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Skin Challenges: Pale and Dark

Lesson 16 from: Skin 101: Lighting, Retouching and Understanding Skin

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

16. Skin Challenges: Pale and Dark

Next Lesson: Shoot: Dark Skin

Lesson Info

Skin Challenges: Pale and Dark

I'm going to intro what we're going to be doing next section but like I said I have a ton to say so I jump into this okay so the next kind of challenging light kind of aquino advanced one the next challenging like I believe that I had was very very pale very very light skin and we are also are going to cover really really dark skin and in the two of them in one photograph all right very light skin okay so the challenges with pale skin challenges if someone is really really pale sometimes they like disappear you know there's not a lot of depth and so when you're photographing somebody with very very very pale skin the skin lacks vitality doesn't have that glow now I will tell you a ton of times what in my personal in fashion photography I love to make the skin like deathly pure white or if I have a dark skin subject I like their skin to be extremely extremely dark but I'm going for more artistic purposes than if someone came to me and said can you take a portrait so that's a problem wit...

h really pale skin sometimes lack that vibrance to it the face can appear just really flat dimension is what makes someone look three dimensional it's the shadows or what shapes their face makes it feel like it's not a flat image another problem is sometimes run into are the veins being visible I have a photo that I'll show you tomorrow where you can see the veins and the person's chest than in their hands and you see this a lot more if someone's very very pale and then thie uneven skin that we just talked about uneven colored these too I usually fix in post there's not once you khun do unless of course you're doing it with makeup and I try to help myself out we already talked about makeup yesterday I definitely would do more contouring on someone with very very pale flat skin so I was talking to nicole mma who's doing the makeup today and we're talking about the makeup that should be doing for the person who is very very a pill and she would do it's one she would do a lot of contouring she put in a lot of shadows you put shadows around the jawline shadows underneath the cheeks would use a pure white highlight to make the cheekbones look higher and try to give some shape she would also use blush a little bit of warmth in the cheeks maybe a little bit of pinkness or a little bit of a warm tone so that tries to shape the face and bring some vitality we're not talking about makeup so the solutions that we have it's remember that shadows give dimension so you don't want to say oh okay lindsey said that skin looks better flat and low because if someone's very very pale and you laughed you light them very centered light a lot of times the picture just looks really flat like there's not what shape to it because they're so pale so this would be one of those exceptions where you do want to raise the light up is you raise the light up in cars out their features and you do want to raise the air move the light to the side because that's what starts giving you grady ints of shadows and you're shaping with those shadows the shadows were work giving is giving that image death um you may need to consider slightly softer light sources if the person is they're like really really really pale and there's a darker person in the photograph because otherwise they'll be really blown out but most the time you can picking him between contrast that'll work avoid silver light sources because then those bright highlights go really overexposed and we're going to use the color checker in a slightly different way what I tend to do is I use the color checker and I actually warm up the skin instead of going with what it recommends as the neutral skin tone we use one of those top top swatches to add a little bit more warmth so we're gonna talk about this later so I'm gonna hold off to the next section will be demo ing all of that photographing very dark skin and I'm going to talk about particularly just the studio right now now studio lighting right here the challenges you weren't into first of all auto white balance with very dark skin has no idea what to do it makes the scan look extremely blue are extremely dull extremely cold so that's a problem we run into a very dark skin the next one is the contrast because the skin is dark if the skin is a little bit oiler those bright highlights go extremely over exposed very quickly especially if the skin is very dark you're tryingto overexpose a little bit right you're tryingto light enough so you can see some detail if there are bright highlights go over exposed very quickly and they get very distracting slants a problem we have and then also in the studio problem that you have is if you're photographing on a darker background subject's skin tone blends into the background and so then you're losing the side and shape and dimension of their face so's the problems you have and here's a couple solutions for the color this is one where you just even if you were trying to tell yourself well sometimes I can get away without color checker is one where I promise you can't because it's also very hard to judge without some kind of reference what is actually the warmth of their skin and then you're just guessing all over the board if you're using auto it will be wrong I have no doubt and then and then also not just with the color is but how light or dark is that skin if you're using a color checker with the white point in black point references you can get an idea of what you're correct exposure is supposed to be versus if you're just guessing so you have to use ah color trucker or some type of white balance solution for the contrast when I'm photographing darker skin tones I tend not to go with really contrast the light sources I used contrast light sources in the whole time saying I don't use contrast light sources I used contract the light source is in a couple different situations if I'm photographing someone really pale where I'm going to shoot black and white where the the skin is pure white and the shadows are really dark and it's high contrast that I will use a really sharp contrast modifier we'll use contrast in modifiers if I'm photographing people for fitness where I'm trying to carve out their features I'll use it for beauty when I want to really defined jawline so they're definitely instances when I want this but usually you know for more challenging skin it's harder to wield a little harder to control so for really dark skin I might use a slightly more diffused light source so those highlights don't go is bright and the shadows don't go is dark the high contrast modifier is going toe pull it in either direction highlights go brighter shadows go darker and try to pull everything into the middle um I'm also going to use reflectors and feel like to fill in the shadows because with darker skin tones you can light the faith and then the shadows might just go pure black so the chin runs directly into the neck and there's no separation and there's no definition so I'm using a lot more reflectors regularly when photographing dark skin tones I'm not necessarily using it to completely fill in the shadows but to make sure the shadows aren't pure black when I don't want them to be and then I said this is well instead of feel like you could also use strobes as well instead of reflectors so let me take a look here I don't know if anyone's ever heard this saying before but with pale skin you and dimension and shape with the shadows because if it's really flat light then they just kind of washed out so I'm raising the light up because I'm trying to introduce some shadows to shape their face it's kind of the opposite with dark skin tones because the shadows are going to be there so what I need to do is introducing control the highlights or the light so the saying is you're