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Old 08-07-2005, 08:19 PM   #1
Lacey Lewis Lacey Lewis is offline
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Photographing people with dark skin

I didn't see a thread on this already, so I thought I'd post. Later this week I am going to photograph a model who has very dark African-American skin. I've heard here and there that there are certain ways that are better to light and photograph people with dark skin, anyone care to share some knowledge?

I will be using simple clamp lights from the hardware store with white-light bulbs, and I have foamboard to fill the shadows, and I have been thinking of getting some of that semi-transparent plastic sign board to diffuse the light some. I may also get to photograph her outside at some point, so all advice will be useful to me.

Also, I have a digital camera, but not much to manually adjust. Just the auto, sport, landscape type settings.
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Old 08-07-2005, 11:07 PM   #2
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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My suggestion would be to become as familiar as you can with the environment that you are bringing your model into, regardless of their skin color.

Practice in this spot with stand-ins as often as you can and make note of what works during different times of the day.

It would be helpful if you could adjust the white balance on your camera and have the ability to spot meter the subjects face, but if you can't then the next best thing is to try different lighting set ups before the model gets there.

There may be special considerations for dark skinned subjects, reflecting light into the shadowed side may be a little more important, but I think that if you set up good general lighting conditions you will get a good image regardless of their skin color.

Here is a photo I took a few years ago that is showing some wear from a poor scan. I took this with my old film camera (remember them?). I'm pretty sure that my digital camera could help me do a better job today of managing the light. I don't think I did anything particularly different because of her skin color.

Others may have more specific suggestions.
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