Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

 

Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: Wrinkled Skin

the next thing that we're going to cover is defined wrinkles and of course there's a different way that you want to handle this if somebody is maybe thirty five and smoked a lot versus ninety four like our model so but overall the same concepts apply so the challenges are is you want to reduce the depth of the wrinkles you're not going to get rid of them like it's that's not that's not where the what you're aiming to dio you're just trying to make sure that the shadows beneath the wrinkles aren't as defined because the shadows are what give it death but the other challenge that you have is when you get rid of dimension on the face and the face looks flat so it's the balance between where do I put my light to shape the face nicely but not give too much shape or too much death to those same wrinkles so this is what you want to keep in mind for your solutions more diffused light sources are better than less than contrast e so soft boxes octo boxes because high contrast light sources make ...

those shadows look darker okay the next part more centered and flatter light so if you are trying to carve out some one cheek bones and they have a lot of wrinkles as soon as you raise that light up all of them show and if you're going for a little bit more drama and you pull the light off to the side to create shadows it rakes across them as well so usually the light is tends to be a little bit more centered especially if you're going for a nice flattering portrait of somebody okay the next one is fill light to soften the shadows all right well maybe you don't want to have the light incredibly flat you want to give them a little bit of a job line you want to shape their face a little bit so you can do so but then you use the reflector underneath urchin to soften those shadows to fill them in just a little bit so the overall shape is maintained but it takes off some of that hard edge from the darkness of the wrinkles and that's it so I'll take a look at what that looks like in my examples here okay so modifiers to reduce wrinkles so we took a look at this guy yesterday some of the points we're going to be revisiting that we talked about here we have a silver seven inches oum reflector on the left than a beauty dish white and then a soft box and so yeah I mean you can kind of see you know the shadows are darker especially if you look you know looking kind of underneath his eyes here and on the side of his face the shadows look darker but you can also tell just looking at his forehead as you go with a softer light source the highlights on his bright and the shadows on his duck so that's one way one thing that'll help you out but also has to do with the direction of light where the light is in the scene we talked about this yesterday so you don't want to have the light really really high up the higher up that it goes deeper set those shadows are so you're better off to reduce wrinkles to keep that light a little bit lower so we'll take a look at him here you can see the beauty dish getting higher in each shot and in each and every shot those shadows get darker the wrinkles get more defined now his face definitely has more shape but it's not shape that we want so you take a close look here you can tell by the right hand side those bags underneath his eyes and the wrinkles have a ton of definition everything that we're talking about right now is about portrait's to flatter somebody but I don't know about you I love doing portrait it's like an old man with a lot of wrinkles and I want them to show and I wanted to have a lot of texture and a lot of death those air usually my creative portrait's not them hiring me to make them look younger and fresher but if I'm doing a personal shoe so you can use the same concepts in your head if you're saying okay know that I want a shot where I show all those wrinkles and all those textures then you would go with a more raised light for trying to reduce keep the light a little bit lower so again his one two and three okay direction of light so we talked about the direction of light up and down that tends to make more difference to showing wrinkles the height of your life now left and right how far off access your life is it still makes a difference but really the way that shadows were created under wrinkles is usually when the lights higher usually when you move the light off side to side you don't notice it as much unless it's vertical wrinkles and so that won't be a wrinkle in the centre of the forehead or smile lines smile lines we become much more defined as you move the light off center access left or right so that's always when I'm thinking of ok wolf there's one wrinkle that's bothering me if there's something that's really defined is it going to be changed by moving the light left or right or is another down one so taking a look at him here I move the light slowly to the right of the frame you can see I'm kinda kat loop a little further over that have got rembrandt light and the wrinkles that it would effect would be first of all his smile lines his cheeks they're so you can see how much darker and how much more defined they get well that one doesn't bother me as much but it would be wrinkles maybe like here in between his eyebrows if I were trying to reduce that and so you can see they get more depth as you go to the right as you move the light off to the side for more shadows so one two and three so just try to keep that in mind which way would moving the light affect that particular wrinkle this is another thing we did not touch on and this is a really big one if somebody has a lot of wrinkles or you want to reduce him it doesn't even mean a lot but if you're just trying to soften them up a bit you do want to use a reflector in that scene because otherwise to make them as flat as possible you're going to have to put the light here to try to fill in the shadows and then there's no shape to their face usually really really flat light make someone's face look a little wider makes it look a little bit rounder so you do want a little bit of shape so what you do is you put the light where you want it in height wines to shape the face and then you add a reflector underneath their chin most of the time for portrait we usually go with white because it softly fills them in it doesn't eliminate them but it fills them in realistically where silver is has more contrast it gets rid of them but it gives more texture to the skin so you'll be able to see what I mean in this example so the picture on the left is no reflector and then we have silver and we have white so you can see looking at his eyes I mean these bags under his eyes are significantly reduced with the silver and you see that even compared to the white there's a lot less shadow under his eyes but more texture texture to his skin and the catch lights don't look as natural for photographing a gentleman especially for portrait so you could look here the catch lights in the amount of phil so the center the silver gives you the most filled but it doesn't I don't think it quite looks as natural for this particular person I think the white is what I would go