How dare they airbrush out our little girl”s birthmark Parents” fury after photographer erases mark for nursery school portrait
Parents viewed original images and chose their favourites to cherish
Prints arrived with image of their two-year-old daughter airbrushedAngry mother Nikki blasts “Her birthmark is part of who she is”Photographic studio blame “human error” for incident

When Nikki Allan saw the picture of her daughter taken at her nursery, she was delighted with the photographer’s work.

The samples showed two-year-old Omnee posing happily and naturally, and Mrs Allan was quick to order 10 prints for the family home.

But she was horrified when the prints arrived to find that the photographer had airbrushed away the purple birthmark that runs from Omnee’s top lip to her cheek.

Anger: Nikki and Stuart Allan are furious after a professional photographer altered pictures of their daughter Omnee, right, to remove her birthmark Anger: Nikki and Stuart Allan are furious after a professional photographer altered pictures of their daughter Omnee, right, to remove her birthmark

Anger: Nikki and Stuart Allan are furious after a professional photographer altered pictures of their daughter Omnee, pictured left and right, to remove her birthmark from the image

‘I think it’s absolutely disgusting,’ said Mrs Allan. ‘Who is this man to decide my daughter isn’t perfect’

Luke Joyce, who runs Little Stars Photography, has apologised and said the picture had been altered by accident – it was the photo of another child which should have been changed.

But Mrs Allan, a 30-year-old retail merchandiser, said: ‘We live in a world which has all manner of pressures to conform and look perfect and for someone to decide that a two-year-old isn’t pretty enough because she has a birthmark on her face is scandalous.


Birthmarks are a benign skin irregularity which appear on the skin at or shortly after birth.

As many as one in ten babies have a birthmark and they can appear anywhere on the skin.

They are not painful and are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels or excess skin pigmentation.

One of the most common types of birthmark is a hemangioma. These occur when many new blood vessels grow in a specific area on the skin.

No one knows what causes a birthmark but they are not painful or a sign of illness.

A strawberry hemangioma, where the skin is red and sticks out of the skin go away untreated by the time a child is about nine years old.

Another kind of birthmark is the port wine stain, which is level with the outer layer of skin. Children with these normally have them on the face and neck.

Doctors can sometimes use laser surgery to treat birthmarks to reduce their appearance.

‘Where does it stop If one of the kids had wonky teeth, would he have altered them to make them “perfect” It’snot up to him to play God.

“There are enough worries about the prejudices she may endure later in life without having to worry about adult male photographers, especially when she’s just two years old.’

The photographer visited the Pebbles Day Nursery in Exmouth, Devon, around six weeks ago and took pictures of the majority of youngsters there.

Parents were then able to view the photos and choose which ones to order. On these pictures, Omnee’s birthmark was still present.

Mrs Allan, who lives in Exmouth with her husband Stuart and other children Kelvin, five, and Brooke, three, said she did not accept Mr Joyce’s comment that the birthmark had been removed because of a mix-up with thephoto of another child.

‘What are the chances of another child requiring a birthmark to be removed’ she asked. ‘I’m fuming. He’s offered us a free print but I don’t want anything to do with him.’

Sophie Edwards, manager of Pebbles Day Nursery, said several parents were unhappy with the photos. ‘Some children’s eyes appeared to have changed from blue to brown while others just didn’t look very good,’ shesaid.

‘We feel very let down. Whether or not Omnee’s birthmark was deliberately altered I don’t know, but either way it’s a very unfortunate incident.’

Mr Joyce said he would not dream of altering a child’s photo for cosmetic reasons and Omnee’s picture had been altered because of a mix-up with reference numbers.

‘I was mortified when I realised the mistake,’ he said. ‘I have spoken with Omnee’s parents and offered a free print.

‘I hold my hands up and admit I made a mistake but that’s what it was, a genuine mistake.

‘I would never alter a photograph in that way. How dare I Who am I to decide what features should and shouldn’t appear in pictures

‘We are a small business with limited resources and this was a genuine oversight for which I am eternally apologetic. I thought the family wereOK with the situation but obviously not.’