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Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lesson 19 of 37

Shoot: Pale Skin and Multiple Skin Tones


Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lesson 19 of 37

Shoot: Pale Skin and Multiple Skin Tones


Lesson Info

Shoot: Pale Skin and Multiple Skin Tones

he's my light skin model which I think is many people in seattle because it's kind of pale here anyway so for him that much that you do differently it's just you do want to use shadow you want some dimension to the face if I flat like him he has no shape there's no interest so let's we're going to use a beauty dish because I want a little bit more chris chris shadows but I know that if I use a silver dish now silver reflected the small one there's a lot of contrast there and he's already kind of very pale so I don't want the highlights to go blown out so I would opt for their beauty dish or a soft box and I would try both depending on the look I was going for I'm going for something with chris jawline and crisp shadows I'd go more for the soft idea beauty dish than a soft box so perfect and uh yeah I'm tryingto see modeling likewise will give it a try here I don't know if they can you turn down the main lights a little bit just a tiny bit for a second they can see what the light is doi...

ng okay all right then let me give it quick exposure test here lovely all right so perfect okay so if I'm totally totally flat light him there's just not much dimension to the face it's not I mean he's handsome his nice bone structure so it's not bad okay but there's not as much shape so I might pull the beauty too soft inside a little bit so I can have a little bit more modeling I get a little bit more of a grady and of the shadow on the side of the face so I'm creating shadows from his nose around his jawline and reason let up a little bit just a little bit more shape great take another one and open up a tiny bit good and election for him all right so the biggest difference is I want a shape with my shadows so I went ahead and I said okay was too low and flat and move the light off the side of giving him a little bit to mention let's do the color checker and what we're going to do here is we're gonna actually go against what is advised by the color checker well said he said dude upside down okay perfect just like that right in front of him all right great okay so what we're going to do this time is we take a look at the color checker and mike I'm going to give you some very specific instructions can you click on the bottom one of the center grey's with the white balance um uh uh so that's what truly neutral woz and I think I can't tell from this matter I think she got cooler like it didn't it's okay tell me roughly all right what I want you to do now is I want you to click on the second row from the top use the white balance and click on the far right there yeah okay so you see that it warmed it up significantly so now would you just click and start all the way from the left to the right for that one there's that and keep going each one warms up the picture a little bit so you can kind of gauge how warm you want those skin tones and it's kind of subjective like if you if he is very pale maybe you want him to look like that but often and photos with someone who is very pale skin you want just a little bit more warmth to it I tend to under expose a little bit and then go ahead and click on one of those I droppers and so if you actually look at the patches I know that nobody can see me but if you actually look at the patch is they get bluer as you go right which means if you're saying that that's neutral your camera reads it and says or lightman reason says ok wait this is supposed to be neutral and there's blue in it so we have to warm up the picture so that's what it's doing each one is progressively warmer so then it's pretty easy for me to go back and think that to the previous photo white balance then I could go back here and select ok so you can see them all shifting they can see this right yeah you can see the most you can seem all shifting and so you can just pick whatever white balance you think is best and so I can see is before and after you have why sentence before after okay that's cool it's all good anyway so that's going to look significantly warmer than say it's gonna look a little bit warmer and I can of course tweak the white balance a little bit so maybe something about their so that's really it for him I switched to a soft box I'm gonna give me kind of more even skin tones across his face s o I don't have toe under expose as much because I'm not worried about the highlights going over exposed gives you a little bit more consistency but that's it so I'm going to jump on to the more challenging thing unless you have questions okay thank you and we can turn those lights back up you guys in production for and if you can send me back to the keynote alright alright so I have these air addressing like the serious questions that people ask me all the time that they have more difficulty with multiple skin tones in the same photograph and that also photographing a very dark skin person and I go wait balance is changing this is what we're talking about now I won't look as pale because they got warmer excellent okay so we're going to talk about multiple skin tones in the same photo and then very dark