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Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lesson 15 of 37

Shoot: Blotchy or Blemished Skin


Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lesson 15 of 37

Shoot: Blotchy or Blemished Skin


Lesson Info

Shoot: Blotchy or Blemished Skin

now we're going to jump over and talk about blotchy skin so uncrackable blotches and blemishes this is going to be true with someone who has maybe rose atia like a lot of readiness to their skin and then also if somebody has a lot of texture so acne scars or a lot of acne itself so I'm just gonna cover kind of those rules in general as I said yesterday what it comes down to its the balance of how flat and soft do you make the light versus how much do you want to flatter the subject and the place that was most challenging for me was photographing high school seniors a teenage students because if I go for really soft filled in light maybe that doesn't fit the mood that we wanted for that portrait so we're going to take a look at some of the options you have here and then of course we're going to shoot some demo photos so the challenge is for blotchy or blemished skin that you have here is that they when you have uneven skin our mind kind of we perceive that is unhealthy like this just li...

ke again I did my little research on psychology and we just see that as unhealthy and the person doesn't look as fresh or energetic or vibrant which is why with ladies wear makeup because we're that's one of the biggest things we're doing beyond like contouring beyond that is we're just trying to even out skin tone trying to smooth everything else so it's all kind of similar color similar texture so that's a problem it looks less healthy and we also want to challenge we have is we want to decrease the saturation of colors we don't like and then also softened textures that we don't like so those are the challenges that we have in front of us and then here's what you can do for each for blotchy skin so this is talking about rose asia red skin coloration yesterday we talked about how when you have more contrast in modifiers it increases saturation and it's just like if you open a photo right now in photo shop a portrait and you dragged the contrast flight or all the way to the right now the skin is going to look a lot more read a lot more yellow and so by having a contrast the modifier it does the same thing so we're going to talk about how soft you can get and talk about couple tools that you have so when you do want to use is diffused light sources or bounced light um so many of you and I have a shot of this many of you have maybe tuned in for a soup rice class or two here on creative live and I know that one of the things that she does is she uses a lot of indirect bounce light and the reason that it is often so forgiving on everybody is today for all the problems skin that we've been talking about I keep saying go more diffused go more indirect have light filled in and that's what a lot of her set ups do is it bounces the light which makes the indirect and soft so that's why a lot of her subjects the skin is really quite flattering but notice many of the images they're not going for carved out cheekbones were really dramatic a lot of them are just really soft and feminine very forgiving with the lighting you wanna avoid contrast light sources that increased saturation that's a big thing with blotchy skin is go for soft if you're photographing a guy with rose atia I would go with a soft box maybe an octa box because what you could do with a knocked a box it's a little bit smaller we haven't actually somewhere it's a little bit smaller and you can pull it off to the sign to still give yourself a little shadow a little bit more drama but since it's low contrast it will still have a nice color of skin with the female you could go even further and I would go for doubly bounced window light were bounced laid in the studio on dh so I'm gonna give you a demo of that as well all right so we saw this we took a look at this yesterday she has a lot of uneven color and when we go ahead and switch over to a soft box from a silver reflector the saturation decreases and that's just from the light I chose so again this is with the silver reflector dish and see the redness and the blemishes and in the pores and there seriously switch over to a soft box it's much softer it's much more forgiving so that's going to be the direction that you want to go okay well let's talk about blemishes so scars acne pimples anything like that so what you want to dio is you want to reduce texture through flatter light so everything we just talked about for reducing the texture of wrinkles it's really the same thing you don't want the light to high because that will put shadows underneath those blemishes so they look fuller and you want to pull the late too far to the sign because that raking light gives them dimension makes them stand out from the skin so it is more senator is flatter light for watching this are for our blemished skin so this is when the light is centered and this is when I pull the light off to rembrandt so before I still see the texture of the skin what those pores get significantly darker and more defined just by pulling the light off to the side so I'm better off if I have a texture I don't like to have that light a little bit more centered and the problem gets even more emphasised when you bring the light back behind the subject this is something I talked about yesterday called short light when the shadow side of the subject is towards the camera that light is wrapping around and it is even more defined then before so that's something that you would want to be careful with that that's just an example of if you're like oh yes I know that I want to do short light on the subject because that's the drama that I want I'm not saying don't do it but to help yourself out maybe use a soft box to do your short light instead of a more dramatic light source and know that you will have some retouching it's like that that balance of deciding what you're going to be achieving and again here's a close up of the skin on her forehead when the light's much flatter it's much more forgiving and so you can see what it is is the reason that these look like they stick out is because the light coming from the right gives a highlight on one side of a blemish your texture and a shadow on the other so it gives them death which is not what we want something else is that if you were using reflectors with somebody who has blemishes you can treat it kind of the same way if somebody has a lot ah blemishes adding reflector from below softens the shadow side so it doesn't look like they stick out as much it's the same idea as the wrinkles were trying to fill in some of that shadow so they don't look is pronounced but in this example it makes a really big difference what reflector you use so so I picked an area of her skin pics in between her eyebrows okay and this is no reflector whatsoever when I use a white reflector it fills in the light on her face it goes fill in a little bit of the texture of her skin there but it makes a huge difference when I go ahead and you silver and I thought it would be interesting to not pick what would be obviously we would think yes obviously the contract would make a difference on her neck or on her chin but as the facts all the way up to someone's forehead what reflector you used to looking at it again here's when susan here's with no reflector here's with white maybe we're trying to get rid of some depth off of those those pimples if someone had them trying to soften it up a little bit but maybe you're thinking oh I really want to soften it so I'm going to use a silver reflector I want to fill in the shadows but adding silver actually increases contract you can see that here kind of on the sides of her mouth it's actually create texture there and significantly