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Article on Skin Tones

Discussion in 'People' started by Terri French, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. Many of you probably saw my recent problem with post processing and getting skin tones where I want them. I had a person on dpreview refer me to the following article. What do you think about this technique? I thought others of you might be interested in "skin tones by the numbers".


    If you give it a try and have success, share your results with us and let us know how you did it.

    Thanks all for your help. It's so nice too have the wedding over so I can spend a bit more time here. I've missed all of you!!
  2. That's a useful link, Terri.

    Thanks for posting it.
  3. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Hi Terri, wouldn't it be infinitely easier to just preset your WB in-cam, by shooting a grey card in the incident light before you do any shooting? Now, I have to admit that I haven't been doing a "Pre" in-cam prior to shooting, but have been shooting a small grey card, a WhiBal card, then selecting it as my grey point in post, then applying it to all that have been shot in that particular incident light. This latter technique does the same thing, but just takes a bit longer in post. What I really need is a larger grey card, to fill my frame so I can do a Preset in-cam. WhiBal makes such a larger card. btw, thanks for that very interestiing article, it's well worth saving!
    Here's a good read abouot the WhiBal cards: http://wordsandphotos.org/Commentary/HowToGetGreatDigitalColorInAnyLight.htm
  4. TheKO


    May 3, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    Good Link

    Thanx for the link. I think we all "struggle" with your problem on skin tones. Hopefully this helps.
  5. Yes, it would.

    IF all your shots are taken as part of a pre-planned exercise.

    But it can be just a tad difficult saying to a three-year-old "Just hold that pose, don't move a muscle, until I've shot a grey card to ensure that the WB is OK."
  6. Terri,

    I was pointed to that page a while ago by Smugmug. I had complained that a set of pictures I had processed by them were all too red. I had printed a sampling of them on my home printer and they were fine. I also use Kodak and Adorama for prints and never get red faces... I got a lengthy explanation from Smugmug about essentially what is on that web page. Chris Mac. from Smugmug actually toned some of my pics over for me and had them printed and sent to me and frankly, I thought they were worse then the first set. (However, I thought their customer service was exceptional and I appreciated the one on one help... This is not a bash of Smugmug by any means!) I just don't have my people pics developed by them anymore. I just had some done last week to see if things had improved and they have, but not enough to have me do prints there again. I also just shot a family wedding and before I had enlargements done, I compared prints from them and Adorama. Adorama's prints looked far more natural to both me and my wife. Kodak would also do a great job on skin tones but you can't beat Adorama's pricing and packaging. I still have Smugmug (EZ Prints) do my floral and nature shots as I think they do a great job with them, but not my people pics.

  7. I leave my cameras WB set to cloudy at all times while idle. If I use a flash, I switch to flash WB. This works well for over 90% of the pics I take. If I need a preset, then I do a preset... There are just too many variables with Auto... BTW, flash and cloudy WB are so close in Kelvin temp that if I forget to change from one to the other it's usually not a big deal... I have noticed a significant improvement in the color and color consistency of my pics since using a dedicated WB setting rather then Auto.
  8. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Yes, Clive, but in the context of Terri's situation,

    my suggesitons applies quite well. In your situation, well, that's quite a different story. In your case, you simply take the impromptu shots, and then shoot the WhiBal card in the incident light you've just shot in, then apply it in post.
  9. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Well, Jim, just for the sake of a good old fashion arguement, I will tell you that the Kelvin temp of Cloudy is 6500 and up, while Flash has a Kelvin of around 5500, depending on the flash. Now, how can they close if they're so far apart in Kelvin temp? :confused:  :Curved:

  10. That's exactly what I do.
  11. Let me clarify; I'm specifically talking D70 WB presets and perhaps I should have left the term "Kelvin" out of my post. You have one of these cameras. Take two pics indoors with the flash and set the WB to flash for the first one and cloudy for the second and then compare them. You should only see a slight difference in color between them and both should look pleasing. From what I understand, Nikon actually had the in-camera kelvin temps for flash and cloudy switched when the cameras were first released... (NC was correct, which is how it was discovered. I was able to verify this at the time and there were many posts about it over at DPR.) Evidently this one one of those things that was fixed w/firmware that Nikon "forgot" to mention on their fix list! :rolleyes: 

    As for the argument part, Moose Peterson says that the flash WB is for the D1 series of cameras is 5500K and Cloudy is 6000K. Not all that far apart. Shady is 7000K... I believe the numbers for the D70 are somewhat close to these. These numbers are assigned by Nikon and correspond to the various presets, which is what I was referring to.
  12. This has been an interesting discussion

    I like the way the people on this forum can express different points of view without arguing. I'm sure there are many different ways to do the same thing. What works for one, may not work for another, because of our different ways of thinking.

    I am going to try all the suggestions here. I have been thinking about buying a WhiBal for a while. It definitely would have worked in the situation where I just took the problem pictures. Steve, I will definitely check in to getting the largest size based on your recommendation.

    I will also try setting my camera to cloudy. When I had my Olympus 8080, I always shot at cloudy and liked the results. I have been using Auto and am finding that the results are so mixed. In one location, every picture can look different.

    I appreciate all of you taking the time to comment. I played around with the advice in the article I posted, and couldn't really get it to work that well for me. It did open my eyes to some things I can do in photoshop to change the color which I may use from time to time. I definitely think that the suggestions posted here would be easier to implement.

    If anyone else has some suggestions, I hope you will post them here so all of us can learn.:smile:
  13. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Getting proper white balance is all well and good; but I've found that shooting a gray card and setting WB from that will still give you skintones with too much magenta in many cases. So I've found that you either need to set the WB to give you the best skintones, or else correct the skintones in post. Setting WB to get the skintones right can be difficult since you can't evaluate CMYK numbers in the raw converter (at least, not with ACR).

    Terri the article you linked provides a great tip for evaluating skintones based on the CMYK numbers. I'm not sure their recommendations for fixing the problem would be ones that I would use. I definitely wouldn't want the lab/printer to try to correct this automatically (which is what I presume the "tanning salon" they refer to is). I also probably wouldn't make a trip to CMYK if I could avoid it because of the reduced gamut. My first attempt would be to change to LAB mode (if I'm not already there), where it's pretty easy to cut the magenta and boost the yellow a bit with a curves adjustment.

    One other issue is that any curve adjustment you use to get the skintones where you want them may negatively impact the rest of the picture (for instance outdoor portraits with background landscape in view). In this case you may want to work with a layer/mask so that you can apply the correction only to the skintones.

  14. More very helpful information. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. I'll try working in LAB mode and see what happens. I think I will be running into this problem a lot as all my daughters have olive skin and two of them have husbands that are very fair skinned. It's hard to get them looking good together.
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