b&w skin tones

weepete

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I've just processed a few photos in B&W but I think I have got a bit carried away and made them a bit too hot on the skin tones. I was hoping one of you kind chaps or chapettes could point me in the right direction of how a to pp a b&w image to get a decent skin tones for portraits?
 
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weepete

weepete

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Done and done!


G's Birthday-68 by wee_pete, on Flickr

This shot was slightly underexposed to begin with but I think I've pushed a few of the sliders a bit far trying to bring the exposure back up but still get enough contrast to make a wee bit of drama. It's not an artsy shot, just a snapshot of my mates in the park, but I'd still like to get the pp right.
 

cgipson1

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It appears its worthless with pics as well. Ho hum.

Considering the wide range of facial tones here.. Looks ok to me! My real question is: With all that space above, why did you chop feet?
 

The_Traveler

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First, I think it would be very difficult to try and get a 'great' shot from a sort of unsorted mob of figures where the eye has no real place to light.
Second, none of the faces are large enough to give the viewer a real look at them and so the impact of any person's features are lost and what we get is a higledy-piggledy mess of limbs and head.
I think a lot of damage is done by the two guys with bottles, they sort of destroy their area to concentrate on and then by the clipping of the feet and the inclusion of the nothing much above.

Let's see another
 

roicead

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what software do you use?

i use lightroom for my b&w portraits. i do not click on the grayscale button. instead i increase the white balance to something horribly yellow (10,000 or higher) and move the saturation slider to -100. add a little contrast, adjust the exposure, black and shadows sliders to taste. if the shot is underexposed you may need to bump up the highlights slider as well.

from a recent wedding:
 
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weepete

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Considering the wide range of facial tones here.. Looks ok to me! My real question is: With all that space above, why did you chop feet?

Thanks mate, I don't often shoot B&W though I did enjoy this wee session, it was something completely different for me. Why I chopped the feet was a couple of reasons, it was down to where my focus point was (singe point AF) and that I was trying hard to get the metering right as I was on partial mode, so the meteing point is linked to the AF and I was trying to hit on the face that would give me the most even exposure across the range which obviously made me neglect to frame this as well as it could have been. Add in that is was a quick shot and I was trying to get a position where I could see most peoples faces but probably the real reason was a half bottle of jack, a couple of beers and a few shots of rum. It was however an oversight that shouldn't have been made and I'll try to remember to leave a bit more room in the future.

First, I think it would be very difficult to try and get a 'great' shot from a sort of unsorted mob of figures where the eye has no real place to light.
Second, none of the faces are large enough to give the viewer a real look at them and so the impact of any person's features are lost and what we get is a higledy-piggledy mess of limbs and head.
I think a lot of damage is done by the two guys with bottles, they sort of destroy their area to concentrate on and then by the clipping of the feet and the inclusion of the nothing much above.

Let's see another

Thanks Lew, I know this shot isn't great and there are lots of things that could be improved. Indeed it's not one I'd normally post here, however it was probably the one I was least happy with the post processing on, though I'll take your point that this may be more to do with compositional errors and bad lighting that spesificaly what I've done in post.

what software do you use?

i use lightroom for my b&w portraits. i do not click on the grayscale button. instead i increase the white balance to something horribly yellow (10,000 or higher) and move the saturation slider to -100. add a little contrast, adjust the exposure, black and shadows sliders to taste. if the shot is underexposed you may need to bump up the highlights slider as well.

Hi mate, I mainly use Lightroom 3.3 for my pp. If I'm going B&W from raw I temd to use the option at the top of the develop module and then just work through the module. I'll give your method a go though thanks!
 

roicead

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i don't think your problem is that the skin tones are too hot or bright. i think the real problem is that they don't have enough contrast in the skin tones. this makes people look dead.
 

cptkid

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don't go above 240 in the red channel. then your skin shouldn't look blown out.
 

vintagesnaps

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I learned with B&W to have a 'black' black and a 'white' white somewhere in the photo (not usually in highlights or reflections) - that's usually what I adjust for first then go from there.

I've done a good bit of B&W film and darkroom work and usually for me I'm thinking about if something will work well in B&W before I even look thru the viewfinder; if there's some nice contrast in the scene it might more likely work better as B&W. I don't like Photoshop conversion when I've tried using it; I usually remove color and get better results that way - but maybe it works for me since I'm already thinking about it in B&W and try to notice the tones/values, dark and light, etc.

The second one looks to be more a range of grays, from really light gray to dark charcoal - I'd probably try to adjust for some black and white in the darkest and lightest parts.

The first one being somewhat beverage induced might just be one that I'd make copies and try cropping different ways, maybe crop the top and just a little of the bottom edge til they look not so cut off. If nothing else your friends made me smile.
 

Robin_Usagani

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Consider this, when you do B&W photo, ADJUST the white balance too! You will surprised how much you love one look to another only by changing white balance.
 

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