skin in a wedding dress how would you do that particularly right now we're talking about in the studio so the challenges with mixed column mixed own skin in the same photograph the light skin either looks overexposed or the dark skin looks under exposed like how do you make them both look correct exposure three other challenge is that there's just so much of a tonal difference between uh first and foremost the most important thing to remember is you're not trying to make a dark skinned person look like skin then I'll hide skin person look darker where you're just trying to do is make sure one doesn't look over exposed so when I look at a photograph the light skin person still going to look really pale and didn't do anything wrong you just don't want the highlights to be overexposed or on the dark skinned person you don't want to have no detail in their face so one thing that we come back to again is more diffused light sources because when you use a harsher light source the highlights will get brighter meaning the light skin tones will look lighter and the dark skin tones will look darker so if you're lighting for example a bride and a groom and they are different skin tones you're probably going to go with a soft box or some sort of diffused light source right now we're talking about in the studio you do want to bring the darker skin tone closer to the light because they're closer still light then it's going to bring up their exposure a little you can also play with feathering and I'll actually demo that's you guys can have an idea what that would mean is if the darker skin tone is next so light so if I say I was the darker skin tone okay and then there was a lighter skin tone here you actually changed the angle the lights the lights not hitting the lighter skin tone is much so they look they will actually under expose him a little bit so now the exposure between the two will be more similar so we'll download that as well and then you can also use some more fill light on the darker skin tone all right so for example making this picture I had a girl with dark skin tone that was read a girl with medium skin tone that was yellow and then a very very very pale girl so how did you put them all together in one exposure so here we go so if I start with even her in the middle I'm telling you I did not tweak and I didn't have the right behind the scenes photo but I did not tweak this is all that is actually how overexpose she went when I was looking for correct exposures on them she was much more overexposed so the minimum at minimum what I did is I moved the light skin the most light skinned person away from the light so it did darken her down a bit not a lot but it did improve the situation a little bit the light source that I have chosen for this photo we actually have one here in the studio it's called parabolic umbrella and the reason that I chose this it's easier to feather and you know it's easier to feather because the fact that it's deeper the way that it's built has faster light fall off which means my feather makes more of a difference how I often describe this if you see me teach light as they talk about the bucket of water on dh so if you have a pan of water like a beauty dish got water from you guys to a pan of water a k a beauty dish and I throw it it spreads out and hits all of you but if I have a deep bucket of water and I throw it it's just going to hit him because it holds that shaped longer okay so now if you go to another light source and let's assume I'm using a really broad soft box okay so it really may be a bigger pan and I want to change the angle so when I'm throwing that water that doesn't hit someone on the far side and change the angle but it's still spreading out everywhere well that parabolic umbrella is deeper so my movements for angle make more of an effect so I'll be able to have that water kind of not hit you I'm just a little bit and then a very sharp line when you're fully illuminated so that's kind of how I'm working with light and that's why if I know I'm going to feather or if I have a group of people with drastically different skin tones then I know that I'll put the darker skin tones closer to the light and feather it so it's not hitting the lighter skin tones as much so what you see here this is my zeppelin which is a parabolic umbrella and all I did is I angled it away so the light hits her less so take a look at her exposure that's from feathering so the girls and the girl in the middle and on the far right still say correctly exposed again before that's when she's evenly lit it's pointed right at the center it's evenly lighting everyone and now I aimed it away so that the uh the edge or the edge of the light is kind of just sitting here so again gets darker okay so I've started that the next thing that I might d'oh is go ahead and add a reflector over here try to fill in some light pop into the shadows a little bit more and I decided that I didn't like the dark shadow on her so I added a reflector that has nothing to do with this I just decided I liked that look better so what we have is the latest person furthest from the light feather the late so there's less weight on that individual in an ad film light underneath the or to the darker subject and so that's kind of the end look that we got which was drastically different than when I started with you can do a lot of different