Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

Started Jul 3, 2014 | Polls
Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,745
Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

I find the questions and comments about skin tones interesting.  I believe while there are technical matters (exposure, white balance, good R-G-B or CYMK ratios, etc...) that are important, certainly to a large degree personal preference plays a significant role.

I've been playing with some presets in lightroom to not only make processing faster but also to get close to a certain look as a starting point.

The following three photos start off very similar.  Same crop, same white balance, all have a yellow post cloned out, slight bump of clarity/saturation on just the eye's... then they're processed differently.  One is "Nikon standard" as far as color and tone curve.  The other two have tone curve adjustments and pretty heavy color adjustments.

I'm curious what your SUBJECTIVE preference is.  Choose whatever criteria you like but please vote for the one you like the best.  After a bit I'll reveal what was done to the photos (if anyone is interested - LOL).  Note:  files are relatively low res but the point isn't to zoom to 100% but look at the overall picture in total.

1.

2.

3.

POLL
1
71.3% 67  votes
2
20.2% 19  votes
3
8.5% 8  votes
  Show results
imac2001
imac2001 Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)
1

I think the warmer skintones in number one seem the most natural.

OP Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,745
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

imac2001 wrote:

I think the warmer skintones in number one seem the most natural.

Did you vote with the voting buttons? 

Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,399
variable...with edit

Nexu1 wrote:

I'm curious what your SUBJECTIVE preference is. Choose whatever criteria you like but please vote for the one you like the best. After a bit I'll reveal what was done to the photos (if anyone is interested - LOL). Note: files are relatively low res but the point isn't to zoom to 100% but look at the overall picture in total.

1.

2.

3.

Another variable you might not be able to account for...is that not everyone her will see these sRGB images from a calibrated monitor. That said, subjectively as I don't know the child's actual skin tone, 1 seems to red, 3 too pale, and 2 best for me. Good luck and an excellent thread.

Also note that all 3 color channels are clipped in the first images so that makes a real comparison a bit skewed.

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Marla2008
Marla2008 Senior Member • Posts: 2,419
Re: variable...with edit

The difference is *marginal* at best !!

I voted 1 though I actually like the more golden hue better in the second one, but it was lacking saturation;
In all my Nikon cameras I turn the Hue to +1 in all modes. Takes care of skin tones, generally

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OP Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,745
Re: variable...with edit

Mako2011 wrote:

Also note that all 3 color channels are clipped in the first images so that makes a real comparison a bit skewed.

Interesting, I don't see that in Lightroom.  The blue comes close in the shadows (like a tiny needle poking up towards the top), otherwise all 3 colors are just fine through 99% of the image where there is a needle spike in the furthest of highlights which is the sky which is blown out in all three photos.  The original capture has all three colors easily captured, not even 50% of the histogram (except the needle at the far right for the blown out sky).  What I see in lightroom shouldn't impact the photo in any negative way.  But it's interesting to see how much the colors bounce around the histogram from edit to edit despite on the surface the photos look pretty similar.

Haven't heard any comments on the trees yet.  I showed these to a bunch of folks at work yesterday, was a fun experiment.

imac2001
imac2001 Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: variable...with edit
1

I think this post is more fun when you don't scrutinize the images in Lightroom. Subjectively, I really think number one is the best. The trees, however, seem to have less green and possibly more yellow in them.

I really do not see any clipping in any of the images...

Bailey151 Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

Subjective - like most everyone else I like #1.............BUT..........I don't know what the kid actually looks like (so who knows which is actually better)

Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,399
sRGB

Nexu1 wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

Also note that all 3 color channels are clipped in the first images so that makes a real comparison a bit skewed.

Interesting, I don't see that in Lightroom. The blue comes close in the shadows (like a tiny needle poking up towards the top), otherwise all 3 colors are just fine through 99% of the image where there is a needle spike in the furthest of highlights which is the sky which is blown out in all three photos.

Hmm...In Photoshop CC I only show color channels clipped in the first image. Example, some of the lightest part of the cheeks show clipping in the red at 255+. Wonder if there may be a color space mismatch in LR. I'm looking at it in sRGB. LR defaults to ProPhotoRGB. Maybe that's why we see it a tiny bit different.

The original capture has all three colors easily captured, not even 50% of the histogram (except the needle at the far right for the blown out sky). What I see in lightroom shouldn't impact the photo in any negative way.

Again, in Photoshop I'm seeing all 3 channels clipped (tiny bit) and red in the cheeks...which will obviously affect skin tone to some degree. The effect though is minor, in this case, as it really is only in certain small areas.

But it's interesting to see how much the colors bounce around the histogram from edit to edit despite on the surface the photos look pretty similar.

Agreed, always amazing how tiny relative changes might or might not have an effect.

Haven't heard any comments on the trees yet. I showed these to a bunch of folks at work yesterday, was a fun experiment.

