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03-24-2016, 08:14 AM   #1
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The impossible to ask in a politically correct way ethnic shooting question.

I'm little farm town in Minnesota so I have a lot of experience shooting folks like this.



And one time shooting folks like this.


I hate the shinny spots on her face!

I have a shoot coming up with these 2 gals and really don't want to mess it up or spend a bunch of time with trial and error.



So any advice on shooting darker skin?

03-24-2016, 08:16 AM   #2
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A polarizer should help.
03-24-2016, 08:25 AM   #3
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I am planning for most of the shots to be outside and I have Tiffen Circular Polarizer for my portrait lens. http://www.amazon.com/Tiffen-72CP-72mm-Circular-Polarizer/dp/B00004ZCGX?ie=U...ilpage_o01_s00


Is that what you are talking about?


Oh I should mention I am shooting a K-3 with a Tamron 70-200. I've found a little bump from a metz 58 AF2 with a Gary Fong defuser even outside is nice to have a little catch light in the eye.
03-24-2016, 08:27 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by charchri4 Quote
Is that what you are talking about?
Yes.

03-24-2016, 08:31 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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A lot of experience photographing white people?

Or specifically this type of perfection?



In all seriousness, your issue isn't the color of her skin but rather how oily it is. I don't mean that disparagingly - she appears to have very nice, taut skin. The issue though is that the natural oils created by our bodies (especially on our faces) creates a sheen that absolutely will be reflective like it is above, and it's perfectly expected. Have her apply a natural/nude coating of make-up (i.e. foundation) to suppress the shine.

This is common for both males and females, and is why it is industry standard for people like news anchors regardless of sex, skin color, etc, to have some makeup applied to have their skin appear "clean" on camera. President Obama probably has his make-up done daily lol.

Hope this helps

-Heie
03-24-2016, 08:32 AM   #6
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Get some sweat/makeup cotton pads and dab your subject up before you shoot. Use a larger/softer light source to avoid harder specular reflections. Don't rely on your meter, since metering on dark subject would cause it to overexpose.

03-24-2016, 08:36 AM   #7
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I'm no portrait photography expert, but I think large surface area light sources (large softbox and/or light reflector) as close to your subject as possible without being seen in the image will provide a more uniform soft light on your models and much reduced presence of hot spots.
03-24-2016, 09:11 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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Not sure about the title of your post. Photographers have long asked, openly, how to meter for and how to light African-American skin tones (from lighter to darker brown). There is nothing inappropriate about that, especially when one has experience only with Causasian skin tones. Why shouldn't one ask? If the point is to take good portraits of people with darker skin, then your goal is good and is one that your portrait subjects share. What on earth does this have to do with "pc"?

Here...I'll ask it openly. What do I need to do in order to get well-lit portraits of black folks?

03-24-2016, 09:23 AM   #9
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My one experience as a paid model came when a Sheridan College instructor I use to know wanted a dark skinned guy for a portrait session with his class, he also wanted a bald guy. He figured using he was killing two birds with one stone. Anyone looking for a mildly dark skinned bald guy for a class on these kinds of issues give me a call. I'm cheap, ( I got the standard Sheridan College fee, 20 bucks) but you have to assume the travel costs.

Turned out I was sort of the guest lecturer as well, I should have asked for another 20 bucks for that part of the evening.
03-24-2016, 09:52 AM   #10
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Wow this is super helpful THANK YOU!


You are right I just want to do my best to make flattering images so it is a worthy subject. I feel awkward about it because I live in a town of 1100 with 0 % minorities in it. The one gal I did shoot was at my daughters church and only because I told her she had the most amazing hair I have ever seen and asked to photograph it. LOL yeah that was awkward!


The cotton pads is a great idea and I'll practice with my polarizer and see what it does. In my minds eye I feel like that would just reduce the contrast and make the eyes less bright but will try for sure.


The shoot is in 3 weeks so I have time to get ready.
03-24-2016, 10:40 AM   #11
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Since I am in Africa taking pictures my main advice would be to use diffused light. If you can do so shoot into the shade. Put your subject in the shade and shoot into it.

I do that here and no problem. But then again I am shooting in the streets with zero plans for anything. 10 minutes from now I won't know what or who my next subject will be.

If your shoot is planned (and especially if it's a woman) and even more than that a Western woman....ask her to bring some make up powder which certainly she will have. Don't be shy about it. Show her the picture of the glare and say "we want to avoid that"

The main thing is the type of lighting. From what I have experienced harsh direct lighting and oily skin do not match up well. Controlling the light is most important. Use the shade!



That picture there was taken in a doorway under a ledge without any direct light hitting the subject. I had to brighten it some in post but hey, that's ok.
03-24-2016, 10:48 AM   #12
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Wow that is really a great shot Alamo!!! Thank you for the advice I will take it to heart!
03-24-2016, 11:02 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by charchri4 Quote
Wow that is really a great shot Alamo!!! Thank you for the advice I will take it to heart!
Thank you. Thank you!

This is Africa and all us Mizumbu (white people) are the minority. I really can't stress enough that you want to use shade and depending on the time of day to avoid wide open bright spots in the background. You might get everything else right but if you blow out the background that's not cool. Remember..."EVERYTHING MUST BE RELATIVE". With a lighter skin subject you can get away with a slightly lighter background because of the exposure nuances. With a darker skin subject you will need a slightly darker background to keep it relatively even.

The shot above was literally me walking by and having all the extremely friendly locals talk to me. "Hey! Mizumbu! You want to take my picture?!" Very playful and friendly. So I just got him basically organized where he was already sitting and snapped the shot. 60 seconds from start to finish tops.

Remember too that if you are shooting in RAW when you keep everything relative then doing stuff in post will become a whole lot easier. You can tap down or brighten up a little shade or any number of things...just remember the theory of relativity.

---------- Post added 03-24-16 at 01:13 PM ----------

Also if you look at one of my other threads--- here---

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/316939-people-african-soldier.html

You can see other examples.

One final tip is to try under exposing some and then fix it in post. You don't want to go nuts on the under exposure but just do it some.

Here is another one that I took the other day. Again it was entirely under the shade. Click it and take a look.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/80479720@N06/25909967776/sizes/h/

---------- Post added 03-24-16 at 01:20 PM ----------

Sorry to keep on rambling but look at Heie's ginger bread mug shot. He can get away with a light or even a white background. Now look at the picture you have above...the one where you said you don't like the shiny spots on her face...

Now look at enoeske's shot on the right.... What do you notice?

You want complimentary not clashing colors.

Last edited by alamo5000; 03-24-2016 at 11:31 AM.
03-24-2016, 05:06 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
A lot of experience photographing white people?

Or specifically this type of perfection?



In all seriousness, your issue isn't the color of her skin but rather how oily it is. I don't mean that disparagingly - she appears to have very nice, taut skin. The issue though is that the natural oils created by our bodies (especially on our faces) creates a sheen that absolutely will be reflective like it is above, and it's perfectly expected. Have her apply a natural/nude coating of make-up (i.e. foundation) to suppress the shine.

This is common for both males and females, and is why it is industry standard for people like news anchors regardless of sex, skin color, etc, to have some makeup applied to have their skin appear "clean" on camera. President Obama probably has his make-up done daily lol.

Hope this helps

-Heie
Great advice, thanks Alex.
And on a completely different tangent: Planning any sand and shower tests for the K-1?
03-24-2016, 05:33 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
A lot of experience photographing white people?

Or specifically this type of perfection? -Heie
Alex, I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but when I saw that image my thought was "thank God he's on our side!"

Last edited by Parallax; 03-24-2016 at 05:39 PM.
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