Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?

Started Nov 26, 2011 | Discussions
Cruch
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Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
Nov 26, 2011

Now that I've 'imporved' Nikon's defective auto focus to the point of being usable, I need to desperately improve skin tones so I can decide whether to keep the camera or sell it.

I need the skin tones to look the best they can.

I need skin tones like this (Canon 70-200mm):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262651@N05/1565352251/lightbox/

NOT like this (Nikon 70-200mm):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/darren-williams/4595971159/lightbox/

Please I need to help get rid of hot spots and get good skin tones as well as not have the hair fade into black. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm really hoping there's a 'fix' for this issue as I got pretty lucky with the AF defect.

Mako2011
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

Cruch wrote:

Now that I've 'imporved' Nikon's defective auto focus to the point of being usable, I need to desperately improve skin tones so I can decide whether to keep the camera or sell it.

I need the skin tones to look the best they can.

I need skin tones like this (Canon 70-200mm):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262651@N05/1565352251/lightbox/

NOT like this (Nikon 70-200mm):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/darren-williams/4595971159/lightbox/

Please I need to help get rid of hot spots and get good skin tones as well as not have the hair fade into black. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm really hoping there's a 'fix' for this issue as I got pretty lucky with the AF defect.

As you can see....there are so many "defects" that I doubt anyone will be able to help. On the slim chance that it might be possible, you'll need to shoot RAW and leave the JPEG world behind. Might be best to simply sell it and start with one of the examples better suited to your style..... though it looks like the folks providing "better examples" are also accomplished RAW shooters with good PP skills. Good luck as I think you'll easily figure it out.

BTW, did you note the second example you provided was not a skin tone issue but one of over exposure?

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mholguin
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

Your first reference photo is correctly exposed, the second is overexposed.

Correctly exposed photos will render more pleasant tones (not only skin).

Get proper lighting, bounce it whenever possible or get a set of strobes with diffuser (softboxes, beauty dish, umbrella).

As for the hair blending with the background, it has nothing to do with the camera being used, is solely a matter of lighting setup.

PD your second reference photo was made with a D700, BTW

Marino

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d3xmeister
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

First, there is no defective Nikon AF. Your camera needed a little calibration and that's it. It happens even for $25000 cinema lenses mounted on $70000 cameras. My D5100/35mm combo is fine oob.

Now about the skintones. You do realize that the second photo is very badly exposed ?

The best advice is to shoot RAW, and don't use Capture NX for conversion. I find Apple Aperture the best for colors. Or you can use Lightroom. There is no skintone problem when you shoot RAW. By the way, the first photo is shot in RAW and processed, so you know what you have to do if you want great results, jpeg is a no no.

If you want to shoot jpeg, there are skintones problem with the camera left with default settings. What you can do: use the Portrait or Neutral picture style, use custom WB, do not overexpose faces. If you have strong direct light on your subject face, change location or expose for the face even if that means underexposing the scene. Check histogram, whatch out for the red channel.

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kolexndr
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

here are some main concepts i'm trying to stick with. and recommend the same for you.

  • use negative EC in contrast scenes. Check histogram for clipping red channel and redo the photo if R is clipped.

  • shoot in RAW. During conversion you can correct exposure back if needed and also correct white balance as you like

  • use ISO as low as you can. Ideal to not go above 800.

  • try different RAW convertors to chose most suitable for you. I'm using Adobe RAW (LR3).

  • make sure the scene has enough light. Light is the most important thing in photography.

  • do not expect correct skin tones under fluorescent because it has fragmented spectrum.

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wlad
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learn to expose correctly ! (n/t)
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011
n/t
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Jakes
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Re: learn to expose correctly ! (n/t)
In reply to wlad, Nov 26, 2011

You best bet is to get rid of that horrible D5100.
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j_photo
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

If you like the images from the canon better, you should get the canon.

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winparkman
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

The canon photo (nothing to do with the camera, just a reference name) is dull and uninteresting. Parts of the Nikon photo are over exposed but the faces are good and the catchlights in the eyes are very nice. I prefer the second photo to the first.

Shooting RAW will allow you the leeway to make corrections to an excellent photo. You can adjust the skin tone, recover blown highlights and other minor contributions to perfection.

Make sure your screen is properly calibrated, too.

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OK, not so purely a hobby.

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Jack Hogan
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

Cruch wrote:

I need to desperately improve skin tones

You may be interested in this thread, with a similar issue and OP posting style:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1034&message=38807312

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Deleted-pending
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Buy yourself a Fuji F5
In reply to Jack Hogan, Nov 26, 2011

or canon camera (which has horrible workflow to eliminate lens imperfections)

and send me your D5100.

