Photoshop Fail or Brilliant Marketing?

family retouch bench.jpg
You see that picture? It's one of half a dozen that has gone viral in the last few days since Pam and Dave Zaring posted a story about family photos gone wrong on Facebook. Here's what they wrote in the original post:

"Ok. This is NOT a joke. We paid a photographer, who claimed to be a 
professional, $2-250 for a family photo shoot. Please see these FOR 
REAL photos she delivered to us....She said the shadows were really 
bad on the beautiful, clear, sunny day and that her professor never taught 
her to retouch photos. Feel free to share 😂😂😂 I literally have not laughed 
this hard in YEARS!!!!! You can't make this stuff up.....again, this is NOT a 
joke - final product 🤣"

Let's look at a few more pictures from the shoot.
family retouch pond.jpgI mean...less hall woman retouch.jpg

two women retouch.jpg
There's no way this is real, right? If it is, it's utterly hilarious and couldn't have been done better than if they asked my five-year-old nephew to re-touch them. Upon further digging, there's a Lesa Hall on Linked in who is listed as a photographer in the St. Louis area and this is what her bio says:

"Hello -

I began photographing at age 10 . . . I took photos (posed and non-posed) 
of my dog, a Chihuahua who had absolutely no aversion to allowing me to 
play dress-up with her as well. I also enjoyed photographing family holiday 
get-togethers and the many accoutrements of Disneyland. 

My cat has and continues to serve as my model and for a cat, poses very well. 
I also enjoyed photographing aspects of architectural interiors and exteriors; 
and over the past ten years I have found a niche with classic cars as well.

In addition to portraits, I also offer architectural photography that includes realty 
property listings, and am amenable to photographing events like festivals, 
school reunions and fundraisers. 

My return to school for education in the digital arts began with a year of graphic 
design classes before committing to my earning my certificate in digital 
photography. My post-high school photography classes facilitated an easy 
navigation through Photoshop. 

I also offer brochures that I design myself, as well as greeting cards, 
save-the-date and thank-you postcards, invitations and business cards. 

For price quotes, feel free to contact me via LinkedIn and provide me with 
your contact information.

I thank you for your business.

Lesa Hall"

One reason I think it's a hoax is the Facebook account is Pam Dave Zaring. You can't trust a couple that shares a facebook account. How can one possible stalk an old high school crush with a shared Facebook account? That doesn't even make any sense.

In an interview with INSIDER, Dave says:

"I passed my furious mark months ago when she wouldn't send us anything," 
she told WTVD TV. "I was fully prepared to be scammed, money gone, and 
no final product! So the humor was much easier to find. Trust me, at one 
point my blood boiled anytime I was asked about the status of our photos!" 

However, it seems people prefer the bizarrely botched pics to regular, normal 
ones: The Zarings' post has been shared nearly 390,000 times since Saturday.

As for the photographer, the Zarings insists the laughs from the photos 
were so great that they wouldn't be asking for a refund.

"We just hope that she's getting a laugh out of it as well,"

I'm calling this is fake. Wouldn't the family have asked to see examples of the photographer's past work? Speaking of which, why is there no past work of Lesa to be found on the internet? There are thousands of people on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK and SNAPCHAT that posts pictures solely taken with their iPhones that claim to be "photographers". People who want to be or are starting out as photographers post more pictures on social media than a lonely mid-western mom "Sammy had a burp burp in the car and got the grump grumps".

All I know is that you don't hire a photographer without looking at at least one picture that they've taken, and so far the only pictures online that Lesa has taken are the ones that went viral over the weekend.