Calling the image an important addition to their collection, officials from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History announced Friday they have acquired a rare photograph where the whole Barlow family looks very nice. “The Smithsonian is proud to celebrate this exceptional and iconic 2014 vacation snapshot of the Barlow family in which Matthew, Karen, Joanna, and Bradley all have genuine smiles and no one is squinting or blinking…”
Perhaps it’s not as rare as that. But like most jokes, it’s funny because it’s at least partially true. It can be tough to get a single photo where everyone looks perfect. One child refuses to look at the camera. One person blinks. A gust of wind blows hair in front of someone’s eyes. The sun appears from out of the clouds and suddenly there’s a strange highlight or shadow on someone’s face.
How do we solve that problem? Usually, we solve it with patience and get a great shot in camera. But sometimes, a little Photoshop magic is in order. After a quick face swap from one photo to another, and some light retouching, we can make a perfect family photograph that we know the Smithsonian will want to acquire.