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Capturing dark skin

beebee
Posted 08/12/2010 - 20:14 Link
I am new to portraiture and need a bit of advice - I have two dark skinned teenagers coming for a photoshot Saturday. They are not the most patient of individuals and they want to be photographed with a black background - 1/2 body and head shots. Their skin is nearer to caramel (best I can do to describe). Any advice gratefully received. I have some reflectors and hotshoe flash (not keen on front flash). The shoot will take place in a room with plenty of natural lighting. Help please!
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
johnriley
Posted 08/12/2010 - 20:30 Link
Be careful of reflections and bear in mnind that to retain the correct tonal value you might need to reduce the exposure slightly. I would try -0.5EV using exposure compensation. It will only take a moment to review if that is close enough, and to adjust further as necessary.
Best regards, John
Don
Posted 08/12/2010 - 20:37 Link
Meter carefully. watch for shiny highlights.

better to slightly over expose then pull back in post processing.
here you'll find a couple examples I did recently:
link

the best technique I know of for dark skin, involves polarizing your light source and a polarizer on your lens to have control over highlights, which probably is goin to far for your needs.

if you got lots of natural light, use it and a reflector, and maybe a little (set to manual powered right down low) flash for a catchlight in the eyes...


JR beat me! note : JR is correct for shooting jpegs, I shoot RAW and do post processing in Aperture and Photoshop...
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Edited by Don: 08/12/2010 - 20:38
beebee
Posted 08/12/2010 - 20:50 Link
Never would have thought of using a polariser - don't think the teenagers are very happy about the shoot and I need to work fast and with a black background - they are quite insistent about that. I will try to talk them round to a white background after I have a few acceptable shots.

So natural light with a gold reflector to bounce some light back to warm up the image. Try -0.5 exposure compensation OR over-expose and shoot in RAW.

Hotshoe in slave mode (might need to read the manual) to light hair?

Try to talk them into a white background that might go a bit grey - lots to think about - thanks, I think!
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
Edited by beebee: 08/12/2010 - 20:57
Don
Posted 08/12/2010 - 20:59 Link
if you look at my shots in the link you will find all different skin tones...
look at the dark skinned subjects carefully and you will see a patten...
to seperate a dark subject from a dark background, you need a separation light behind the subject pointing towards the subject.
you could do black background and use the flash to seperate the subject from the background, then reflectors to bounce light on the subject.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
beebee
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:05 Link
Don wrote:
Meter carefully. watch for shiny highlights.

better to slightly over expose then pull back in post processing.
here you'll find a couple examples I did recently:
link

the best technique I know of for dark skin, involves polarizing your light source and a polarizer on your lens to have control over highlights, which probably is goin to far for your needs.

if you got lots of natural light, use it and a reflector, and maybe a little (set to manual powered right down low) flash for a catchlight in the eyes...


JR beat me! note : JR is correct for shooting jpegs, I shoot RAW and do post processing in Aperture and Photoshop...

Have tried to connect to your link but the computer has crashed twice - I see the Quicktime symbol then everything freezes.
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
beebee
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:11 Link
beebee wrote:
Don wrote:
Meter carefully. watch for shiny highlights.

better to slightly over expose then pull back in post processing.
here you'll find a couple examples I did recently:
link

the best technique I know of for dark skin, involves polarizing your light source and a polarizer on your lens to have control over highlights, which probably is goin to far for your needs.

if you got lots of natural light, use it and a reflector, and maybe a little (set to manual powered right down low) flash for a catchlight in the eyes...


JR beat me! note : JR is correct for shooting jpegs, I shoot RAW and do post processing in Aperture and Photoshop...

Have tried to connect to your link but the computer has crashed twice - I see the Quicktime symbol then everything freezes.

Got there in the end - now I see light appears to be coming from behind but to one side - am I seeing this correctly. How can I get an appropriate light source to light this area? Or is this reflected light? Hope I don't sound too stupid!
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
Don
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:18 Link
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Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Don
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:21 Link
a shoe flash should be able to throw a wide enough beam.......just be careful not to get it hitting the lens straight on or you'll get lens flare.
you really need to get proficient with your lighting set ups before you shoot an impatient subject... practice before the day and post some sample shots and maybe I can get more specific...
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
beebee
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:30 Link
Don wrote:
a shoe flash should be able to throw a wide enough beam.......just be careful not to get it hitting the lens straight on or you'll get lens flare.
you really need to get proficient with your lighting set ups before you shoot an impatient subject... practice before the day and post some sample shots and maybe I can get more specific...

I wish I had the time to practice BUT sadly not as I teach all day. The teenagers are my practice - their mother volunteered them to help me have a play. I would like to have a few ideas noted down to try out with them. If I have a few set-ups to try sketched out for them they might be willing to sit and let me play. The one thing they asked was for the images to be dark and moody. I fear I will have some very serious-faced shots.

I will try to light them from one side highlighting the hair. I will also try to reflect light onto the side/back of the head. I will get some shots downloaded for you to comment on after the shoot - if that is OK?
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
beebee
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:32 Link
Don wrote:
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I noticed these are all B&W - will obviously shoot in colour but have a go at converting to B&W. Might need some help with post-processing these too - soz!
Everything is possible - just not today.
K7, K100d, 18-55mm kit, 50-200mm, Sigma 70-300mm, 50mm f1.4, 16-45mm f4.0, 50-135mm f2.8
Don
Posted 08/12/2010 - 21:40 Link
this is a great forum when it comes to people sharing.
love to help.
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I'd go this route if I were you...
flash from behind, two reflectors one on each side..
aperture set to prevent the highlights from the flash from blowing, then lower the shutter speed until the ambient light balances the image...
hope that helps...

or just natural light if it is good..
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
Edited by Don: 08/12/2010 - 21:42

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