things to light multiple skin tones in the same photograph but this is one approach also the pair balk umbrella I had had diffusion on it so it has diffusion material which means it's less contrast e which means there won't be as big a difference between the lighter skin tones and the darker skin tones so softer light source all right let's take a look at photographing dark skin tone in a wedding dress okay so the challenge is that you have if you've ever photo very dark skin tone in a wedding dress is there's too much exposure range like the wedding dress is really really bright in the skin tones really dark and you're not getting everything in one photograph either it looks like her face is correctly supposed or the dress not both so the dress goes over exposes the face is cracked the face comb over exposing the dress is correct so these are your solution that you have using a diffused light source helps you out like a soft box but what I do is I layer the light this is talking about in the studio in a more controlled situation I use multiple light sources so I would like her face with one light that's turned up more and I would like the dress with another light that's turned down so let's take a look s so dark skin tone s so this is when I went ahead and just use a soft box and it's not terrible but the dress is definitely overexposed it's not so over exposed that you couldn't save it in post processing so just know that like if you were willing to do some work you could recover the highlights but who really wants to do that to every photo of the wedding dress so it's easier to get it correct in camera and also the version that we're going to end up with this looks nicer all right so the next thing that I did is they said okay I know that in order to have her face correct or the sari in orderto have the dress correct her face is going to be too dark but if I have her face correct the dress is too light so I got a pick one or I got a light so what I chose to dio as a settle right let's light her face on its own first and so I used a beauty dish and a grid and the reason that I used to grid is because of grid focuses the light and I just wanted to light her face I didn't want to light the entire the entire wedding dress so that beauty dish right now that's the only thing that's firing in this photograph and it nicely lights her face so I can get the correct exposure there and then I can stack this off box behind it or slightly below it and when I turned that on eye consent the power just enough to correctly expose the wedding dress so I've got basically two different zones face exposure dress exposure I'm trying to make them talk and so that's what I get when I combined them together so now the dresses correctly exposed and the faces correctly exposed at the same time and I actually went ahead and I used three big white v flat in order to put a nice highlight to separate her so that the shadow's weren't going to complete black I wanted a little bit more light and for those of you who are more discerning eye actually in the v flat I took a light and pointed toe in so that I could have a little bit more strength that feel like originally it was catching it it wasn't enough so you don't have to do that this is the direction that I went so my final photo beauty dish with the grid to light her face add in the soft box and turn the power up appropriately so the dress is the correct exposure and then I want to you know I want to control what those shadows looked like so added of e flat or another light source on the other side to fill in so the quality of the shadows is how I want them so that is specifically for working in the studio and that was kind of the final look that we had okay so I'm going to keep going first time okay all right but how about if I switch it up and I have a couple together okay so you've got a really pale gentlemen in black like a tux any darker skin woman in a wedding dress there's there's endless combinations so it's going to depend like maybe it's the other way around maybe it's the really dark skin person is in detox and then it's the lights so use what I have told you that you got to kind of do the math for each one but for example here so right now the paler person is towards the light and he's getting washed out a little bit so I am going to switch it around I can add some phil let's say this is going to be a situation I can't change where they are or I can't change the light source you could just add phyllis it's not his dark okay so I'm gonna go ahead and switch it around and I'm gonna put her closest to the light and now I run into the dress problem right because now she's close to the light so the lights going to be over exposed on her dress we'll get to that I'll give you a couple tips let's say I want them to both be correctly exposed I put her closest to the light because she's darkest I want her to be later and then I add phil so that the light is kicking into a phil card or reflector or I can put another light there if I want to fill in the shadow side of her face so I'm controlling the shadows to the shadows don't fall too black all right so the biggest problem that I have there is in fact that the dress is probably a little too light so I have a couple of things you could dio you could get fancy and do what we just did in the previous shot where you layer the late and then you put a