with it's going to be different for everyone I would be more likely to use silver for phil for photographing a woman then I would for a man just in general it's not like one hundred percent this just tends to be the direction that I go on and usually the older the individual attend got more for white thin silver as well just looks more natural they're here again here is no phil here's silver I mean the wrinkles go away hugely and then there's whites I think white just looks more believable so that is how you photograph to reduce wrinkles and here's looking at the extremes the picture on the left I said we want a centered light and flatter so I have a soft light source we produces wrinkles and I have centered above him and lower and a soft box so those air checking everything off the list and then adding a reflector so we have soft box centered lower with a white reflector and that's kind of the portrait you're going to get over here and then the other extreme is a harsh modifier of silver dish silver reflector high up and far off to the right and it gives a lot more definition in a lot more shape to everything and so anything you want in between depends on the subject depends on the mood you're going for but that's going to depend on each particular shoot so hopefully you can use those tips and figure out what works best so I believe we're ready to photograph if you wantto bring the lovely lady out you have questions while we get set up here I just think we're excited to introduce our model who I think we've seen once before on grid of life we've seen the result of her a lot this of course is john cornyn fellows wonderful mother who we are so excited to have she is ninety four years young and delightful when a chair chair it's so great that would be great just watching john and her together it's summer time so I walk by her this morning and I tried to say hello but she didn't look at me so I went closer she was like oh I can't see dear okay hear or see you but I think you know they're talking about you know I know we're talking about her she's a restroom amazing such a great person big smile big heart and she doesn't know that there are many many people on the internet watching her right now is great thank you perfect all right so I would like a reflector please so first what we did is we got a shock box we're going for softer light if you have even a larger soft box the larger the soft boxes a softer the light so when I was photographing significantly older people when I was first starting photography my go to was I had a five foot octa box or six foot doctor box a gigantic one because what happens is the light wraps from above and below and from the left and from the right so what it's doing that's filling in the shadows from every direction it doesn't give you much control it's basically filled in soft light from all directions which is why it's not necessarily applicable for different looks but if you want to soften wrinkles absolutely large because like I said if the light source also reaches down here that light is filling in from beneath us well that works perfectly so we have a soft box and senator late ish great so let me see I'm gonna raise it up just a tiny bed it's a little like they're perfect okay so I'm going to do a test shot okay let me take a test shot okay so I have the light pretty centered and I am going to point it down with a little bit right now it's kind of skimming across the top of her head and what that will do is it will light here but it will emphasize shadows here more because the light isn't quite pointed directly so that's going to wrap more going to feel a little bit more perfect something else that you could do is you could also rotate the soft back sideways what that does it fills in more from below and at the top but because it's going to be more from the side you'd have to add phil from the side to counteract the shadows it's created alright so may I have silver phil first excellent meeting yes clothes perfect all right right okay cool and now can I have the white okay great and so perfect right there is good and a little bit lower down is a little bit good and then is there another white reflector like is that one weight is well and the inside can we do that so what I would do as well as I look at this photograph I've kind of flat in the light off you can see when it falls off to the side that there's a little bit more shadow there so what I would do in my space is instead of having a ton of different reflectors holding everywhere I would use a b flat so of the flat is a piece of foam core usually four by eight foot and what I would do is I would be able to use it just out of frame here so that its filling in all those shadows for me perfect and I could also rotate this soft box to the side and I can lower it down and so now what this light is going to dio uh just a little bit so now what the light's going to do is it's going to fill in a little bit more from beneath still going to bounce and phil and then this reflector what I would use would be a vey flat piece of foam core is going to fill in on the shadows on the side of her face okay so you're going to see if you look at this everything gets much much softer and so I'm not trying to eliminate I'm just trying to be gentle basically my goals there and so just so you can tell and that's I mean this is still me trying to be soft and all these examples can I do one with harsh light so we're going to one just you can see the before but let me take questions what we switch that if there are any yeah could you talk just briefly about the size of the modifier using and why for to do sunrise okay so this is a three by four foot soft boxes the pro photo soft box and I want to solve box that is big enough to wrap around the subject in fact probably I would go with bigger if I have this space for this particular use so I'd probably go with the four by six or an octopus box but maybe a five foot doctor box because it wraps and fills in all the shadows if you have a smaller soft box bring it in closer the light will get softer but it's a balance between how much space you have because a lot of people who have a small studio space speaking of you know as far as like space I mean if you don't have that type of space whether you do is for is like trying to do just get a bigger piece foam core or yeah and so I'll just exactly I'll try to fill in the shadows more if the light isn't big enough to fill in all the shadows then I go ahead and I just have more reflectors one underneath one to the side so let's say I'm photographing a group photo and I don't like I can't put a reflector underneath and then my late that you know you're tryingto work around that if I'm photographing maybe a group of people where I want to soften the uh want to soften the wrinkles what I would do is he would use the largest light source that I could so that it could light all of them as evenly as possible on the shadow side of the group let's say the shadow sides over here I would put a white v flat just out of frame that will catch light and bounce it into the shadow side and then lastly to fill in the shadows if I can't get a reflector I could take another light source like a soft box and put it on a