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This idea got started when my friend Miptog did a skin tone mod on one of my pictures.
He had read an article on getting better tones, and so he sent me a mod, and we agreed that it would be interesting to get some views. So, first, views, please... NOTE: LINK NOT SAFE FOR WORK (ADULT IMAGE) - MOD.
I remember when I started taking pictures, Ektachrome-X was highly rated for my sort of work (nudes, portraits and glamour) because it gave a little bit of a built-in tan.
Subsequently, we've had the Great Colour Correction Filter debate, and now there's a lot about white balance, and correcting it. Amazingly, you can even get a piece of white plastic to fit over your lens and take the colour temperature (probably a good idea), for £50 (only a good idea for the seller).
My own approach is to leave my camera set to sunshine except in the studio (using "flash") and under fluorescents (using "AWB" or "fluorescent"). The rest of the time, I want to get the warmth of a sunset and not correct it into anonymity!
But with flesh tones, what should you do?
I'll stick with a little bit of a tan: what say you?
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Quote: Subsequently, we've had the Great Colour Correction Filter debate, and now there's a lot about white balance, and correcting it. Amazingly, you can even get a piece of white plastic to fit over your lens and take the colour temperature (probably a good idea), for £50 (only a good idea for the seller)
50 quids a lot of dough to spend on colour correction, a sheet of paper is every bit as good or shoot in raw.
Yep - shoot Raw. Problem solved.
Edit : Sorry John, just noticed you use film most of the time. Ignore me.
I'd day that if you want to warm the skin tones, go for it, but be aware that the eyes are a dead giveaway, so you may wish to correct them slightly.
Your camera may have several picture style options; at least they are called style in Canon cameras and I am sure other brands are similar. For example you may have Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Faithful, Neutral and Mono. For general photography Canon recommend Standard but Portrait is recommended for Women and children and you can vary the colour tone if you wish. This applies to JPEG as the Raw files will be unprocessed. However, Adobe Raw will offer a similar selection of "styles" in the Camera Calibration Tab for processing Raw files. The "style" is the profile which is used to translate the colours measured by your camera sensor to the colour space of your converted image (TIFF, PSD, JPEG).
If you are really very concerned with accuracy, then you can use an X-Rite colour checker or equivalent to calibrate your camera and produce bespoke profile(s) for your Raw conversions. You will still need to set the WB correctly but again, if you are very concerned with accuracy, you can photograph the colour checker WB patch and set accurately in Adobe Raw.
I'm very clear on my own view, and know how to do it.
I was interested in what others like to see - I am trying to get a debate going about whether "accuracy" matters, or is a good thing...
And my own very clear view is that it doesn't: what matters is whether it looks right.
And it's interesting, in the digital age, when people spend excessive time altering reality, that there are obviously some people who think that making the colours accurate is worth spending time and money on.
Now, I can actually relate much more to whether you like the colours your camera gives: a friend dislikes the overbright reds his (now elderly) Canon gives, and I normally shoot with my Sony set to portrait, and with the contrast "turned down" (I also use DRO set on 2, and a touch of underexposure: it gives the results I like), a bit akin to using compensating developer on B/W film.
So - opinions on how others like their colour?
Personally, I think it depends on the mood the photographer is trying to set. For me, the colouring significantly affects the 'tone' of the photo (no pun intended!), but maybe that's just the way my eyes work
So for a straight studio glamour shot I usually prefer natural, maybe with a hint of tan. Change the setting and surroundings though and I prefer something that suits accordingly. Also of course the model makes a huge difference. Some of the pictures on here of Ivory Flame (who seems to be an EPZ favourite for good reasons) work best due to the contrast of her red hair with very pale skin, it's a shame so many shots are B & W.
For the example you linked to I preferred the original; the skin tones, backround and colours of the tatoos worked together to give a boudoir feel to the shot. My only critique would be that the hair gets a bit lost in the background around her shoulders. Put the same model in the same pose in a different setting and I would probably prefer a lighter skin tone.
Not sure if that's helpful or not!
"To hell with it" is what I say.
Do what looks good to you (and the model).
Unless you have a customer for the end result who has a specific view on the matter then it doesn't matter.
Everyone alters their pictures in some way to get it how they want it ............ and that includes the 'purist' landscapers who bung filters in front of their lenses.
A personal challenge is to get natural looking skin tones. Something that isn’t too red, orange, pink or yellow, but is close to the natural skin of the model. This could be considered as being accurate. This also needs to be balanced against “what looks right”. So a slight warming or saturation tweak may better suit the end result. The tweaks may take a skin tone to something that does not look natural, but looks right for the image.
However do not most of us want a picture of young children to have a natural tone rather than a “glamour glow” effect that is better suited to a glamour model?
Firstly the photographers who need accuracy are product photographers and fashion photographers and thus full calibration would be approriate. As an amateur interested in photogrpahy as an art, I do not need accuracy but have calibrated my camera. I did this in conjuction with another club member purerly from academic interest. He use a Nikon and I used a Canon to photograph a Red headed girls by a Graffiti covered wall. Our two images were very different particularly the red hair (in fact looking at the results of other photographer present, the variation was enormous). After we both calibrated our camers and reprocessed the Raw files, the images from both our cameras were virtually identical in colour. So calibration does work. Naturally I still use this calibrated profile so I am usually very confident I have accurate colour (providing I get the WB correct) but then I readily alter the WB and colour settings if it is not what I want to see.
Bottom line is that I do not think it worth most photographers worrying to much about colour but just knowing how to adjust images to present what you want to see.
I doubt that there is any such thing as a correct skin tone. Some people are white and some are black and there are hundreds of variations between those two extremes with even people from the same family having different skin tones.
Just do what you or your sitter find appealing.
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