soft box for the rest you could do that or another option is you can consider rotating the soft box because right now the soft box vertical it's lighting the whole dress and so there's going to be a lot more like hitting the white surface if I rotate it horizontally it will wrap around and hit him oer which we want filling him but then there's more light fall off down the bottom of the dress so actually changing the positioning of my soft box in this instant could help me save that dress if you don't have three lights set up and blah blah blah just make sure the dress isn't overly exposed you could pull back those highlights a little bit so what I ended up going with you could like I said I end up going with something like this I added another light for phil instead of the v flat both are fine so he still pale and she's still dark but they both have good looking skin tones for each one of them in this photo instead of only one of them looking good this is obviously much easier to control in the studio that's why we are going to shoot mick skin tone couple on location we're going to shoot them upstairs so you can see that all right so I am going to shoot that because I think I have like can I have ten okay good excellent okay so I will even okay obviously right there for a second but I will bring up kind of bringing out here perfect okay so may I have the soft box first I'm gonna make a mess of things okay all right so take my word for it for time's sake if I use a contrast the light source that dress will be completely overexposed when her skin is correctly exposed that's how the lights work so take my word for it we went ahead and selected a defuse the light source and grabbing my camera okay and I'm gonna do mid length because you had to see what's actually going on with the dress right and I don't know exposure on me waking up a little bit all right so if I go for correct exposure on her face may be about here okay that's correct exposure on her face the dress is definitely overexposed it's too bright so I start losing that detail I do know I can probably say that imposed but means we have to do that for every photo not really what I want to dio so he does help a little bit to rotate the light and change the angle it does help a little bit because now the light isn't pouring down her entire body it's a little bit more focused but I know I'm still going toe have some over exposure there the same example of the bucket of water is right now I'm standing back here and throwing that bucket of water so the light's going to spread out so one of the ways that can make the light concentrate more on her face is by getting closer so if I'm dousing you and water you're you're getting wet right now I'm doesn't even want it from here and I threw the bucket of water it lights it will like him what I had to tell but if I move into here now it's just his head and shoulders so if I want the light to spread around less I could move that in or at a grid there are grid for soft boxes grids also focused the light so I will do that and I'll just move it in and get into person space a little bit great can I have your turn side with just leave it right there and then shoulders back towards me a little bit keep coming keep it right there and look back at me and I'll face me straight on again see if I can show the three quarters to take a half step that way all right so helps a little bit down the dress see how the bottom of the dress isn't always overexposed but it's still not going to be enough so if I really wanted perfect in camera I've gotta add a second light and do we have agreed for that around okay perfect so I'm going to turn off this light and all I want to do right now is just like her face we're going to build this in so all right it's going to move this back for seconds and I'm using a beauty dish with a grid that the light is just focused here you could just use a bt dish or you could use a beauty dish and with sock on I hate putting these in I can totally help yeah I know it's the same in my studio I never use and it's always my fault someone who's dropped it and I never okay so we're going teo like just her face and it's weak tim house lights for this so I can see what we can share with the modeling lights really doing all right great perfect so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring this late way in human okay don't bring this late weigh in I wanna raise it up and if you look I'm basically disliking her face there's a little bit of light on her dress but not really and so I can also set the mood of the light in her face so if you want it more dramatic cavalli off to the side I can also flatten it out a little bit and have it more from the front the closer I bring that light the less spill there will be it will be more focused just on her face and I can also change the angle a little bit but right there looks pretty good to me so let me do a test exposure okay so this is what I'm getting just with the beauty dish on lee and so if I take a fooling shot of her this is what the beauty dishes doing with the grid it just likes her face and the nothing down the rest of her body so that gives me the opportunity to have her lit in two different planes so now can you make that lower it's a little more complicated so we're going to do is we're going to change the angle of this in my studio I have uh floor what you call