Excellent thread!  Thanks for sharing

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robert r daniels Forum Member • Posts: 52
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

I liked #1 the best, except for the inside of the mouth and lips in which the reds seemed a little emphasized. Although I'm viewing these on a calibrated monitor they all seem a little washed out.

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hgredo
hgredo New Member • Posts: 11
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

I liked the 1st one the best. The pinkish skin tone and overall balance is better to me than the lower contrast, yelowish others.

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stljrs New Member • Posts: 22
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

I am not on a calibrated monitor; I did not open LR;  I did vote with the buttons; I voted for 1.  Warmer is always better I think for skin tones and while a subtle difference I think it looks the best.  Did you use the 35mm F1.8G lens?

OP Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,745
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

stljrs wrote:

I am not on a calibrated monitor; I did not open LR; I did vote with the buttons; I voted for 1. Warmer is always better I think for skin tones and while a subtle difference I think it looks the best. Did you use the 35mm F1.8G lens?

Yes- 35mm f1.8G DX

Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 24,841
None
5

Your tones are off in all three. Without a carefully calibrated monitor (tools are only as good as their users) you are wasting your time. Viewers without calibrated monitors are wasting their time. The blown blue channel is only in a small unimportant area (detected by using Info in PS CS6). What's even sillier, a simple one click on Auto Tones in PS CS6 corrects it. Lightroom really wasn't designed to do this sort of work.

My apologies for sounding so negative, but you asked. But, please, keep plugging away.

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www.ghost-town-photography.com

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OP Nexu1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,745
Re: None

Steve Bingham wrote:

Your tones are off in all three. Without a carefully calibrated monitor (tools are only as good as their users) you are wasting your time. Viewers without calibrated monitors are wasting their time. The blown blue channel is only in a small unimportant area (detected by using Info in PS CS6). What's even sillier, a simple one click on Auto Tones in PS CS6 corrects it. Lightroom really wasn't designed to do this sort of work.

My apologies for sounding so negative, but you asked. But, please, keep plugging away.

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Steve Bingham
www.dustylens.com
www.ghost-town-photography.com

Wow, please just delete your comment and go away as it's not just negative, it's garbage.  Complete garbage.

imac2001
imac2001 Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: None

The iPhone 5 is a great device to use for viewing photos critically. It is (or was) the best calibrated portable device for accurate colors, and it consistently was found to be more accurate than most high end desktop monitors- right out of the box.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6334/iphone-5-screen-performance

BTW- maybe it is a waste of time, but it is fun, and I find your post to be much more constructive than 95% of the posts on this forum.

I'm anxious for you to tell us the adjustments you made for each image.

Some of these technical posts crack me up. The whole point was to take an informal, strictly subjective look at the images. You have to keep your pixel peeping tendencies in check and look at the images the way a normal person would. You know, like a customer would...

Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 24,841
Re: None
2

OK. But some customers are damn picky - at least mine are.

imac2001 wrote:

The iPhone 5 is a great device to use for viewing photos critically. It is (or was) the best calibrated portable device for accurate colors, and it consistently was found to be more accurate than most high end desktop monitors- right out of the box.

Uh, maybe. But not in my world. Comparing a small iPhone image with a 30" calibrated photo monitor simply isn't possible. Any yes, I read anandteck - for computer info. For many good people, a smartphone image is all they need. I wouldn't try to make a living with the photos.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6334/iphone-5-screen-performance

BTW- maybe it is a waste of time, but it is fun, and I find your post to be much more constructive than 95% of the posts on this forum.

I'm anxious for you to tell us the adjustments you made for each image.

Some of these technical posts crack me up. The whole point was to take an informal, strictly subjective look at the images. You have to keep your pixel peeping tendencies in check and look at the images the way a normal person would. You know, like a customer would...

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Steve Bingham
www.dustylens.com
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imac2001
imac2001 Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: None

Steve, I agree about using the proper tools to make a living. However, this post is strictly about color accuracy, and in that regard an iPhone 5 (specifically) is calibrated and extremely accurate for sRGB. For those of us away from home, a phone is all we have. I use a 27" calibrated display at home.

Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,705
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

No portrait stands alone.  There is usually some sort of background that helps or hurts.  In this case, I think I like #1 the best because the background is more even and neutral.  There is more contrast between the bright yellows and darker greens in the second and the third is more forward and saturated in, to me, an unpleasant way. So, the first seems more complementary which is why, for me, I always question how pp is going to effect a bokeh which might be perfect right off the bat.  If you could isolate the boy's pp and keep him on a constant background, we might be able to learn even more about skin tones.  Thanks for posting.  An interesting read.

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Iain G Foulds
Iain G Foulds Veteran Member • Posts: 3,528
Re: Nikon color and skin tones - 3 examples and poll (subjective)

... Number 1 is easily the best (calibrated monitor).

... Only technicians care about realism. Real people pick romance over realism any day. Push those levels.

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