Magazine Article


Digital Saves the Day



© 2002 Tony Donaldson
Model: Maureen McClelland

© 2002 Tony Donaldson
Model: Tim Owens © 2002 Tony Donaldson
Model: Catherine Martin

Sometimes you have as much time as you need for a shoot, and other times you have a lot less. I'm used to clients of the latter flavor, where it's often the eleventh hour before all the products are in and ready for us to shoot.

I've worked with Alison Eastwood and her new clothing line, Eastwood Ranch, since shooting her Fall 2002 line earlier this year.

We had only a couple of days to photograph the clothes for the launch party and website, so I suggested we shoot digital to have the best chance of completing the job in that time frame.

Alison fully loved seeing the stuff as we shot it and having a CD to preview within a day to pick her choices after I'd provided my selects. We were able to make the clothes look their best in rather short order. Samples were printed for the press kits and the images were on the website within days.

For the Spring 2003 line, there would be no time to custom-fit any of the clothes to the models. We absolutely had to shoot digital to get samples printed in time for the Fashion Coterie show in New York.

When we finally got the models and clothes together, I used mostly natural light with a few reflectors to keep a consistent look. We had a lot of clothing and the driest year in the history of Los Angeles, so I had to shoot carefully.

Even with the clothing fitting the models pretty well, we used a fair number of pins and clamps to make the outfits hang right. We didn't have time to make each one perfect and complete the shoot in daylight, but I knew I could take certain wrinkles out afterward. The shoot went well, the models were fantastic. We got things done like clockwork and finished just as the light gave out.

I headed home to sort through the images. Photoshop 7.0's File Browser allowed me to preview shots quickly, make my selects, and set up batch-processing for the previews. I selected an action to prep each image to a certain size, File Browser's cache file rotated the images as they openedI love that featuremade adjustments, resized, added my file info and watermark, then set up a custom gallery for CD. The Gallery is great because it allows clients, even those who aren't very computer-savvy, to view images using their browser instead of image-editing software.

The CD was delivered to Alison the next day, she made her selects, then we went over what needed to be done to each image. I smoothed some of the wrinkles in the fabric, removing little blemishesit's all about making the clothes look their best!with the Healing Brush and the Cloning tool. Then I reshaped some of the clothesand the models, in some casesusing the Liquify tools and added color to the foliage.

I worked on the images while Alison flew to New York, and sent the finished images via the Web to Brian Lester at Eastwood Ranch office, where he had them printed and overnighted to Alison in New York. We made our deadline and the show was a success for Eastwood Ranch. It could never have happened, in that time frame, if we had shot with film.

All you need is a great team and great tools to make it happen.

For more clothes, visit
For more Donaldson images, visit

L.A.-based Tony Donaldson is a recent digital convert.