it floor stands stands is what has looking for floor stands but I can put that soft walks literally on the ground and then fill it in and just write about they're probably just perfect now that's great that's great so I can turn this off and see what this one is doing and I can see it's not really lighting her face may be just a little bit and I could do the same thing can I bring it up to the front a little bit more flatten it out just a bit and because of how big the light is this pole in the way doesn't really make that much of the difference because it's wrapping around so it really makes minimal difference so I can like her that way and I'm going to turn the beauty dish on and I would just I mean just to be honest I would just test it I could see at what point it looks good let's try try there okay great thank you good and let me maybe open up just a tiny bit and control up a tiny bit like the five so now I have complete exposure no doubt complete exposure on both her face and then on the dress and then I could go ahead and add a fill light or I would add on this side the flat if we have time that be my last step I'd go ahead and put the fight on this side so all the shadow that you're seeing a little bit underneath her chin and also on the side of her body that would be filled in by the flat because he's going to just catch this and kick it back in so that's if you want it perfect and be able to balance the exposures and angling up just a tiny bit more I'll take one more picture with the color checker once I had the light all right and it was great cool and here we got those great we'll do one more like this so I can kind of play with that later on and I'd add phil do you mind adding just holding a reflector for one I don't have my my have my view flats but at least I'll have a little bit of phil and just to the right hand side of her face right there even closer they're good sort of fill in a bit okay so keep going for time's sake perfect um I'm actually gonna grab my gentleman while I have this all set up all right so let's say you don't want a lair light so we're not we're not gonna do that right yet we're going to turn this off and get it out of the way did you know you were getting married ah you guys are way too cute okay so I want to do is I'm going to use a less contrast e modifier I'm going to use a soft box so can you raise it up and bring it in a little bit for me and I'm going to have the person with the darker skin closer in this case to the light I'm gonna bring you in a little bit and that way okay now look like you like each other that was good I like that excellent so what I can do is two things here's a regular picture as is if I really I need to have all the detail in a dress in this instance you'd have to do the larry in the light or pull it back and post or shoot with a camera with fourteen stops a dynamic range like you know you could do that as well but let's just assume that we're not okay all right so I'm going tohave you turned towards him you turn towards her and perfect so I'm just gonna close you up can you put your hand on her hip on the back side yep and then turn your body towards cameras a little bit great something like that I'm not going fancy ok because I want you to really see the light not supposed to mess it up okay and then can you put your hand behind him as well that hand very okay great all right so as I'm looking here this is the straight shot with the soft box and the dress is still going to be light and he's still going to be later she's still going to be a little bit darker but one thing I can do is I can feather my life so I can go ahead and turn the light so it's a little bit darker on him let's see if that was enough to take a quick look okay so we'll see in this example you see it a bit her arm gets a little bit brighter her face gets a little bit brighter and he gets a little bit darker just a bit okay with that I'm looking at this and that shadow the shadows on this side of this way too dark so I've got to control my shadows so can I bring that beauty dish in without a grid this time I know uh trust me my whole team feels the same way that I changed my mind nonstop I'll be like no great await good and and then they're not happy with me so yeah I could definitely feather the light I could even go a little bit more pretty good all right great no problem so now I can fill in the shadows I could do it with another light could be a white umbrella or I could do it with the flat of the flat's going to be much more subtle but some kind of feel like perfect and model great and I want to turn it off of that strength okay try something like this so all this is doing is going to fill in my shadows a little bit and I'm just going to tweak it as necessary still if you like each other again that was for the cue ok so this would be I would work obviously different poses and all that stuff but now yeah I mean that I really would you propose um so you kind of start off or they're not quite as even kind of go that direction and I feel then a lot here it's the same thing I could turn it down if I want I can feather it the filth off of him have more phil just on her would do one more like that great you like right there and I've got a shadow that I don't want so what manipulate that a little bit but you'll see phil on her he looks good using reflectors if I need to fill and more