shaping with highlights the skin already has darkness so what you do is you place your light and then you use phil and other light sources to control what the shadows look like so you're actually introducing more light to control the look instead of introducing more shadow to control the dimension you don't really have to think of them is drastically different just think pale skin I'm using more shadows to try to shape the face dark skin I'm using more phil to try to bring more detailed to the shadows trying to shape the face that way so it just doesn't fall to complete darkness so take a look at a couple examples first of all as I said contrasts modifiers are much harder to work with because the shadows will go completely black very quickly and the highlights will go completely white very very quickly this individual she had a lot of makeup on already and I had already tried to reduce some of the shine to her skin and it's still quickly had blown out highlights this wasn't me trying to give her highlights so I'm using a silver dish here one of those seven inch reflectors and then over here amusing in octo box so they're a little bit more in control and I know I'm still going to have to retouch and I also found the darkest get individual I could to demo with this presentation so let me see if I can give you an example of what I'm saying here so no phil is the shadow on the side of her face is so dark that either it blends in with the background or she has no jaw line because what happens is that jaw line just blends in with the shadow on the neck and she has an amazing jawline I've never I have never seen someone with this amazing bone structure it's amazing I photo after like six times actually she is the one you guys know up on the wall that you'll see tomorrow she's the one with orchid that's her amazing bone structure if you go to my facebook page you if you go back a little bit of somebody dark skin holding ah orange orchid and that would be her so then I can go ahead and add a little phil if I still want there to be darkness but I don't want her jaw line to completely blend in or if I still wanted a little bit of shaped I wanted shape to the faith but I didn't want shado I cannot even more phil and you could do this with reflectors you could do this with another light source it depends on how you want to work but you got to remember a silver reflector you'll see more contrast in the skin and it'll fill in the shadow more a white reflector won't fill in as much but it's softer it's a little bit more gentle so just think of it like that you figure out where you want the highlights and direction of light to be and then you go ahead and say ok those shadows is helping or hurting my photo can I fill it in a little bit or all the way to take the photo where I wanted it to be so this is something that I see a lot of people dio and they'll say ok alright so shadows on the side of the face I just want to hold a reflector there to fill in the shadows where you put that reflector makes a huge huge difference so picture number one there's no reflector and maybe I like that shadow but it's just a little bit too strong and so it's the same thing I'm saying it's okay placed my highlights where I wanted them I let her face so the highlights or where I want but I've got to fill in the shadows a little bit so this picture right here can just gonna have you for a second and this crab reflector and will see this and next I know you love me I don't know okay so um yeah I don't look it you look beautiful the crazy awesome purplish and the coolest necklace ever you okay so let's say that this is the shadow side of her face okay over here so in the first photograph no phil and the second one I took a white reflector and held it here so it's just filling in like a little bit from the side filling in the shadows in the third one with the main light on the other side reflectors from behind so it does different things this just fills in the shadows a little bit and this actually makes a contour of the highlight that still gives her more shadow but it carves out the side of her face so where you put the reflector makes a massive difference to the photograph so again thank you but you're kind of shaping with highlights right you're defining the look of that photo based on how your lighting okay sit down huh and so that the same thing as well are kind of a similar thought first photo no fill the second is that weight reflector from behind and then the third is when I'm using one of these silver dishes it separates her from the background but look at what that contrast does because more contrast in modifiers show texture and the highlights get blown out faster on dark skin I don't think that that's what I would go for unless I'm photographing a dark skin athlete where I want like razor razor sharp but if it's meant to be a portrait that might not be the direction I want to go because you can see texture blown out highlights so these air couple things to consider so I think that's what we have one more no and then I'll take questions we'll wrap up one more note is I never use gold reflectors ever like ever what a silver gold mix sometimes is okay to fill in the shadows on someone with darker skin tones the reason is is a lot of times their skin is really really red it's very warm and the shadows look cool so adding a little bit of a warmer tone looks okay I am usually still using white but silver gold or they have something called the sunfire sought the one that's a white and gold mix that also looks a little a little bit warmer a cz well I would say test it and see what it looks like for that end of it jules everybody's got a different skin tone everybody's gonna look different eso it'll depend on which modifier you choose in which reflector questions in studio audience about all that information of course we do wait you know with with the darker athlete or darker skinned person would you do that with someone who is not quite as dark not necessarily I mean just almost like in between the two or how so I have a warm skin to subject just kind of like nice and warm in between and I don't really do anything special I just say what is the light look like is that shadow too dark so my approach is an in between because I can still light with shadows I can still shape the face by raising the light up and I can still carve out the face a little bit but if it gets too dark assis falls to shadow instantly I can add in a little bit of phil so it's kind of just being between I think that warm skin people tend to almost be the the easiest photograph because there's not really bright highlights and there's not really dark shadows the biggest issue is that the color goes wrong very quickly because there's so many different varieties of warm tones so long as they use color checker or some kind of white balance option then I find easiest to photograph so is he one of the questions we get a crate of live a lot that has to do with shooting more than one person with different skin tones together is how to balance the light so I think we're going to be covering that yet in the next segment right right fantastic so we'll be covering that for now eighty far from england when shooting dark skin and a really dark location using on ly available like what would you do in this situation would you under or over expose I would probably overexposed a bit give myself a little bit more range I'm goingto probably be forgiving of a few blown out highlights aiken retouch them out but if the shadows are really dark especially with dark skin tones we talked about this a little bit yesterday dark skin tones are basically red with very little green or blue so what happens if I've gotta recover some that's really dark and bring up the exposure a lot a lot of color shifts and it starts to look kind of seen it be green maybe it's orsa band green yellow and red so I'd probably over exposed so I can capture a little bit more information and is there any blood on highlights I just told them down

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