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Author Topic: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes  (Read 6491 times)

revup67

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Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« on: September 14, 2012, 03:03:29 AM »
In the following attachments you will note an untouched portrait straight out of the Canon 5D Mark III and then a post processed (in CS5 and LightRoom) which took about another half hour.  I used 2 Elinchrom 400 watt strobes at almost the lowest setting which was 2.2 to achieve a 6.3 and 1/100th light meter read at ISO 50

Does anyone have any suggestions with an older audience how to capture better portraits without all the red areas as in the untouched photo?  Am I perhaps too close with the strobes?  The 2 strobes were about 6 feet high (client seated), facing downward angle of about 45 degrees and approximately 16 inches form subject.  Each strobe was placed about 6 feet apart at 45 degree angles

Hope that helps to describe my setup to offer suggestions.  Thanks in advance.
Thanks
Rev
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Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« on: September 14, 2012, 03:03:29 AM »

Canon-F1

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2012, 04:19:43 AM »
i noticed too that my studio strobes (linkstar and bowens) tend to make the images from all my canon cameras a bit to red (shooting AWB).

you should think strobes should be neutral but my home studio portraits are all a bit to red.
if someone could explain why.. im all ears!!

anyway xrite colorchecker passport helps a lot to keep this under control.

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leGreve

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 04:48:34 AM »
This has nothing to do with the equipment and certainly not the lights.

Canon has always been a bit on the red side, but with all due respect to the man in question here, I would bet that this is pretty close to the normal rendering of his skin. You just don't notice it in every day life.

Now... you can turn down the sat a bit in the camera, but that will affect everything in the image. You can't make the lights look any different because their color temperature is fixed.

And even when I was assisting high end photographers in London when they shot Canon we would fix all this in post.... that's just the way, even on top paid models. Caucasian skin is red, end of story.
Once you know what to do, it doesn't take long to fix red skin.

So keep on playing with Photoshop and find a workflow that is consistent...

EDIT: Also, I'd keep the contrast and settle for toning the reds down, keeping them in nartural key areas and a tip for next time would be to always keep cotton pads with you or buy some very light concealer in three different skin tones, so you can lover the amount of shine in his face.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 04:56:37 AM by leGreve »
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CJRodgers

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 04:55:42 AM »
This might help as i have a similar problem with babies. I use ACR, so i hope the same applies to you using lightroom. But i discovered just last night that the tab that says HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) is very good. I set it to luminance then adjust the red and orange until im happy. Sometimes playing with the saturation and hue can help too on the red slider.

Only problem i have with this is it sends with lips too bright, so then i use the burn tool drop of back down.

If there is smaller problem areas i take it into photoshop and use a lasso to select the areas, then use a selective colour adjustment where it lets me play with the magenta channel and the black slider is good too.

Hope that helps.

Craig
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 05:01:53 AM by CJRodgers »

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2012, 05:00:17 AM »
Hi,

Would you agree to make the original RAW file available to anyone willing to give it a try?

I have amateur and limited experience on PP and only use DPP for quick and easy corrections.

With real world subjects and depending on what the portrait is made for, your PP must aim somewhere in between "fully realistic" and "idealized look"… hope my non-native English has meaning here  8)

If I were (half) in your shoes BUT using DPP on the raw file, I would start out playing with WB, Color Tone and Saturation controls

Possibly combined with slight Brightness and Contrast adjusments on the way, to avoid the "washing out" effect that the M5D1985-Final.JPG file displays to my eyes.

Hope this helps

Cheers   :)

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2012, 06:08:37 AM »
Are you shooting RAW? If not? Why? You should!:)

Why did you shoot ISO 50? Not sure you get better results than 100 with the 5D MKIII. Still an extended mode and not native.

You ended up turning this guy almost as grey as the background. You also applied some kind of softness to the all photo when you should only work on the skin. You soften his eyes, nose, mouse...these areas should remain as sharp as possible. No need to change the colours and sharpness of the guy's suit.

I also notice this guy is almost sweaty, there is usually no problem to use a bit of make up Men for portrait.
This will help with the redness as well.
Did you use a grey card so setup your white balance? Almost a must for portrait as well.

Are you using umbrellas or softboxes? What size, how far from your subject?


Thanks,
Almograve

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 07:46:04 AM »
Spent 2 minutes in LR: if you like there are the settings: Maybe you can save it as a preset in LR, so when you import, it always applies these values: The key for older people is to reduce clarity to taste, this smoothens skin a bit. It can blur overall iamge but it is a quick and easy way to make them look "less tired"  :)

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Contrast +7
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Clarity -36

HSL / Hue : Red +22
HSL/Saturation : Red -36
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 07:50:23 AM by K-amps »
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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 07:46:04 AM »

lola

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 08:02:25 AM »
Retouching is NOT equal to blurring.
I think you need to worry about your workflow more than the skin tones.
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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 12:56:21 PM »
You can't make the lights look any different because their color temperature is fixed.

i heard about things called GELS and FILTERS... ;)


Quote
This has nothing to do with the equipment and certainly not the lights.

well... then i don´t understand why i notice this especially with my monoblocks?

ambient light portraits or even portraits shoot with speedlites don´t show it to such an extreme.

i wondered if my softbox diffusor material absorbs light frequencies unevenly... so the resulting light is a bit more red then usual.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 01:02:48 PM by Canon-F1 »
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RLPhoto

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 01:29:46 PM »
This is only a Processing Issue. Fix in Post.
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bbasiaga

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 02:35:19 PM »
If you gel your flashes and set your WB to match what they are gelled to, you can get a lot of the color correction done right for you at the capture, no need for extra post processing.  It may not be perfect, but can be closer. 

