An influencer has been caught Photoshopping herself in Paris

Images via @johannaeolsson/Instagram
Words by Bianca O’Neill

Have we really come to this?

There have been a few notable Instagram Photoshop fails over the years, but you’ve never seen one quite like this.

Swedish influencer Johanna Olsson has come under serious scrutiny for a series of images that she shared while she was in ‘Paris’. I say that in metaphorical finger quotes because it’s still unclear if she was, in fact, in Paris at all.

After sharing posts at the Louvre and along the banks of the Seine, Olsson started to see quite a few comments roll in about her very questionable Photoshop skills. And this isn’t as simple as a few lighting edits or colour adjustments: one image shows her feet floating above the road, indicating that she has literally pasted herself into a landscape, while a second shows some pretty shoddy work blending her hair into a background.


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? fall leafs in Paris! Love this city this time of year!! I’m wearing jacket from @prettylittlething advertisement

A post shared by Johanna Emma Olsson (@johannaeolsson) on


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Red wine and Paris fashion week ? love my @aspinaloflondon bag customised for me at Les Galeries LaFayette

A post shared by Johanna Emma Olsson (@johannaeolsson) on

Another shows a wonky table, indicating some more editing tomfoolery, with yet another showing some terrible colour matching and embarrassingly obvious cut-out action along the hairline. Most of the posts have had comments removed by now, but the remaining posts with comments still showing indicate that her followers aren’t happy with the sham images.

Seriously, the table isn’t even straight, the lines are all crooked. If you have to photoshop a life, are you genuinely happy??” – @elle_bal_

Why are you erasing comments about your lousy Photoshop??” – @made_bura

Another woman questioned the impressively sharp Eiffel Tower background on a fifth post:


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Parisian moments just before the dinner with @ingieparis #INGIE #INGIEParis #INGIEPARISSS19 advertisement

A post shared by Johanna Emma Olsson (@johannaeolsson) on

“Wtffff you are sooo damn fake girlll, every normal human can see that this is fk fakr girl. There is no way that in real life on photo the eifeltore even sharp is as your fk face hahahahahha rip your instagram fk fakerd… i hate your account so damn hard you dont do anything for your account just photoshop you are all on news in my country who hard you edit your photos rip girll byeeee” – @naomiydiers

Sure, this is problematic due to the obvious fakery of it all – but brands like Ingie and Pretty Little Thing have paid a pretty penny for exposure on Olsson’s account. In fact, she tells us, that’s exactly why she’s keeping the photos up:

“I wanted to talk a little bit about the pictures I posted in Paris,” Olsson told her followers in an Instagram Story.

“So I did one picture first, where I shot it and didn’t think it looked that nice… so I took a different background and put the background in there, and then nobody noticed so I thought, this is good.”

“So I admit it wasn’t my finest Photoshop skills and so this whole thing blew up… Now, especially in Sweden, this whole thing has gone crazy and TV shows want me to come on and talk about my ‘fake travelling’.”

“It’s a bit ridiculous I think but whatever… I’ve done it with three pictures on my Paris trip, and I’m not really about doing that, that much. There are a lot of influencers out there that use Photoshop in birds, rainbows or crazy skies and I could do that but I don’t like that.”

I’m not sure Photoshopping a ‘crazy sky’ into your image is quite the same as literally pasting yourself into Paris landscapes for paid collabs, but hey MAYBE THAT’S JUST ME.

Have we really come to this? When an influencer with over 500k followers (!!!), assumedly being paid many thousands of dollars to promote these brands, can’t even be bothered to hire a photographer to take the actual photos she’s getting paid for? Or even at the very least to professionally Photoshop the damn things, sheesh…

Recently I was doing some sponsored posts for a large brand and, although the budget wasn’t huge, it was large enough for me to hire a photographer to help out with something a little more professional than a mobile phone image. When I arrived in store, I was told by the PR that it was a huge relief – because the previous blogger she had worked with had shown up with a mobile phone on 4%, taken a few badly lit selfies, and left minutes later when her phone died.

She was getting paid over $1,000. To show up with a dead phone battery and take crappy selfies.

Come on guys. We have to be better than this. There is privilege in this business – and it IS a business. If you’ve decided to create content for a living, be a professional. Hire professionals. Trust me, word gets around real quick.

And on the subject of Photoshop: being a blogger, or an influencer, isn’t about perfection – it’s about reality. People follow us because we offer something different to the shiny fashion magazines; we offer a real perspective, a real voice to the same industry.

If influencers and bloggers continue to put fakery ahead of reality, in some misplaced understanding of what their followers actually want, then we’re done. You know why? Because we can’t do it as well as the shiny magazines can – we just can’t. And this latest #fail is proof of that.

I can’t speak for everyone, but as someone who follows a bunch of different bloggers across the world, I’d always prefer a *real* picture – with rain, or cloudy skies, or bad lighting – than an obviously fake one. And as a blogger, that’s what I try to do as well.

It’s time to keep it real. Besides a few filters, of course…

Follow Bianca’s marginally Photoshopped journey over at @_thesecondrow, or listen to her podcast at @thefashionpodcast.

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