Photo Halalization, a way to optimize photos for the Middle East Market
Promotional initiatives for products are varied in the different parts around the globe. There are lots of strict rules and restrictions in various countries based on many criteria. In the western countries, government imposes rules in case of product marketing and packaging based on tax and other legal issues. In using images of products and models there are no hard rules (if you don’t use images that encourage any racism or other humiliating issues). On the contrary, in Middle East, the authority has established rules regarding religious belief and ethics. Here you cannot use women model photos that inspire even a little bit sexuality. Before using images here, you have to halalize or make suitable photos that they allow.
However, if you maintain some criteria for Promotional Materials and Packaging in the Middle East, you can continue marketing activities for your products, such as-
- Middle East markets require very less skin, apart from European and American markets. It means you can use model images with short dresses in the Europe and America. There is no problem if the model exposes the maximum parts of their body, but in Middle East, it is prohibited (though flexible now). You cannot use the image that fully exposes model skin and flesh.
- A lot of ok parts such as hands (not arms), face, hair, neck, toes, etc. are allowed to expose, that means you can use the images where these particular body parts of the model are kept open without clothes. Actually the Muslim people believe that these parts are worthy to be opened and they don’t encourage sexuality.
- The semi ok parts like arms (but mostly with at least half sleeves, sleeveless arms are sometimes not ok) and some parts of the chest under the necks are also ok, if it does not give any sexual message. Middle East market is a bit tolerant about shape of the breasts showing in a tight clothe, but it should be covered. But, try not to use such image that excite sexuality. Legs (other than the thigh) are also sometimes ok in moderate Muslim countries. However, to comply and get access to the full market, you should avoid Legs.
- The prohibited body parts are cleavage of women model, significant amount of breast showing (but sometimes covered breasts are ok), underarms, bellybuttons and abdomen, thighs, all other parts that give sexual message, like: buttocks and more. To get into the Middle East market with your products, you must cover up the not-ok-body-parts with cloths or any other things.
Importance of Censoring your Photo for the Middle East Market
Middle East is one of the wealthiest markets in the world. Most of all oil-rich countries are in this region. Their economy is also greater than most of all countries. The markets of these countries are also vast. You will get almost all the valuable goods here. The lifestyle of the people in this area is so much expensive. The rich people get together here all-year-round from other continents. So, the markets of Middle East are very potential for the businessmen. Any product of any value can be profitable here. But the people of this area have very conservative taste and social cultures. You cannot enter in the markets with your products that have hot & sexy model photos with. That is why, you need to change or censor these images. If not, your product may be on shelves like this:
Ways to Halalize Photos for Middle East Market
As it is not possible to run products in the markets of Middle East having sexy images, you have to modify those images instead of ruining. There are many ways you can manipulate your existing theme and make the photo look less sexy.
- Full-body Clothing
If you ask how to do it, in answer we can say that there are lots of ways to dress up full body using Adobe Photoshop or any other tool. The images below we have attached are dressed up in Photoshop. In the first image, we have created different layers where to cover up and apply black fill color and what the result is before your eyes. But, in the second model image, we applied different technique and that is we take cloth from another image and add here on the model photo. To complete the job, we use various tools of Photoshop like layers, wrap tool, smudge tool, masking, etc. and get the desired result suitable for the Middle East Markets.
- Bare-body hidden with obstacles
Bare-body, semi-nude or bikini dress up is strictly prohibited in many countries of the Middle East. But, if your product packaging contains such model image, you cannot enter in these markets. Again, it is also costlier and time consuming to change those images. Here you can use the existing images by manipulating in Photoshop. You can hide the prohibited body-parts by obstacles same as like the below image. We have used here flowers and leaves to hide body and make the image worthy to be used in Middle East Markets.
- Skin hidden with full sleaves top and long jeans
Skin is also not allowed in Middle East. So, it is also subject to change to make your images suitable for the markets here. Look at the below images, we have added for example. The before image is banned for using, and the after image is suitable that we have manipulated in photoshop. We have taken the full sleeve top and long jeans image and attach to the body-parts. In the same way, you can make your image halalize adding clothes for Middle East Markets.