If someone's skin reflects a lot of red in spots, making the light more red will help.  Its kind of like writing in red in on a white paper.  Unde white light, very stark difference.  If you look at it under red light, all of a sudden the writing disappears becuase all there is to reflect is red light, so the paper and ink reflect the same.  That's why even these 'perfect' stars on film and in print all have an MUA to work on them.  Evens out their skin so they all look right under the SAME light.  We can get a similar effect with Gels. 



Try a 1/2 or full CTO gel set, and use the tungsten white balance on your cam.  You may find it evens them out well. 



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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 02:38:03 PM »
Many mono lights have color shift throughout the power range but especially at the far ends of the power settings.  Modifiers can certainly do this as well (and change over time).  Regardless of this, you can fix it in post (especially if you shoot RAW).  Reducing the red shift should not take more than 1 minute in post with either Lightroom or Photoshop.
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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 02:45:13 PM »
In the following attachments you will note an untouched portrait straight out of the Canon 5D Mark III and then a post processed (in CS5 and LightRoom) which took about another half hour.  I used 2 Elinchrom 400 watt strobes at almost the lowest setting which was 2.2 to achieve a 6.3 and 1/100th light meter read at ISO 50

Does anyone have any suggestions with an older audience how to capture better portraits without all the red areas as in the untouched photo?  Am I perhaps too close with the strobes?  The 2 strobes were about 6 feet high (client seated), facing downward angle of about 45 degrees and approximately 16 inches form subject.  Each strobe was placed about 6 feet apart at 45 degree angles

Hope that helps to describe my setup to offer suggestions.  Thanks in advance.
Whatever was done to that second one after processing, I don't recommend you re-visit. It looks like you put a window smeared with Vaseline in front of him before you shot it. I agree with other posters keep everything as shot but tone reds down. I am not trying ot insult you just to consider the final image and say to yourself is this a good representation of what was captured and would I personally like how it looks if this were a portrait of me?
Also i recommend shooting Portraits in portrait orientation meaning your camera is vertical. Angle them slightly where they stand in relation to the camera to make them appear thinner. Also when you look at his outfit always check hair, and collars or ties if they are where they should be and the jacket is buttoned. His hair is probably just like that but his color is flopping around curled under. Always check for these things, don't be afraid to get hands on and adjust it for them. The hair obviously have them adjust.
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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 02:45:13 PM »

revup67

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 04:38:55 PM »
Many thanks to all of you I did pick up some good tips on each and every response and ahve answered some questions as necessary:

Canon F1 - I used a WB card which helped a bit and indeed am aware of the Red on Canon's..so true.  I used the WB Shift feature on the 7D camera to avoid this additional red post process and now need to adjust to the 5D

leGreve - great idea about light concealer and 3 diff skin tones - will pursue this.  The wife has now volunteered to help being a cosmetologist.

CJRodgers -  yes, I always use the HSL and Color sliders..that was how I achieved this effect on the revised.  it's a must as we both ostensibly agree

John Mark: 
Quote
If I were (half) in your shoes BUT using DPP on the raw file, I would start out playing with WB, Color Tone and Saturation controls

Yes I did start with the RAW but in Photoshop CS5. The photo was taken with custom WB setting and I used an 18% gray card under his chin. 
Quote
Possibly combined with slight Brightness and Contrast adjusments on the way, to avoid the "washing out" effect that the M5D1985-Final.JPG file displays to my eyes.

It is a bit washed out but any more color or saturation or lesser brightness may have brought back some of the red I was working to do away with.  I can offer the RAW file but it is huge - not sure where?

Almograve - yes I always shoot RAW and in Large format.  I shot ISO 50 to get the aperture at  6.3 vs. 8.0 per a Joe McNally course I have taken where he uses 2.0 and 5.6 for portraits.  I have a Sekonic light meter that always me to be spot on which I believe it was.  Meter was under client chin and lumiscope was open, not recessed for single light
Indeed I used a gray card.  though no make up and he was a bit perspired.  great observation by you.  Yes softboxes two as described at the start of this thread

K-Amps -  I do like what I see in your revised my only concern is that it places more emphasis on the redder areas so his red patches are more pronounced.  I thought perhaps to get the skin as universal as possible but of course I lose some contrast.  I also did use this PS5 tutorial prior to LR4 http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/smooth-skin/

bbasiaga - yes I did use a gray card 18% by michael tapes design.  I did not try tungsten only Custom Whie balance which should have done the trick.  Great idea on the gels.

Studio1930 - I adjusted the WB Shift in my 7D but not the 5D.  Perhaps it is time to revisit this.

Bosman - I used the tutorial above for smoothing skin tones.  it was what I wanted to achive. as 95% of my client base are 50 and over.  Note the sections on what to sharpen.  The veins and capillaries are far too pronounced in the RAW.  Again see the tutorial and am interested in your comments on this.  I used a 10.0 on the High Pass BTW.  I like the tip on portrait orientation mode but can you be more on the "angle them slightly".  I only did one shot of this.  I gave my client a mirror and asked about his collar but that is what he wanted.  I did point out his hair as well but he requested to leave it unchanged
Thanks
Rev
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RLPhoto

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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 04:43:28 PM »
Just an addition. Why use ISO 50? It will clip you highlights sooner. Why not use ND's Instead @ ISO 100?

Anyway, heres an quick edit done with just a curves adjustment. I believe you Underexposed him about 1/2 stop.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 04:57:32 PM by RLPhoto »
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Re: Need Assistance on how to improve skin tones with strobes
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 04:43:28 PM »