floor stand so floor stands actually like sit on the floor and I could have on the floor angled up and turned down really low because that will pump in like it's acting like a reflector for me to fill in some of the shadows so if it was going to be a group of older individuals that might be the way I have to go because I don't have a reflector toe work uh in a larger scene quick here faithfully open just a little more all right so like if you would show the before and after of this one and in the final shot with all the phil that'd be great what other questions do we have we have so many lindsey graham's got another one now what if I mean I was thinking about if you have like a note a gram parent that I mean you're doing like a portrait shot but then they have a younger I guess athletic type of wood you layer there like this so teo kind of give the younger person a little bit more definition as forest like the lighting and trying to soften hers and so our vice versa for me most the time I'm going to light for the person that needs more help from the light just because it's a family portrait I don't need to make the person look buff the reason I might what we're going to talk with leaders layering the light meaning lighting different people different ways in the scene that would be if it's a vanity fair with like you know much older individual in there you know hot boy don't you see that I'm just saying they do that in the magazines then I might actually like them in different zones or different ways but for just a portrait it would be soft light all around but then a fill light on the side of the person that's older and then just know fill on the other side lindsay can I question about the fill so jimmy and virginia wanted to know how much difference does that make the color checker shot was done without the reflectors it does make a pretty significant difference because a silver reflector silver reflector will cool down the scene a white reflector still calls it down silver cools it down a lot more so whenever you're doing it you actually do want to take the color checker for when you're done like when you have the light all set and so yeah it definitely makes a difference lots of people jet alexis others were wondering do you ever use a ring light teo create this phil can you just talk about your thoughts on using a ring light for phil okay so a ring light fits around the front of your camera a lot of them that are mounted and so it's going to be a very flat light source the reason that I don't usually just doesn't make sense and portrait and you're going to see the weird catch lights and sometimes if system the person has even like a little bit oily skin it gives you a lot of reflection there's a photographer the manipulator what's her name she uses bring light all the time her web sites a manipulator so look that up the manipulator dot com but she uses a ring light a lot to fill in shadows on dh it looks cool but her images have a very like porcher hdr look so using not the direction I'm going for what I'm trying to do nice portrait so I would probably say no but if it were maybe a woman who's like a little older and she's trying to do a fashion shot then you could get away with it more because then that looks makes a little bit more sense you still have retouching two d'oh and a question from j names who wanted to know whether you could use makeup to sculpt on a senior person you know to sculpt the use of flat lighting so I am not the expert on what the makeup and I will do it in post yes so for me for contouring if I need to get that light really really flat then I will add just a little bit of shadow there that didn't exist in my actual light but not a lot subtle because it it won't really make super sense if they don't have those actual cheekbones to make to begin with because of the texture of the skin so just a little bit and just the name you're looking for jill green so check that up totes my goats teo I love it when you give me a fun names to read says how would two lights say one on each side affect the phil versus just the one straight on okay so you can take that approach is well I could do a soft box from this side and that maybe a white umbrella turned down really low it's more to be careful of your lighting ratios because what tends to happen if you aren't used to really seeing the light and what it's doing I see many photographers that use a light from either side they end up getting these weird shadows in the middle they end up getting cross light so if you are going to use phil from thie shadow side it's got to be a really soft light source like a white umbrella or like another soft box and it's got to be turned down really low because otherwise it clashes on the face and then the face has zero dimension then it is literally flat and I am one hundred and ninety percent guilty of this when I first started if you look at all the portrait I did early on I had a white umbrella and a silver umbrella and the silver was my main and then that's it but then there's not a lot of depth if you use a high contrast high contrast light to fill in the shadows it'll still fill it in a little bit but then you'll see more texture so you're kind of fighting with yourself and it takes up more space let's do one more question this is from simba what do you think about a strip light self box horizontally as using that as in iraq you wrap around like so you could use a strip soft box here from beneath to fill in I wouldn't necessarily do it from above because it's not feeling in enough of the faith it's two directional so the fact that it's a strip what is going to do is going to rake over the skin you need it to be a little deeper to try to fill in some of those shadow so directional is going to actually emphasize and kind of work against you for phil from below you could probably get away with it and jim in via had a question earlier about the eyeliner which is a product that is on your gear list which by the way you can get for free by enrolling in the course you can you can get that you are sleepy on the course page and get her entire year list for free so go ahead and check that out if you have any specific questions but I want to know about the highlighter and is that something that you would use in this sort of situation can you talk about so what annihilator is it's a large reflector in a scoop shape so it's it looks like a crescent and has a silver reflective material and what you khun dio is you could put it underneath your subject and it catches all the light from everywhere fills in shadows from everywhere I use it for beauty when I'm going for a lot of filled in shadows and a lot of pop and kind of clamshell lighting I wouldn't use it here because it's silver and it definitely adds a lot of pop to the photo and it wouldn't wouldn't really make sense for a portrait for her because it gives you these crescent highlights that I don't think would make sense and doing maybe a traditional portrait of someone who's older it will fill in the shadows but since it's silver it will add more contrast so I mean it could be your new look maybe you try it out and that's your thing but I wouldn't do it

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