Tips for Shooting Black Model

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by gabelimom, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. gabelimom
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    gabelimom New Member

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    Hi Everyone-

    I'm going to do a beauty test shoot with a black female model next week. I'm shooting with Hensel strobes and a Nikon D70. The last time I shot a black model, her skin tone was waaayyyy off. It was quite yellow, and the makeup on her skin photographed very powdery. I found that to get the skin properly lit, I had to move the light closer, which then resulted in yellow skin. My camera was on manual and WB was on flash.

    Are there any tips that anyone can suggest to get the skin tones right? Do I need a gel to put over my soft box? Any help would be most appreciated.

    Thanks!
  2. viridari
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    viridari New Member

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    [​IMG]

    I had umbrellas off to either side of her, and a bare strobe behind her hanging from a pipe on the ceiling. I metered off of the darker areas that still had detail like her hair and cleavage areas. I still don't think this is perfect... it's hard to do in a way that you don't blow out highlights like I did here. But I think even with the blown highlights it came out pleasing.

    I like how this came out better. Similar lighting configuration.
    [​IMG]
  3. jlykins
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    jlykins New Member

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    My suggestion would be to set a custom WB. That's what I did in these shots.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  4. jcolman
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    jcolman New Member

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    There is no real "trick" to photographing darker skin. I WB normally and set my exposure normally. The only thing I'll do differently is to add a bit more back or side light and overexpose it slightly.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  5. Mike_E
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    Mike_E Well-Known Member

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    Optimal exposure is static no matter the color the person. (not be mistaken with preferred as in artistic)

    The best way to light a darker individual is with more specular (harder) light to show the high points as opposed to softer light to better bring out the shadows of a lighter skinned person. In either case it's the contrast between shadow and light that relays the information.

    A light to either side is usually easiest. If you have a flash meter you really want to break it out. ;)
  6. Christie Photo
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    Christie Photo New Member

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    Agreed. In the studio, I will drag the background light a bit further from the background to keep my usual ratio.

    -Pete
  7. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Don't forget to shoot RAW so you can adjust WB after the shoot if needed.
  8. roadkill
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    roadkill New Member

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    Yeah... I always use RAW and fix it in post if necessary
  9. SnakeVnzl
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    SnakeVnzl New Member

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    you can adjust WB in jpeg too.
  10. gabelimom
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    gabelimom New Member

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    Thanks, guys. I'm going to custom set the WB and try the lighting techniques.

    Another q: when lighting equally on both sides, is it best to use the same equipment on both sides (i.e., two soft boxes, or two umbrellas)? What happens if you mix it up and use a soft box for a main light and an umbrella as a fill?

    Thanks!
  11. jlykins
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    jlykins New Member

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    I have never done it, but I would expect that because there is a different amount of diffusion, there one side would be stronger than the other. Just an educated guess though. Try it and find out, that's the fun in it!
  12. jcolman
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    jcolman New Member

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    No reason why you can't mix it up. This shot was done using a combination of large softbox, umbrella and bare flash.

    [​IMG]

    this was done with just the softbox and umbrella.

    [​IMG]
  13. gabelimom
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    gabelimom New Member

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  14. jcolman
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    jcolman New Member

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    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  15. gabelimom
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    gabelimom New Member

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