be the last) but once again shows that these practices are quickly found out on the internet.

Shiseido model loses leg

Shiseido missing leg photoshop disaster

Photo – Photoshop Disasters

One of the worst examples of photo manipulation in advertising. Japanese beauty product company Shiseido apparently produced this image for ‘press material’ and not for ‘use in advertisements’ but it begs the question why it was ever produced and how somebody didn’t notice the leg sticking out the rock. Not only that but there’s a phantom hand next to the raised foot which if attached the woman’s shoulder gives her an incredibly long arm.

Philippine officials fabricate clean up photo

Floating DPWH philipine officials photoshop disaster

Photo –

Last on our list is another failure at producing photos illustrating a clean-up attempt. Here we have officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the Philippines surveying the aftermath of a typhoon. There are a number of problems with the quick cut and paste job as the man on the left appears to be hovering in mid air, the man on the right looking comfortable on tip toes and two of the men even appear in the background walking away.

It turns out the officials did in fact visit the site and the photo was quickly taken down from the DPWH Facebook and replaced with a real one. Spokespersons blame the photographer and say they had nothing to do with the composite photo.

The DPWH photo is similar to that reported on by the Daily Mail in which three Chinese officials were badly Photoshopped inspecting a road. Both photos have led to a host of spoof creations such as these. You know that you’ve really messed up on Photoshop when somebody makes a parody cake (yes this is real):

DPWH cake

What can we learn from these mistakes?

  • Make sure your editing is good enough to go unnoticed.
  • Don’t release an edited photo if the original is in circulation – somebody will notice!
  • Take the best photo to start with – it is easier to work on a good photo than having to do serious manipulation to a bad one.

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Aaron Charlie

Aaron Charlie is a Creative Design & IT expert at Silicon Beach Training. Connect with Aaron on Google+

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