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Shoot: Dark Skin

Lesson 17 from: Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

17. Shoot: Dark Skin

Next Lesson: Dark Skin Q&A

Lesson Info

Shoot: Dark Skin

we are going to be demo ing the segment actually at the end of the previous segment as it was talking my mind went we just did a lot this is lunchtime yet like I literally thought we're at the second segment because I just talked a lot so all right so I am going to start I believe have you over here please yes okay I'm going to start just going through basically what we just went through I'm going to start with photographing a dark skin subject and the modifiers I would choose where I was how I would shape in the highlights and then fill in the shadows so hi how are you oh that looks nice I like it you want to take a seat there and I'm going to start off with the modifier that you don't want it you don't mind so um when I had her makeup done I requested very very matte makeup because the map makeup is going to decrease the amount of contrast to the highlights won't be this bright the shadows won't be as dark I will tell you that's not always the case sometimes they want shiny skin so t...

here's ah mei logged on my website there's an editorial that I did and it was called golden goddess and so the girl has gold jewellery on very dark skin with my favorite models on and she's covered in baby oil and it looks like it's all golden and if you look at that photo the shadow's definitely go to pure black and the highlight some of them definitely go to pure white but it wasn't me trying to light somebody's portrait so it's a little bit different between fashion and portrait what's important do I want them to look vibrant so I wanted to look like them be something nice they can use for they're wall or is it going to be like fine art where it's playing with highlight and shadow in colors so just know that all the things I'm saying aren't you final in fact a lot of times with creative fashion photography they go out the window like I do whatever I want it's more when it's like a beauty campaign or a portrait that I ve tried to follow these guidelines all right oh god think perfect sorry blending all right so the same thing I'm looking at where I am shaping at this point the highlights on her face that's kind of the the guideline so I have nice shaped the top of her face that looks good and I can say okay do I want it to be more dramatic I can introduce some shadows the same way you would photographing someone with pale skin but let me just take a look here just kind of ah evenly what picture and I will grab a color check her once I know my exposure is close it's not high so right and okay all right perfect so I grab a quick color checker great and I will take this shot and let's put up on the screen so for her the reason that I requested the mat makeup is already you can see the highlights getting pretty bright and the shadow's pretty dark and I'm going to use my camera as a reference so I took a quick look at this so if I'm looking here at the shadow side of her face you know that's that's a nice crisp picture the biggest problem I would have is I think the highlight on the forehead is a little bit too bright for me thankfully we did do the makeup so it makes it nice and matt also the thing I said before is you could if you had it is more of like a bigger production shoot you could introduce a gobo and or what they call a flag and actually put something that cast a little bit of shadow on the forehead if you wanted to use it a lot in high end beauty photography and commercial photography so just a little bit of shadow there but it's not really not too bad I would maybe fill in the shadow on that side of her face a little bit well let's say I want to I want to sculpt like I want I want a little bit more shape I want the highlights to be higher on her cheekbones because she's got great bone structure just raise this late up a little bit this is pretty low this latest pretty flat so when I go ahead and I want to make this feature's be a little bit more defined I could bring the late up and what I'm looking for this you want to see the catch lights all right that's good okay great so in doing so the shadow side of her face falls to complete shadow and so you have a choice what do you what you want to do do you want eliminated you want to fill it in you want to fill in the shadows just enough to see skin which is what I recommend phil enough so you can see the skin detail or I can add a highlight so could you grab the small white reflector perfect I'm going to give myself a little bit more drama here good for super dramatic and we have you on the shadow side for me all right you take one with mew would want that shot okay great so this is an example that sam going for drama and I want they want to have that ah highlight of rembrandt with them the entire side of her face just goes really really dark so what I can do is I can fill from the sign and head straight on for me and I will have you bring it even closer you can this is work out right okay so it starts to fill it in a little bit I got a little bit of detail but not enough so I had the switch is that silver on that sign I'll go be this over ok I'll grab this one and it's hold this and let's fill in their perfect great and even a little tiny bit more right there okay all right so that is like if I just don't want the shadows to go solid completely dark didn't really do too much but that's if you don't want tea do too much like the whole idea in this case as I still wanted to have just that highlight there and just pump in a little bit to the shadows of course they want that same lighting pattern I can go ahead and really fill in and what you're looking for for trying to catch the light if you're looking for the angle which is going to catch the light and bounced back so you might have to be around here to really get that light if I'm standing with my reflector up front there's no almost no light hitting me modeling light wass there's no light hitting me so I don't have anything to bounce so I would be placing my reflector more to the side angle that it'll actually catch that light so I'm going to fill in a little bit in the shadows let's do let's do silver and can you do it from behind so we do a little bit more I don't want the side of her face to follow the complete shadow is not good not enough definition so this is going to separate her out from the background it's going to introduce her jaw line a little bit so you'll see a nice shaping highlight on that side of her face and that's what happens when you put that reflector from behind if you just hold it to the side it just kind of filled in the shadow a little bit but if I have it close from behind it actually contours out the side of her face so I'm adding a highlight so I can see her job before I couldn't see her dawn now I can looks pretty nice alright cool but as I'm looking at this I don't really like I think that's a little bit to contrast you like so kind of dark beneath her I still too much texture so I wouldn't usually use a silver dish I would then for beauty look maybe go to a beauty dish and then maybe for portrait go to a soft rock so let's do a beauty dish for this next shot and I may not unmaintained assistant but I know I can't ask you to do it no I have to ask somebody will in our skin okay willing participant oh you were a beautiful subject was having my beauty edition I dropped it too much so it's quite possible all right let me turn that light back on muddling area okay it's a little bit hard to see in here with the modeling lights doing