on her I can add a reflector I can rotate if I want less light on the dress try to angle it upwards a little bit so you're just trying teo fundamentally do this okay in this case what's more important to me the skin tone of the dress they're both important but I definitely need her skin to look good so I'm going to go ahead and put her a little bit closer to the light source okay then the next thing I need is alright add him to the scene and he's looking to white two pails what can I do I can feather my light off a little bit try to get some light off of him I could add some people in big commercial shoots the atago bo well actually put a piece of black fabric or something black in between the light in the subject on that side just too dark in that down this is bigger production so okay so we've gone ahead we've let her correctly we've darken him down a little bit now I've got to control my shadows so I'm gonna add another light source a reflector to pump up some white in the shadows and I know in this particular images image couldn't quite save the dress so I'm gonna have to pull it back a little bit but I definitely didn't overexpose it so far that it it won't be able to be recovered if it's just her alone I can do both no problem I can put a grated beauty dish or some other focus light source on her face and the soft box to illuminate the dress and then add in separation from the background or some kind of pill okay so doing a so I'm gonna have you guys take a break and continue to be friends enjoy that you guys since about for a second and I'm just have one more shots can I borrow you for a second thank you okay so when photographing somebody with beautiful warm skin tones like she does she has the most important thing is to have your color checker for sure because auto white balance if I take a shot of her is gonna have no idea what to do so I'm going to strike my set real quick so this isn't confusing to people just going to move this over thank you and can I have a silver reflector on that okay so I'm going to shape the light on her face and this is in between the dark skin tone and a light skin tone so I'm just looking for that beautiful glowing light she has great skin so I could easily photograph her with a beauty dish I could even probably go with a silver reflector she's got great skin tone and everything but I can start maybe I really want teo like she had awesome cheekbones I mean they're amazing so I already know if I want to see them more I can see them or I just got to raise that light up that's what I'm going to do and I'm going oh say can you see it already looks straightforward if the camera can get her cheekbones so straightforward here's with the light low take a look at her cheekbones and now with the light high like those cheekbones just carved out they look amazing that is pretty cool that's pretty awesome okay great so I want the late mostly centered I want super duper cheekbones like we have there and technical turn okay great so I'm going to take a test shot let's see and open up just a little bit okay so I take my test shot and it looks pretty good and notice already with her the shadows don't fall the complete black so I don't really have to worry about it if she were darker skin subject those shadows on the right hand side would be very black and then I had to decide who I want to fill in the lighter not so I like it but it doesn't quite have the sparkle I still totally wanted those cheekbones I raised the later to do so but I would like to fill in the shadows and I could do it with a reflector or I could do it with clam show light which is what I'm going to choose to dio lord way down and I'm going to show you real quick what auto weight balance gives me look straight at me see what ottaway found says for her okay I'm extremely cool so it's it's much much cooler oven image it's definitely not that glowing skin tone I was looking for so we're gonna grab a shot of that in a second perfect more all right and look right here at me no weight on my right side down a little bit okay oh yeah thank you and I'm gonna angle it down just a little bit can you reach that I can reach it on one turn this up a little bit here we go this could be a disaster okay uh normally I used to deal in a remote so because I'm short so I don't need to do that because you can control it right from the b er transmitter because I'm very short okay looking great so the whole time though I like the light on her skin but that color is totally wrong so let's test a colored sugar perfect right there is great and I'm going to pop over is that ok so I can show the difference when you take one more picture great all right popping over just to show you I can graham my white balance eyedropper on the with the next photo this one so I grabbed my white villains eyedropper select one of the grave and I can apply it to the other photo and it warms it up signature so here is the before and after home so the picture on the left was with auto and actually auto did better when I zoomed into her skin tone because it knew okay this is the predominant skin tone we're going to have to pay attention to that when it was wider on the image it was much much cooler my zoomed in auto got a little bit smarter so now I've got nice popular eyes not too dark shadows nice kind of glowing skin tones

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?