The Scary Truth Behind The Insane Bodies You See On Instagram

Hello again, friends. This week we’re going to be tackling a new Photoshop issue. I’m going to show you how to edit a body shot. We’re going to do this two ways, like I did with my face edit. I’ll show you how to do v normal and easy adjustments first, then I’ll show you what the celebs/influencers do to make them have crazy body proportions. The reason I’m showing you this is so you fully understand how stupid/full of sh*t these edits are. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, you see online, on TV, in movies, in magazines, is real life.

So here’s the body pic of me that we’re working with today:

In case you’re wondering, I am 5’8, ~145 lbs. I have the body of someone who works out but definitely eats carbs. In pizza form. Often. Also, yes, I still have my belly button pierced although I am well aware it’s no longer 2006.

Moving on. So normally, I would never, ever Photoshop my body—or really, my photos in general. The most I do is fix red eye, lighting, or clean up a background. I always think if something is solvable without editing, do that first. Like, wear clothes that fit, put concealer on your acne if you’re feeling self-conscious about it, etc. But I’m going to show you how easy it is to edit photos, so let’s do it.

Keep in mind these celebs use Facetune often, which makes this process even easier (although it does have giveaways that it’s been used). It’s also easier with high quality images, which this picture obviously is not.

Okay, first things first, I’m going crop out some of my weird entry way, and fix the lighting. Lighting can be done quickly by going to Image>Auto Tone, Image>Auto Contrast, and Image>Auto Color. Play with them a bit to see what lighting works. For me, my white suit is looking a little gray, probably because I didn’t bother washing it with whites (whoops), so I’m going to adjust the contrast to make it pop more.

TBH, I think I made the graying worse? I will just fix it later.

So, I’m wearing a swimsuit (from AMAZON, btw) that actually fits, having recently purged all my XS Victoria’s Secret swimwear from high school and bought new stuff. However, I always err on the side of extreme caution and buy things a little bigger than it should be. This normally works well, especially for swimsuits, because I don’t like having the sides cut into my body. However, you can see here that it’s also giving me some crotch fabric bunching (cute). This is the first thing I noticed that was not super flattering with this pic, so let’s fix it.

My last edit article was SUPER LONG, so I’m going to move this one faster. If you need more thorough Photoshop instruction, read that one. The first thing I always do is duplicate the layer. Unlock the original layer, hit CTRL+J and it will make a copy. We do this so you can see what you’ve changed and go back to the original if you mess up something. Then I grab the smudge tool.

And I literally just draw over my weird crotch lines and they blend out. It’s that easy.

Now that we’re already using the smudge tool, I’m also going to smudge out some minor imperfections: the lines on my stomach from my high-waisted workout pants I was wearing before I took this photo, lines on my bikini top where you can see the pads in it, a few bruises on my legs, cellulite by my knees, weird lighting lumps on my calves, etc. I can smudge it all out in seconds. You can really smudge anything—this is what Facetune does. So people will smudge their entire bodies over to make themselves look thinner, leaving the background all curved and wonky. Don’t do that. As you’ve probably figured out from my articles, it is VERY OBVIOUS.

If you look closely, I’m already getting the “airbrush” effect, because smudging ruins the integrity of the information in the image.

From here, I’m going to grab my Dodge/Burn tool, which you may remember from my last article. This time, I’m going to Dodge (highlight) my swimsuit to make it white again. I’m also going to highlight parts of my body, burn in some shadows for muscle definition, and draw in fake abs with the Burn tool. I’m literally just amping up highlights and shadows to make it look like I actually went to the gym this week.

“Wow,” you say to yourself, scrolling through my Instagram. “Holly looks cut af. She must be hitting the gym.” You forget that I’m a diabolical Photoshop genius and also this sh*t was too easy. Way easier than, you know, actually eating less and hitting the gym more.

This is a pretty easy “basic” fix, if I was like a model in a photoshoot for a company that isn’t terrible. But LET’S PRETEND I’m an influencer. And instead of working out and eating nothing, I’m just gonna Photoshop myself instead. It’s about to get DARK, guys. But I think it’s important that you see how easy this is.

My fake abs are okay, but let’s make me smaller. WAY smaller. And give me scary Barbie proportions, like the rest of the influencers out there. I select my body, press CTRL+J to make it into a new layer, hit CTRL+T to transform, hold down Shift and drag my width in to 90% of what it was. We must leave the giant head, of course.

And this sh*t is bleak. I have the v popular bobble head look.

