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Archival Tutorial.


Instagram Toy Community photographer Anthony Gossett takes us behind the scenes on his latest exclusive shoot for the platform that all centres around his glorious NECA TMNT Raphael figure which just looks incredible out in the environment.

I’d like to thank the Exclu Collective team for giving me the chance to share my recent work. My name is Anthony Gossett, I’m 31 years old from Northern California. I started learning Toy-Photography a few months ago and still have much to learn.


I always ask myself this question when I take a picture. Will the viewer feel the photograph when viewed? As a kid, my favorite scene with Raphael, was the roof top scene. Raphael was frustrated with Leo and stormed up to the roof.  It was a strong emotional performance and spotlighted Raphael’s character. My approach for this shoot was to infuse that same feeling in this setting. 


I originally planned to take Raphael to the mountains over the weekend. That plan changed when I visited my-in-laws and their custom backyard. When I stepped out into their yard, I felt like I was teleported to the mountains. I paced around and noticed everything scales for a 1:4 figure. In my mind’s eye, I could visualize Raphael in every spot I considered.

BTS Location


For this shot I wanted to spotlight Raphael’s shell and the overall detail of Raphael’s back. I noticed a beam of light illuminating the rocks by the pond and a group of ferns. I carefully climbed over the fauna and began staging Raphael.

At first, I turned his head toward the pond, which didn’t turn out how I envisioned. Curiously, I turned his head looking into the light. I refocused my shot and tried again. I was blown away by how it looked on the display screen! I quickly took a few more shots with different exposure times.

BTS Shot 1 setup

My Mother-in-Law reminded me of an old tree that fell over on its side. I thought this would make a good place for Raphael to sit. I spotted a small light beam that made a great spotlight. I carefully staged his body and tried my best to have him slouched over. I framed the shot, focused and adjusted my settings. After a few shots, I felt the emotion in the shot and was confident I had it.

BTS Shot 2 Setup


I shoot my pictures in RAW format and import the files in Lightroom. I use Lightroom for most of the time and Photoshop for some filters and colour grading.

I would like to highlight the major changes I used in my editing.

BTS Shot 1 edit

  • 1 – I cropped the image at 4:3 and used the Rule of thirds to position Raphael. I also cropped out any foreground distractions and kept the rocks in frame.
  • 2 – Using Radial Gradients, I was able to adjust key areas and adjust the: Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadow, white, black etc. Lastly, I adjusted the luminous settings for yellow, green and blue.
  • 3 – After Lightroom, I used the High Pass filter in Photoshop to sharpen the picture. Additionally, I used a Linear Gradient to show some light coming from the upper right corner. The setting was set at 131.19 degree angle with 275% scale. Once I was satisfied with my adjustments, I saved the image.
  • 4 – I did one more pass over in Lightroom and found the haze too distracting. I wanted the eye to automatically go to Raphael. I used three Linear Gradients to narrow the beam and de-haze the light. Afterwards, I used split tones to make the highlights Orange and thus creating a warmer tone.

BTS Shot 2 edit

  • 1 – I cropped the image again at 4:3 and used the Rule of thirds to position Rafael.
  • 2 – I adjusted Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadow, white, black etc. I also adjusted various colors to give a more dramatic tone.
  • 3 – After Lightroom, I wanted to do some color grading in Photoshop. I used the “Night from Day LUTZ” to change the colors and to have either a morning or evening tone.
  • 4 – I liked the tone but felt Raphael was too dark and blended into the background. I decided to use a Masking layer on Raphael to reveal the bottom layer. I used the “Chalk 60” brush and applied it like a stamp. I adjusted the brush size a few times and cleaned up the areas applied to the background.


Please enjoy the final pictures and I hope this gave some inspiration. Thanks you again Exclu Collective for the opportunity to share my work.

Raphael Shot 1 FinalRaphael Shot 2 Final

A huge thank you to Anthony for taking such care and dedication with his work and for sharing a complete BTS look at the shoot. You can catch more of Anthony’s work over on Instagram via @cruelcodex and as ever leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts.

Stay tuned to Exclu for all the latest from across the community.















Last modified: June 9, 2019

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