photographing people of color?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by amber.martin, Jul 25, 2010.

  1. amber.martin

    amber.martin TPF Noob!

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    i have a session tomorrow with some friends of mine, beautiful couple. they're black and ive heard that you need to keep in mind special lighting. i REALLY want to make this shoot special for them and make sure im getting my lighting correct, i have reflectors but im not sure exactly what to do.. any pointers or how to's??
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Wing it. It's just metering.

    Main thing I've noticed is that form in white folks is created with shadow. Form in black folks is created with highlights.
     
  3. BKMOOD

    BKMOOD TPF Noob!

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    I generally agree with Sw1tchFX. Just wing it. You'll probably do fine. Modern cameras are pretty smart these days. But if you must have some advice, here are a few guidelines that have helped me over the years.

    1) I keep my dynamic range low, meaning if I am shooting dark skinned African Americans (like my knuckle-head brothers), I don’t stick them in front of a stark white backgrounds. Such a shot is possible but why complicate matters.

    2) I use a grey card. They work wonders in helping achieve correct exposure for my knuckle-head brothers.

    3) I use an incident meter. My camera's built-in reflective meter can be fooled by contrasty scenes containing my knuckle-head brothers. My incident meter doesn't care about light bouncing off my knuckle-head brothers, only about the light falling upon my knuckle-head brothers.

    Did I mention that my brothers are knuckle-heads?
     
  4. amber.martin

    amber.martin TPF Noob!

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    wonderful, im sure those will be helpful! thank you both! haha, good luck with your knuckle-head brothers! i have one of those myself! its going to be on location and ive found some goos sites so hopefully this turns out well, ill post after the session! :)
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Keep in mind that the person closer to the main light will receive more light, so if the darker complexioned person is on the main light side, they will get more light,and the person farther away from the main will get less light, and so that will tend to bring the dynamic range of the differing skin reflectance values a little closer together quite naturally.

    The closer the main light is to the couple, the more-rapidly the fall-off in light intensity will occur, so if the main light is "close", the Inverse Square law will give you quite sharp fall-off from near person to farther person's face...as you pull the main light back and farther and farther and farther away from the couple, the Inverse Square law kicks in, and the fall-off in intensity becomes more normalized, and less noticeable.

    So, there's something to keep in mind as to how to make the lighting work for you instead of against you.
     
  6. amber.martin

    amber.martin TPF Noob!

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    very helpful. thank you. esp because she is darker than him, i was just discussing that with my husband actually!
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Do you have lights?
     
  8. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I also think darker skinned people need more red in your color adjustment.
     
  9. amber.martin

    amber.martin TPF Noob!

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    no actually i dont, im relying on sunlight and reflectors for this session
     

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