The Real Reason Photographers Retouch Everyone.

Photo posted by Lorde to her Twitter account recently showing her skin retouched in the top photo and 'au naturale' in the bottom shot.

Photo posted by Lorde to her Twitter account recently showing her skin retouched in the top photo and 'au naturale' in the bottom shot.

Yesterday this tweet was posted by the music artist Lorde in which she herself didn't see the necessity in her photo being retouched and preferred to show a separate, unedited image along with her statement that, "Flaws are ok."   It inspired me to shed some light on what this epidemic of retouching, i.e. "Photoshopping" is really all about.  In the extremely competitive world of photography, photographers are doing everything they can to make their images stand out from their competition.  By retouching their images, photographers are not trying to make any sort of statement about facial blemishes, weight or other human "flaws".  They are not saying, "Lorde's face is ugly, I need to retouch it for the sake of society.".  In fact, photographers aren't retouching her or anyone else for the sake of their subjects at all.  Photographers retouch their images so that they can market them to as many media outlets as possible.  Those media outlets demand very high quality, "flawless" photos for their publication standards.

Every photographer wants the reputation of having the best images.  I, we, they, all want a reputation for our work to be heralded as the best, so to photo-editing software we turn.  It isn't because we necessarily want the people we photograph to be flawless, it's our photography we want to be flawless.  As if we magically have some sort of talent that makes whoever and whatever we shoot come out looking better than real life.  Well, photo editing software does that.  There are even programs, apps and even some cameras now that have face recognition software that can automatically retouch someone's face to flawless perfection.   Although the results usually aren't even human-looking and in fact quite often look ridicules.  That too will change as technology becomes more intelligent.  

In addition to every photographer's desire for their work to be regarded as the best and therefore hopefully acquire more jobs, there's also the notion that a celebrity being photographed might disapprove of images in which they look, well like they really do.  We've all heard the whining demands in the media of certain celebrities who require their photographs to be retouched to so-called perfection before being published in any magazine or on the web.  We certainly see that practice being over-endugled on most mainstream magazine covers.  In this case, Lorde has preferred the unedited image, but that's seldom the case.  Magazines are also in competition with each other to have the 'best looking' celebrity covers and photo editorials.  So the standard practice has become for most photographers that any un-retouched photograph submitted for publication will be an automatic rejection...and usually is.

So to clarify the reason behind all of the photo retouching going on in today's media, it's not that anyone feels that someone's flaws are to be erased for the sake of societies' approval, it's simply a matter of marketing and competition.  You as a consumer are more likely to select an apple with the most pristine and flawless appearance in the produce section.  Ergo, the same theory applies in the magazine section.  Every media company is just trying to climb above their competition by presenting the most-polished and flawless products.  So much so, that "flawless" has become the new "normal".

Billboard Time Lapse

Ever wanted to see how a billboard goes up?  One of my clients, Gertrude Zachary Jewelry, had a billboard that was torn and needed replacement.  Here's the job done in 1 minute!

Congrats to model pal Samantha Hoopes as the new face of GUESS!

Samantha Hoopes of Guess 2014 photographed by Yu Tsai.

Samantha Hoopes of Guess 2014 photographed by Yu Tsai.

It's always nice when you're flipping through the first few pages of a magazine like ELLE Italia and you come across a double page GUESS ad with a model you know and have photographed before.  "Hey, that looks like Samantha Hoopes!"  I thought,  so I had to send her a quick message and  receive her bubbly and excited reply confirming it.  Samantha has been featured in both the new GUESS Spring/Summer 2014 campaigns as well as their lingerie campaigns.  By her smoldering gaze she brings to their gorgeous photography, I'd say she's a perfect fit for the iconic brand.  She's still currently in my portfolio in the beauty, commercial and swim/lingerie categories.  I also booked her for the Gertrude Zachary 2012-13 holiday billboards that ran last year.  I was happy to hear from her that our photos we did together in New York are still used in her book that she carries with Elite LA and Select Management in London.   I requested her from Major Models New York and was very impressed with her when she first walked into my apartment in Manhattan to meet up for our shoot.  I'm even more impressed now.  It's evident that she's really making a strong presence and a definite connection in the industry judging by these new GUESS ads.  Rumor has it she's one of the new rookies in the upcoming 50th Anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.   I suppose we'll find out on February 18th when the much-anticipated issue hits the stands worldwide.  Samantha was really fun and easy to work with and I look forward to another opportunity to work with her again.

So please join me in congratulating Samantha Hoopes on her new venture to the forefront.  She's well on her way toward stunning the whole world with her all-American bombshell looks as well as her lovable personality and can-do work ethic.   Here's a few of my favorite outtakes and snapshots from us working together in New York.  Cheers, Sam!

Behind the Scenes: Michaela

Here's a few BTS shots from out shoot with Michaela from MTM Model Management.  She's only 15 and is already 5'10" with a stunning look and modeling versatility.  Big thanks to Armani Leon for makeup and Santiago Romero on hair.  Looking forward to the selects publishing soon but for now other looks of Michaela can be found at

Welcome to the New Site!

Hey I just wanted to welcome you all to my new website.  I decided since it was a new year, I'd rebuild my website with some mighty improvements.  First, all my photos are now displayed in huge, full-screen format so that the quality and detail can be seen.   With the smaller size photos I had before, I always lamented that so much effort goes into making high quality work, yet it gets lost in the small size displayed.  Not any more.  Now you can see every degree of work that goes into the final images.

Next is that my blog is now an "in house" part of the website.  It's just nicer to have the blog right here than having to click and be sent to a separate blog page that's not connected to my website as it was before.

And finally, you have the ability to view my work as large thumbnails or full-size just by clicking on the "Show Thumbnails" button on the bottom left of the site.

I hope you like the new digs as much as I do.  Thank you and enjoy your visit!


Really liking Max Factor's approach to cosmetic ads

Just a quick shout-out to Max Factor for publishing what I think is a proper-looking cosmetic skin care cream ad.  Featuring beautiful model Candice Swanepoel, the ad reflects a more natural-looking photo to promote what the skin cream does, rather than what Photoshop does.  As a digital artist myself and a fan of post-production poetic license, I'm also aware of the impossibilities that are being presented to mostly women and young girls showing beauty in advertising that is simply unachievable.  When I recently flipped through the pages of a current fashion magazine (I think it was British 'Elle'), I was pleasantly surprised to see a cosmetic ad with a gorgeous face, sans the usual amount of computer pixel replacement.  Kudos to Max Factor for a realistic and plausible image displaying what their skin care cream does and not leaving it up to the Photoshop artist.  This turn in the direction of truth in advertising makes me want to go out and buy the product myself, though I doubt it would help me get a date with Candice.  :-)


My new video, "NYC Tribute".

I recently finished editing one of my first videos that we shot in NYC.  It's sort of a vibe just showing the nightlife and some behind-the-scenes of the fashion shoots I do.  I edited the whole thing as well as wrote and recorded the music.  If you click on the outward-facing arrows at the bottom of the viewer it will display in sharp 720 HD.  Let me know what you think!

A Toast to Alexi Lubomirski and the Crew of Interminable Heroism.

Shout out to this guy (on the left) and some of the coolest/ hardest working/ best-looking people NYC has to call their own.  To Emily, Marian, Steph-bomb and Ryan, pleasure working with you ladies and gents.  Thank you for the experience and knowledge, I promise to use it wisely.  Looking forward to discovering yet another unguarded beer tap with you.


For those who aren't familiar with this ruggedly handsome photographer and this team's genius work (also available for weddings and bar mitzvahs!), please grab a cup of tea and sit back...