on her chin that it a lot more texture so just be aware of that maybe try the silver if that's the look you want and then try the white it might be the better way to go this also applies with individuals with oily skin if you're photographing someone with oily skin you go for the softer this after light the soft box and then you're like ok I want I want to fill in some of the light in the eyes and you add a reflector it's gonna have to be white because when you add that silver and you get that same problem with the forehead of all that texture coming back it's because it's a contrast e reflective surface okay so I had this lady come in for a session and she had a lot of texture to her skin so I just started off the second that she walked into my space I started off with a soft box wasn't even going to try any other life I would also if you have it when someone walks in with a lot of texture even go with a larger soft blocks or bring that light closer so we're talking right now about reflectors if you look here at the blemishes on the side of her face the highlights are lighter in the shadows are darker on all of these blemishes so when I go ahead head and add phil underneath yes you can technically see the blemishes more cause I've let them but they have less depth and so I flip again is before and here's after I'm actually kind of softened them because I've even them out so I added two reflectors white one from either side another thing that you want to consider and that I think about it if I was photographing a high school senior with a lot of bad texture to their skin I know I'm going to be re touching a lot and this light is going to be a lot harder to retouch out those blemishes then this light because I'm trying to keep realistic radiance of shadow and highlight versus this is a lot flatter so it'll be significantly easier to get rid of those blemishes so that's actually how my mind works as well is I'm not going to give myself lighting that's going to have really really soft radiance from shadows the highlights and rembrandt because then I gotta work more with the shadows and it's a little bit harder to look realistic so this would be the direction that I might go with her and if I needed teo sculpt the face a little bit later I might retouch out all those blemishes and then in photo shop give her little contouring a little bit more shadows underneath the cheeks a little bit brighter highlights so that would be how I would shave her face as I said yesterday I always work with makeup artist that's not even an option to hire me for a shoot so that would give you it would really help you out here I talked to my makeup artist back home and I asked her I said well what do you do if someone has really bad skin and you're trying to fix it and you're actually layering on so much foundation that it layers on the base so that it comes up to the blemishes so that everything is even and there really isn't that texture because everything's kind of at the same level so then you can go a little bit more dramatic with your light and shape the faith because everything is kind of at the same the same height from the skin all right so let's go even more extreme so I said okay softer light sources make sure you're using filled that will help you out a little bit don't you silver because at my add too much contrast but I want to show you the extremes this is what happens when I use really really contrast the lights from a high angle it's raking I'm going to see a lot of that readiness and watching this inner skin I'm going to see all of that texture the highlights are going to be brighter the shadows were going to be darker but the furthest extreme is doubly like very bounce light it's soft light and then it's bounced so I used this all the time this is one of the set ups I use most often and so what she's doing is she sitting in front of a window but the window is behind her and I put myself in a little v flat corner so this is the v flats the bookends that I was talking about how I have to in my studio two of them so it's actually four pieces of four by eight foot black and one side white on the other and they're taped into little bees and so I put myself in this corner of white and she's sitting there with a window behind her so the window light streams through it hits the white v flat and bounces back so it is bouncing from everywhere and it's really really soft I really decrease is a lot of the color in the skin it really decrease is a lot of the texture of the skin and that's going to be a lot easier to retouch yeah if I want to go ahead and give her more shape I'll put highlights here and a little bit of shadow there I'll still leave this highlight on her job but the shadow would kind of go in there the highlight would go up here so I can kind of shape it later on and of course I'd be working with makeup so it would help me out anyway so this is not exactly what I've seen so do and sue does a lot of bounce light but it's kind of the same principle but when I turned her around and I put hers that she was facing the window it was too harsh of a light even even though his window like I was seeing a lot more saturation terrorist skin so the extra balance was even more forgiving so we're going to take a look at that and we're going to give a demo so can I have john over here and then we'll get my set ready um can I start with the silver dish please the seven inch way I have you for a moment wait you're not this all oh no no I kick it down yeah I look really weak I'm not that weak it was just a little see it is challenging that just may thank you right there ah a lot taller excellent so we're going to start off mimicking the sun slash really contrast the light source and the most important thing here is she's got redder skin it's rose ear it's a little bit redder eso what we're going to do is you're going to see with this light modifier because it is silver and it is small and we're working with directional here the red will look writer oh you guys were blinded a little bit better I mean all I can't totally save you but all right let me take a shot here alright perfect and underscores one third was stopped just right in and may I grab a quick culture shock perfect you always says that he sells her to smile all right so if you look like it feels in on the previous photo on the right hand side of the cheek great around there and I can't stand this screen can you whoever it's robert's reddest oh yeah you can see it there okay so just because we're using in contrast the light modifier the skin just looks warmer and it looks redder so that's why I say okay let's go ahead and switch over if I were dealing with having textured skin she has a nice texture of skin so I don't need to worry about it but I would go ahead and at least try to flatten out my light move it to the front add a reflector make sure it's soft so they're kind of all that kind of works together so I'm going to start can I have the soft box okay okay perfect great thank you okay so now if I go ahead and I use a soft box look and I would need to grab a color checker again okay thank you so it's going to be a little bit more forgiving so it's going to be a little bit more forgiving on the skin not quite as red and to soften it even more I would add a white reflectors who have won more so where I see the readiness right now is just a little bit on this side of the face on the shadow side so I'm thinking okay so if it's to contrast it part of the reason I'm seeing that is the shadows as you're having that grady and gets a little bit more saturated so have weight on that side please so soften up a little bit and bringing in just a little bit more perfect great and so that's it I mean it's not anything profound if anyone was looking for like the super fix all solution that really isn't the go softer fill in where there's too much texture use white instead of silver reflectors but oh