- Converting top and bottom
In the Middle East Markets, you cannot sell products that contain sexy images of models wearing top and short bottom clothes. So, such types of product packets are also worth to be manipulated. You can manipulate these images using extra clothes or just by filling color in Photoshop. Look at the image below we manipulated. Here we have used Photoshop Fill Color technique to convert the Top cloth to a t-shirt and thus make the photo halalize.
- Hiding Arm, Armpit & skin
If your product packagings contain model images showing arm and armpit, these images are also censored in Middle East and strictly prohibited. So, you cannot publish products having these images. You have to hide arms and armpits of these images. By using clothes or other obstacles, you can hide these portions out of the model image. In the below image, we have applied extra clothe taken from the same image.
- Full body hiding with cloths:
In some Middle East countries, you have to use full body covered images. Your products should not have any image that arises sexuality. All the private parts including skin of some other parts have to be dressed up. See the image of Nicki Manaj that we have attached here for example. The second image is manipulated by filling color and adding extra cloth in Photoshop.
- Enhancing or adding cloth
You can halalize sexy model images by enhancing or adding extra clothes in Photoshop. Using various Photoshop tools and techniques and choosing the right cloth matching with the existing cloth, hot model images can be covered and thus these images become usable in the Middle East Market. Photo editing and image enhancing is necessary to reduce cost and time consumption.
- Tweaking semi OK photos
There may have some images that need not too much editing or enhancing. These images of semi-OK-part category receives small tweaking to be worthy of using in Middle East Market. It is not so much tiresome work. Small editing can be a great solution for reducing cost. These images are allowed in some countries and for the rest of the area you have to tweak.
- Close-up portrait and Cropping by hiding objectionable content
Some image can be suitable for the Middle East Market by just cropping or resizing. Close-up portrait images are ok for here. So, you can make images look like portrait removing objectionable body parts that arise sexuality in Photoshop. It is also an easy task that can save many on-time marketing initiatives. The image below is an example where we just have applied the crop tool of Photoshop.
- Cloth manipulation
It also can be a great solution for making halal photos for Arab countries. Cloth manipulation indicates the extension of existing cloth. Look the following model photo which is manipulated. Here we have applied Photoshop techniques to copy cloth layers of the image and hide sensitive skin area by adjusting those and thus, created a suitable image for the Middle East.
- Changing original image
Some model photos may not be worthy to manipulate or you have enough images with which you can replace the existing hot image. In such cases, you need not to photoshop images. You can solve the problem by just replacing halal photo from your collection. But, if you don’t have such option, then you must take other measures.
- Hiding armpit
In most of the Middle East countries showing armpit is totally prohibited. So. You have to use model image hiding armpit. There are many ways to hide this part. You can do this adding extra cloth or by filling color in Photoshop. Look at the model photo below, we manipulated this image. We have applied Fill color in Photoshop and tried to fix the issue.
- Hiding thighs and tweaking small peeks with cloth
If you have model images having opened thighs and small peeks of the sensitive parts, you have to fix the issues. To halalize such images, you have to cover the thighs with fill color or adding extra cloth. In the following image, we have covered thighs with extra clothes and tweaked the small peek of top cloth. To fix it, we use Photoshop and its tools.
- Replace with obstacles
You can halalize model images by many ways like replacing small peek with obstacles or replacing whole model image. The two following images are manipulated in Photoshop. In one image, we hide small peek with toy and in another image, the whole model image has been replaced with toy image. By this technique, you can also edit model images for the market of Middle East.
- How would Monalisa have been portrayed in Middle East
The famous image Monalisa has image censor issue if it is used for Middle East markets. Monalisa’s look and cleaves showing cannot pass the censorship for Arabian countries. That’s why, if you want to use it, you have to manipulate the photo. The below image is edited. Here we have made her eyes closed and enhanced her top cloth to hide cleaves. Now, it can be used for marketing in some Middle East countries and to get passed in all Arabian countries, you may retouch Monalisa photo further.
In the above discussion, we have described the most possible ways of image optimization for Middle East market. It is not possible having hot model images on product packagings to pass image censorship in Arabian countries (though the condition is changing in some countries like Dubai, UAE). So, you cannot but to optimize or change your images. You can do it yourself if you have enough mastery on Photoshop.
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