Want to know if its more photography than photoshop editing. Basically what I'm trying to say is if I can take a picture and replicate this design in photoshop.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Hello Carlitos and welcome! Can you explain more in detail in your description what exactly about the piece you are trying to replicate when you say, design?
    – Lyssagal
    Apr 17, 2020 at 2:04
  • 6
    There's not a lot of "design" in that image. 95% of the work was done in the camera by a good photographer. It's a promo photo for Neflix's Narcos so they spent money to get quality photos.
    – Scott
    Apr 17, 2020 at 2:45
  • @Scott thanks!! I just didnt want to waste my time trying to edit a photo in photoshop if most of the work was done on camera. Thank you again!!!
    – Carlitos
    Apr 17, 2020 at 3:27
  • I wonder if you know any good photos that didn't follow this rule... Apr 17, 2020 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


I don't see any obvious signs of Photoshop editing in that photograph. In any case, we'd need to see the original to determine what, if anything, has been done to it in post processing.

That said, I think if anything has been done to it in an image editor, I suspect it would be minor tweaks to the toning, possibly replacement of the background, but nothing major.

I think the main effect you might be seeing is down to the lighting technique used in the studio.

It's what's called Rembrandt Lighting. You can tell because of the triangular highlight shape on the subject's right cheek. It's a classic lighting technique for studio portait photography (and cinematography). Basically one side of the model is lit from slightly above on one side, the rest being in shadow except for the triangular section of the cheek on the unlit side, which catches the light. In some shots a reflector is also sometimes employed on the unlit side of the subject to lift the shadows a little.

enter image description here

Interesting factoid: apparently the term is said to have been first coined by film director Cecil B DeMille. Although I don't think he invented it - obviously Rembrandt did, or maybe some earlier artist. Rembrandt was certainly famous for using dramatic forms of lighting in his paintings.

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