Photoshop and lighting
The sad truth is that most before and after pictures of cellulite products and treatments are fake: they are either "photoshopped" or they are taken with nasty lighting “before” and “favourable lighting” after, in order to mislead customers.
Stolen "before and after" photos
Sometimes those pictures are actually stolen from unsuspecting competitors and displayed by the copyright thieves as their own. We have discovered several instances where our before and after cellulite pictures were stolen by other clinics and displayed on their website.When this happens, however, the most unfortunate thing is not so much the loss of intellectual property, but the fraud committed on that clinic’s clients, who pay for what they believe to be one treatment and they receive another.
Manufacturers' stock photos
Quite often, before and after pictures on a clinic’s website are not taken at that specific clinic and they are equipment manufacturer’s "stock" photos. Given that the success of most treatment depends 50% not the equipment used and 50% on the skill and knowledge of the practitioner, it is important to know if the pictures were taken at the clinic that will provide the treatment in London and not at another one thousands of miles away in Bogota...
How to tell fake from real
Unfortunately, unless you are a photographer, it is difficult to distinguish between fake and genuine photos. However, there are some simple tips on how to suss-out which before and after cellulite photos are fake and which are real:
- Rule number one (for everything in life): if it looks too good to be true, it is too good to be true. If cellulite looks horrible before and super smooth after, this is a definite sign of fraudulent before and after pictures.
- Look for different angle of shadows between the before and after pictures: if the shadows are different, the pictures are fake
- Look for harsh shadows on the before pictures and soft shadows on the after picture. If the shadows are softer on the after photos, the pictures are fake.
- If on the before picture there are shadows on the body and on the after picture there are none and the overall picture is brighter and with more contrast that means that unfavourable angled lighting has been used on the before photos and direct flash lighting (which typically covers all imperfections) has been used on the after photos.
- Sometimes the body on the after photos looks elongated in relation to the before photos. Obviously this is a very cheap trick whereby the after photo is squeezed on any image editing software. Despite it’s obviousness, it is amazing how many websites display such before and after photos.
A good photoshop technician can produce amazing and very realistic before and after photos, so in addition to examining the photos it is always a good idea to also examine how good the clinic and it’s therapists are. Since reviews can be faked too, you need to dig a bit deeper to find the truth and the best way to go about that is to ask straight questions and expect straight, honest answers:
- Ask the clinic directly if they can guarantee that their pictures are taken at their premises, to ensure that they are not stock photos from the manufacturers or “borrowed" from competitors
- Ask the clinic if they can guarantee that their photos are definitely photoshop-free
You may also ask questions about cellulite in general and see if they know what they are talking about:
- Do they specialise in cellulite (and if so, for how long?) or they do everything from massages to waxing to nail extensions?
- You may ask them questions relating to their equipment to figure out if they know what they are talking about. Are the answers science-based or do they sound like the usual marketing blurb mumbo jumbo you read in brochures and magazines?
- When you ask the about treatment effectiveness, do they promise you miracle results that sound too good to be true? This is almost always a sign that they are simply lying or that they just do got into the "business" of cellulite and do not know what they are talking about: miracle results do not exist with cellulite.
As a last resort, you may have to just try a couple of different clinics and see what the treatment, knowledge and skill levels look / feel / sound like and how they compares from clinic to clinic.
Although you are not an expert yourself, usually you can tell the difference between a poor treatment, poor therapist skills and poor advice from a proper treatment, a skilful therapist and great, science-based advice.