Oh yes, I'm going to go there. Most bloggers do it, but won't tell you why, or how to do it yourself.
I mostly use post-production for my Youtube thumbnails, and I do everything from changes in lighting, to airbrushing, to darkening up my mascara and whitening my teeth. Why? Because I'm vain, why else? Look deep down inside yourself and I'm certain that -most- of the population would do it too, for the same reason.
So...how do I do it? Well, I use an online tool, and I use Photoshop CS3 (outdated, I know, but I really like it and the newer ones just aren't the same). www.picmonkey.com is the online tool that I use for all of my image effects, because it has everything I need in one place, doesn't require me to post the finished pic anywhere online, and to use all of the "Royale" effects, it only costs me $5 per month (there is a free version that has less tools). Photoshop I mainly use to add text to the image once I'm done in picmonkey. I have a tonne of fonts on my computer, and there's always one to suit every image.
Let's have a look at a before and after, just to illustrate what the tools are capable of:
So the original image is ok, it's a little dark, perhaps, and the product I'm promoting doesn't stand out as well as I'd like it to.
Once that was done, I took the image over to photoshop and added the text in the top right corner.
I think you'll agree that it makes for a much more professional finish. People looking to others to teach them about beauty and cosmetics are looking for someone who looks flawless, and it definitely helps if the thumbnail or opening image is a damn good one.
On the side, I have an amateur photography thing going, and I use picmonkey a lot to improve lighting on my finished images. For glamour photography, the airbrush feature comes in really handy. There is even a "wrinkle remover"!
So as "controversial" as image doctoring is, I do believe in honesty above all else, so I decided to share it with you guys, because maybe some of you will get some use out of it too!