perfect I'm going to do a simulation real quick off that doubly bounced light so can I ve that okay so I'm actually gonna put it here and I'm going to put the great where I was standing I wanna put this behind her so I'm gonna fake that window example and lindsay there were folks in the chat room there were a couple of people who are asking what avi flat wass and so this is what players you'll see it um yes but behind me with the white open oh I'm probably causing issues here I'm gonna switch this cord so I am right now what I'm doing is I'm going to simulate that window light and I could do this a couple different ways but these are some of my tricks for going for really soft bounced light okay so I'm pretending this is my window excellent looking kind of window we perfect or I'm going to disappear for a second okay bye okay and I'm gonna be honest on this one I don't usually use a light meter because it's not like you're making it up it's however bright you on it so let me let me test even close to the right exposure I'm probably not even all right hold on might bump up my s o way up a little bit much all right here we go I'm going to bring us in even more you going okay still hiding and you can give me one more favor can you bring that soft box right up behind it like right up there excellent a little bit more that way it's not quite centered okay so it's the same approximate area approximate concept right about there right so can I have the color checker and then mike on this one can you color check it so that it gets correctly color checked like that um yeah I'll take one more picture wait blink thank you one serious for me okay all right so this is my fake window example so we can take that away sorry thank you so and then can you go to the one previous and then just add some contrast back in just yeah drag contrast is fine okay and then zoom into its skin on her face on the right hand side okay see how there's like no bread okay this is this is not how I'd really shoot it but this is like that's my window now can you go back to one of the harsh ones so watch that same side of the cheek we're going like way back super harsh go in go in not that far okay now human if there is like it's like a lot more red and a lot more textured from those photos to the window balance example okay so I'll take questions then I'll keep him moving on way are always excited about question all right question from design queen I'm curious if I blew our green reflector can be used similarly to a photo filled filter in photo shop to reduce readiness a blue or green reflector actually like bounce the light I've never heard of that it's an interesting concept in a coma yesterday used primer on me for the red that had some redness in my skin and it was green to counteract it I would say that you are significantly better off just tweaking the color and post where you want it selectively because if I'm using that green reflector it's affecting the shirt it's affecting the hair and so now in the shadows of the hair you're going to have green or whatever color so I say that'd be much more of a post processing thing than in camera school question from divine chaos art do you treat other body parts the same as you would the face save someone has read hands so the thing is with red hands let's say someone has different colored hands and this is this happens a lot I was looking today and my legs aren't the same color as the top of me I was trying to analyze exactly you know how many stops of science was being a nerd in school anyway s so a lot of times people especially really pale people or people that are really cold will either have really red hands really magenta and your face will be yellow I don't light any differently because that's not what I'm focused on the biggest issue is if they put their hand next to their face and that is that's a retouching thing because there's nothing you can do to correctly light one and not the other if I were doing a fine art nude and someone had really red skin all over then yeah then I would use softer light source try to be doubly balanced not his directional all those types of things so lindsay I know we talked yesterday about giving into freckles is this a good time to ask a freckle question or is that coming up nothing okay great uh james I don't know if we were doing a freckle segment now they just read quick retouching that'll be tomorrow so james carson photo said I have a model I worked with often that has hundreds of freckles that almost look like many bumps on her arms and shoulders what would you do with this to help eliminate it I've tried diffusers but I still have a lot of post work there's really not much you can do that's more of a makeup thing if you really don't want it there than I would have to go with makeup or retouching because if you've already gone ahead and he said diffused light found slate softly not direction like you've already done everything that you can so it zit makeup and post processing one from simba this image will be so difficult with a dark skinned model so what's your suggestion for darker skin tones that have long wishes do you do anything differently or is it the same technique no more or less the same thing okay thanks any questions in the room you have a model of white skin freckles and blemishes but you want the freckles okay so you're still that you will still see the freckles um I would d'oh a little bit more phil to tryto because this this is um thinking a model right I do a little bit more phil to try to fill in under the blemishes I could still use a contrast more country's crown trusty modifier like a beauty dish but I could also use a soft box and then I would no I just have to retouch out blemishes be a balance thing so I am going to show you retouching for freckles tomorrow it's not it's still not easy I have a couple short cuts but it's not you know there's no really super easy way to do it so question from love and photography what is the best way to light and retouch like peach fuzz on the face okay peach fuzz shows up mostly with breaking breaking light so is keeping your light more centered and having more fill so the same thing like if someone has five o'clock shadow even it would be like the same kind of fields have a little bit more hair so flatter light more fill the retouching part we're going to talk about that so it's yes or not now but we'll do it and maybe one final question from maroni or mr hana for blemishes why not just set the light to give a less flat look and then just remove blemishes and photoshopped with spot healing is that what you do if you really do want like a really contrast you look and you just embrace the fact that you're gonna have to deal with it yes absolutely so every single shoot that I'm doing it's a balancing act over how much retouching I have to do to get the light that I want and that's that's what I was hoping if I don't say so yesterday that's the whole idea is you're saying okay I know that flat and senator light with a lot of phil gets rid of texture and decreases the color and it's the most flattering but it's also really flat it's really dull and there's not a lot of mood so as soon as I move the light off to the side and raise it up and pick a contrast the modifier now I'm kind of tearing away at that skin so I figure out where how much am I doing the retouching how much my saving in camera if you're the type of person that maybe you're photographing like bulk school photos like a lot of kids coming in you're photographing photographing them and you're not doing retouching or you want as little as possible because you're doing bulk then of course you didn't try to get it as soft as possible but if you are doing shooting for a magazine and you have this particular mood and feel that you want you want to carve out their features then I would opt for the more retouching in order to get that look so it's a constant balance