Now, all I need to do is erase out the hard edges of my new body with a soft eraser, and copy the background (CTRL+J) to hide what I’ve done. So. Easy. You’ll notice that when I made my body smaller, the jackets in the background also doubled—they have patterned duplicate lines. This is a HUGE giveaway that this photo was edited that celebrities forget about all the time. This is how we get too many fingers, wonky stairs, etc. That and the clone stamp tool, which I’m not really using today. But I’m a pro, so I know to fix the jackets. I also know to fix the floor and the bags behind me. A duplicated strap would totally give me away. You’ll also notice the baseboard behind me got a bit warped. I’ll erase that out too.

This photo really freaks me out, btw. Now that we’ve made me smaller, let’s make my chest bigger. Because, that’s what you do when you’re **FAMOUS**.

Which was too easy, because I just erased out the boobs on my new, smaller body layer to reveal the old layer. They look huge on my sad, 90% body.

Okay, THIS is creepy. I would also like to point out that the same way I made my body smaller could have been used to make my body bigger. Or breasts bigger. Or ass bigger. This is how the celebs do it, and it’s even easier with the apps, although it’s not as clean. Again, these edits are taking me SECONDS each. It’s taking me longer to just save each stage and upload it to this article than actually do it.

But let’s make this worse. What else do celebs have? Even TEENIER waists? YES. I’m going to select part of the background near my body on the original layer, CTRL+J to duplicate it, drag it above the body layer, and put it over my waist. Like this:

And then just erase out the waist I want. It’s that easy. I’m using a hard brush on the body side and a soft brush to match the grays to the old background. This is why I comment on a body losing HARD edges. The original edges are obvious. When they don’t have them, it’s usually because some sh*t like this went down. Especially if it’s a white background, they can just cut into the body without matching the background colors. And then I just repeat on the other side of my waist. If I was a real pro (hi), I may even grab the Burn tool to add an edge back in.

It’s okay guys, I don’t need ribs or organs, I’m **PRETTY** now. Legit, I’m a f*cking monster. To  me, this is a HORRIBLY done edit because while it has no “tells”, it defies basic anatomy. But I see this sh*t ALL THE TIME on Instagram. Also? Did you notice that I had to get rid of a lot of shadows on my waist and arm? This is why I point these things out in my Photoshop Fail articles. The arm was touching my original stomach, so part of it had to go.

But guys, I am not even scary enough yet. Let’s use the exact same process to give me the coveted THIGH GAP. Copy the background and erase out.

Which? I don’t understand why anyone finds a thigh gap attractive? You can’t do anything with a thigh gap? Is it a sexy thing? I don’t get it.

I’d like to point out that anytime you see this weird square vagina, it’s probably been edited. It’s in basically any swimsuit ad, ever. Also, I remembered to Burn back in shadows AND copy the baseboard over which the Sloppy Sloppersons who usually do this sh*t never remember to do. Again, this has no obvious tells, it’s just anatomically unlikely.

Now my left thigh that’s being thrust forward looks a little too big next to the scary toothpick right leg I’ve created. Let’s fix that, same way I did the body.

THIS IS SO FREAKY. But literally, how many Instagram models look like this? *IT’S*NOT*REAL, and thank God it isn’t, because this bitch would not be able to stand properly without her giant head bringing her whole body down and breaking her toothpick legs. Also? Do you notice how the more I edit, I have less and less shadows and hard edges? Always look for the edges!

Also, I lost part of my knee because it was touching the other leg. I’m not even going to fix it.

How can we make it worse, you ask? Well. Let’s give me real abs.

I googled “abs women” and took a pic of some girl’s abs, changed the color in my Image settings to match, and erased out the edges. Took maybe six seconds?

Since we’re going for it, I could use some lips too.

But those don’t match, you shout! Until I adjust the color and erase the edges.

Those are Angelina Jolie’s lips, btw. Who even needs fillers?

Shall we give me a tan? I desperately need it.

Paint a color on with a soft brush. Change the layer to “color”. Bring the opacity down a smidge.

Instagram Model Holly just got back from the Caribbean. Probably. If I wasn’t just messing around, I’d have to fix the shadows and highlights, as they are too orange. But I don’t really care to bother with that now. Also? I forgot to mention? I’m VERY rich.

Kim K. and I have the same bathroom guy.

But in all seriousness, I hope this shows you how absolutely ridiculous these Barbie proportions that celebs and influencers feed us are, and how easy it is to do, and that it is not reality. So please, post your real pics with your real cellulite and your real body. Women need to see that every body is different it’s okay to have a normal-size head, ribs, and organs.

The internet is a scary place.

Holly Hammond
Holly Hammond
Holly is an ex-sorority girl with the personality of Elle Woods meets Wednesday Addams. She is an artist, writer, animator, and part-time magician. Her parents are v proud but also like to ask her when she's going to get a real job. Buy art from her so she can pay for her bulldog's dermatologist.