Beating Retouching-Top Photographer David L. Anthony analyzes the process behind a story shot ”the old way”.

 ”Its Not Magic,its just Love and Knowledge!”

~Lady Sybilia~


874290967_n (2)

I have always been a firm believer that Photoshop and generally all retouching tools were,ehm,just tools. What was discouraging to see is that most aspiring photographers were paying far more attention to the aftershoot pc process,correcting details that range from lighting effects to creating special effects.Over the years i feel i see more ”retouchers” than actual photographers and i have met really talented persons that were ”lazy” to study/work deep on non digital photography techniques and work on natural lighting/angles, thus relying to digital retouch just ”too much”. Still,all basic photography effects/ideas appear present in fashion photographers starting from the 30’s,so accurate and creatively that usual stuns with oh- so- modern results.Top photographer (and friend) David Leslie Anthony agreed to assist me in a marvelous way- showcasing the real work done behind/before an impressive series of photos he recently lensed with only 5 minutes of retouch at all!After all,the motto continues to be: ”2 hours in the set,20 minutes on the pc” and not the other way round,as it actually is the case today amongst young photographers.Still,there is still time to learn from the past and shape the future.Enjoy the ride.Many thanks to Mr David Anthony for providing his personal notes/approach.

David Anthony’s notes:

I had a set of two 4×8 mirrors, butted edge to edge for the model to stand in front of. This creates 3 images and 3 profiles of the model, but to the camera, I actually have 4 images facing me: side 1, side 2, back, and front.

Placing a 9’ Black seamless in front of the set and 5 feet from the model, I then cut a small hole in the seamless, for my camera lens to come through.
Now, going back to my analog film days (where you had to not only KNOW photography, but create all effects on set), I attached a Prism filter which I use when shooting film, to the lens, which then “throws” the reflections back “on top of each other”, thus creating reflection within, and upon reflection. Creating anywhere from 7-10 reflections depending upon angle of the lens.
Lighting was placed directional to the model, with the light on the left, gelled with a cyan gel and bounce lit on the model, and the light far right of the model was gelled with magenta-red and blue gels. The normal facial skin tones were achieved by placing a very small snooted light from the same angle and direction as the gelled light on the right of the model.
The ONLY usage of Photoshop was to clean up the skin and boost the contrast. Total retouch time: 5-6 minutes per image.

David L. Anthony’s diagram of the set:

Diagram (4)



Series of photos:

DA_2207 (2)


DA_2246 (4)

DA_2412 (2)





Amazing,isn’t it?Of course.Now,review the mainstream aesthetics of the uber-retouched fashion/beauty photography.


(special thanks to Mr David Anthony for  providing the material featured on this post-and for making me share his passion for ” fashion photography as art”)

Contact details:

David Leslie Anthony


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s