Class Description

Capturing beautiful skin tones is essential to the success of any portrait, yet skin is notoriously difficult to photograph and retouch. Skin comes in all colors, tones, and textures — each requiring different treatment.

Learn how to handle your subject's skin and add polish to all of your portraits. In this course, Lindsay Adler will take you through the essentials of understanding, lighting, photographing and retouching skin in all its variations.

Lay a strong foundation for a great shoot by learning easy make-up tips. Get an in-depth look at how light modifiers, reflectors, and direction of light impact the appearance of skin for both natural light and studio lighting. Learn advanced color calibration and color correction. Master setting up your camera to capture accurate color and when to modifying in post-production to get ideal skin representation.

Lindsay will teach you how to work with a variety of skin textures and tones – whether the skin is very pale, extremely dark, very oily, has extreme blemishes and much more. You’ll learn everything from how to photograph each type of skin to how to retouch these varieties in skin.

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 14.2


Aliah Husain

Lindsay is an INCREDIBLE photographer and teacher, and also seems like a wonderful person! This class is great for beginners and more advanced photographers, as well. She goes into tons of detail on all the technical stuff like lighting and editing, and it is fascinating to see her interact with and shoot her models, work with her equipment, and photoshop like a pro. Huge amounts of information for what you pay for. If you are looking to improve your skills in photographing and retouching people, purchase this class!!

Kirsi Todd

Lindsay is probably my favourite instructor (and that is saying a lot, as there are many incredible instructors). She is so clear in her teaching and she also seems like such a nice and humble person despite her incredible success. This course is one of the best courses I have ever seen. Thank you Lindsay and Creative Live!

Andrew Lederman

Great course. Lindsay Adler is one of the best instructors for any creative live classes that I have seen. Simple and easy to understand, clear workflow, very friendly and non condescending like some other instructors. Could you put a link (maybe I just didn't see it) to where to download the actions used in this tutorial?