because we have the strong overhead lights but I can get roughly the idea so I'm trying to look for shaping with those highlights again I want that nice rembrandt highlight on this side we'll see what it looks like when I take a shot and I would need teo take another color checker because now that this is a white bounce light it's gonna be a lot warmer is just gonna have a different quality lights I would need to color check her every time I change the modifier with the reason that's not that big of a deal on set is usually you test out till you find what you like and then you shoot so you find what you like then you shoot it's not like I'm changing every three or four frames let's look here okay great looks beautiful open just a little bit okay perfect so same thing that light looks it has much more of a glow it doesn't look as harsh I think it looks really really beautiful I'll grab a color check her there great use that as my reference and then the same thing so I have two choices I could come in and if I just want to fill in the shadows I would hold the reflector and you guys can't see this but if I just wanted to fill in their foot in the shadows I'd hold it more to the front and that kicks the light into the shadows here if I wanted to keep the shadow because that's what I like that shadow the drama that it created that instead of lighting from here I'd catch and kick a reflector from back here to carve out her doll line you can use another back light source to separate her some things that you might consider would be instead of barn doors or a silver dish like I used that one photo you might be better off using a strip light especially for darker skin because it has less contrast strip light is a long and narrow soft box and the reason I like that is because it's not going to show as much texture it's not going to be as harsh if you're going for a portrait where you wantto have nice texture and tone to the skin so I will have you hold this for me on both sides will have you do front first right around there perfect all right so what you'll see now it doesn't get rid of that shadow it just lighten it up a little bit when we all shared the before after looks great and they can't have you hold it from behind and there you go great and I want to bring a little bit closer to this side great to see her tell them modeling lights not maybe there okay cool so can you just bring up the route those three pictures take a look so really dark filled in a little bit with the highlight on the side of the face and eliminating the shadows so it's not really super challenging another thing that I could do is well if I went ahead and I brought the beauty dish centered and raise the light up this is what I would do if I wanted to carve out her cheekbones so I wanted her face to have more dimension so I'd raise the beauty dish up I still want to see catch lights in our eyes may be right about there and I'm gonna have these nice triangles on the top of her cheeks but this is definitely a problem I knew I'd run into is when you do that everything is heavy here everything looks very dark and it starts to block up because again we have some limitations with our cameras so it just doesn't do as well in the shadows with darker skin tones so I know that I have to lighten it up I can take a white reflector if I still want to keep those shadows but I want some detail in the skin in silver if I want to try toe give more pop to her eye and start to get rid of some of those shadows white is going to be softer it won't feel a cz much silver if she had bad skin here you would start to see a lot of that bad skin texture you could just say I like what the silver does are we touch it out or say no I don't wanna have to retouch that let's switch overto white and just move the white a little bit closer to her and it will fillmore that's another thing the angle of the reflector where you put it makes a difference so can I just do one with weight great and jump just a little great so can you see in this example if you look at it really the highlights what shaping her face and then we just softened up the shadows a little bit and let's just try one more with silver and then we'll move on and I'll take some questions for that I actually might take a soft box just you can see the difference back it up a little bit in my studio I don't use reflectors this bank I usually use thirty inches because then I start running into this problem so I have thirty inch reflectors in my space he's a master so he's been in it and making it work for me great so okay it's very very obvious to see a huge difference here when you look at the texture on her chin soon as they introduced the silver reflector now there's a lot more texture on her skin but it did feel in the shadows a lot more and it softened it up a little bit so can you see that like here it's shiny if she had rough skin you would definitely see it all right so I'm going to do one more shot with a soft bucks and the soft boxes probably I'd probably go with the beauteous your soft cocks for a portrait probably the direction let's tio let's decide that'll be perfect thank you excellent I usually get a chance to talk with my models and my subjects beforehand because then when ideo as they figure out what do they do for hobbies where they from so in real life shoots in the downtime I could be like oh you're talking about that hobby you have and then they can talk about it first is like hi which is like not as not a school it's just a little bit so the soft box the highlights won't be is bright the shadows won't be as dark but where its place there's still going to have the shadow side of the face no side and change my exposure for the new light great so this is going to have much much more even skin tones throughout the throughout her face very nice even know super right highlights no super dark shadows and the same thing I can add a second light from behind to car for out or reflector I'm gonna have you do white really close from behind really super duper class great and the living ones like really perfect and straight on with head great so if you take a look at this one watch your chair jawline pop out a little bit so it's just got that cool little outline so when people ask me about how to photograph darker skin tones it's not really all that different I just know for sure I've got to get a color checker which I'm going to do before we move on from this I know that I have to think more about my shadows I got to think more about if they're falling to pure black and I don't want them to be I've gotta add more late and I've got to control that light is doing is it silver is flattening it out is it adding more texture is it white just giving her highlight in the jaw because very quickly with dark skin tones the chin ones into the neck with a side of the face blend into the background so I'm just kind of watching those things but otherwise I mean the quality of light same thing more diffused means that the highlights won't please break the shadows won't be his dark same thing if I want to have her cheekbones look higher I raised the light up because that's going to put the highlights higher up on her cheeks so shape with those highlights what I wanted to look like and then I feel care those shadows doing what I want all right and then I feel in is appropriate

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Makeup Contour Reference
Retouching Checklist
Frequency Separation
Retouching Files
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Gear Guide
Skin Retouching Action File

Ratings and Reviews

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?

Student Work