There’s really never any shortage of good retouching advice to be found in these crowded internet photography annals, much of it right here on SLRL. If you wanted to learn how to change eye color, tame a bird’s nest of unruly hair, create porcelain skin that looks as though it’s been painted by the hand of God, you can find out how to do it in Photoshop. In many ways the advice and tutorials for Photoshop you’ll find, allow you to take a rump roast of a photo, and turn it into a fillet. What often is much more a grey area is whether you should use it in this way.

The ethics of Photoshop usage is debated to no short extent, and I think it’s not beyond the ability of any photographer to wax philosophical about it. However, in order to speak about it in succinct sentences requires a bit more. A bit more what? Well, a bit more experience than most, and, maybe, a bit more clout. These are two things Russell James has in spades. Probably most well known for his close relationship to the Victoria’s Secret brand, culture, and models, his images have shaped how we view the largest lingerie retailer, and in turn, beauty and fashion photography.


Working With women considered to be some of the most beautiful of the species, wearing nought but intricate scraps of fabric, or less, James stands, perhaps, in one of the best places for a photographer to comment on the use of Photoshop. In this episode of #Behindtheglass by, James speaks volumes about retouching in just a minute, as maybe only someone like him could. He comes at the topic from the perspective  of a photographer, an artist, as someone socially conscious, and it’s not hard to believe as a father as well.

[REWIND: Why You Need A Tablet & How It’ll Transform Your Lightroom Workflow]


It is brief, but it’s poignant, and in my opinion one of the best takes on the subject. This will now be the video I direct others to who ask my opinion and feelings on retouching. I’ve watched the video about 5 times already, and I could summarize it for you, but the minute watching will be a minute well spent.

Source: ISO1200, Images are screen captures from featured video.