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David Grabowski
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

I think your best bet is to sell it. Obviously it's offering up too much of a challenge to be enjoyable. Why go through that when you can get say a canon 5DII or 7D and get perfect results right out of the box. Perfect skin tones, who knows maybe even with the pop up flash !!!

Seriously now, do you really think the examples you offered up are a result of camera only ? Take this advice seriously, go over to the lighting forum and start really asking questions there and show those examples there as well. Tell them you want results like the Canon gave and see where they lead you.
David

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Ray Soares
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Maybe skintones like these...
In reply to Cruch, Nov 26, 2011

All with the D7000 and my usual settings:

Best
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See my pictures at http://www.pbase.com/raysoares

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Mako2011
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Re: Maybe skintones like these...
In reply to Ray Soares, Nov 26, 2011

Ray Soares wrote:

All with the D7000 and my usual settings:

Best
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Ray Soares

See my pictures at http://www.pbase.com/raysoares

Beautiful work Ray, an inspiration I shoot for.......But lost on the OP I think. Seems a reincarnation of Peter Good Luck...Hope you're having a good weekend.

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slowhands
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yea, it's the camera
In reply to Ray Soares, Nov 26, 2011

never the operator's lack of experience / education

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Jack Hogan
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Re: Maybe skintones like these...
In reply to Ray Soares, Nov 26, 2011

Ray, my man, since you asked for a little C&C here it is, but just remember, you asked for it:

The tones of the teeth in the first image are way off. Your exposure is too low, you need to raise it in order to make them properly bright.

In the second one, the white balance is totally wrong. Look at the whites of his eyes: they are RED! They need to be WHITE (they are not called whites for nothing, duh!), what was the camera thinking! Not a big deal, use the NX2 white balance eye dropper to make them white.

In the third image your camera is obviously front focusing. Look at the left eye: completely out of focus! (it's not the lens, it's the camera, just trust me) You need to adjust it. Take the mirror out, grab a wrench and follow the instructions on my YouTube video, it will save you a disappointing trip to la-la land.

The forth image is almost completely out of focus (yes it is! look at the background: it's so blurry I can't make anything out) - but this time it's, not the camera, it's the lens: look at that skin, gross! Where did those craters on the cheeks come from! You've got a bad lens there my friend: not focusing and surface imperfections!

And finally, the last one: sky tones. Totally, Way off. In all of my travels, and I have traveled a lot (more than you.... did too!...did too!..did too!did!) I have never, ever seen skys like that. The shifted sky tones are the result of a bad CFA-OLPAF interface, but fortunately I found this step-by-step tutorial on a site near you that explains how to pry the two apart and replace the 4 million blue filters off the bayer pattern with the correctly colored ones. It's pretty quick, it takes only 2 minutes per sensel

As I said, you asked for it.
Jack

PS to the OP: Be a good sport, it's all in jest: we are just having a little weekend fun

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GMack
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umm... Ray, you messed up something?
In reply to Ray Soares, Nov 26, 2011

Ray,

I'm fighting profiling a printer so I'm picky in color right now. However, I see a distinct color crossover in your photos 1, the baby, and this girl on my monitor which is sort of glaring to me.

Don't know if it was your PP work, but this one shot in yours has a distinct color-crossover in the blue/cyan on her forehead to the edge of her forehead which seems odd, and is very apparent on my monitor. Near her hairline (right on the photo, her left) the color appears natural, but the highlight mid-forehead goes to a blusih/cyan color? Shot #1 of yours above shows some of it too in her temple and chin area.

I've made the CMYK S-curve adjustment to it in CS5 as in the one below it. Mine may be a bit bright now that it is uploaded, but I am trying to demonstrate the odd color variation on her forehead in the color transition area. Don't seem right for some reason.

Mack

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Mako2011
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I saw no C&C
In reply to Jack Hogan, Nov 26, 2011

Jack Hogan wrote:

Ray, my man, since you asked for a little C&C here it is, but just remember, you asked for it:

I saw no C&C request in Ray's post and the skin tones are pefect for that nationality I think.

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winparkman
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Re: umm... Ray, you messed up something?
In reply to GMack, Nov 26, 2011

it looks like what happens when I try to soften up oily skin.
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intruder61
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Re: Settings to maximize SKIN TONES?
In reply to Cruch, Nov 27, 2011

has nothing to do with the lens and all to do with the guy behind the lens.

80% of digital users on the internet who never used film do not have an understanding of exposure, and there lies all the problems you read on the internet.

Cruch wrote:

Now that I've 'imporved' Nikon's defective auto focus to the point of being usable, I need to desperately improve skin tones so I can decide whether to keep the camera or sell it.
I need the skin tones to look the best they can.
I need skin tones like this (Canon 70-200mm):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12262651@N05/1565352251/lightbox/
NOT like this (Nikon 70-200mm):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/darren-williams/4595971159/lightbox/

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