Smiling African American girl - Photo FC5145 Model Released - See more pictures with comments - See more minority children photos - See all photos - Purchase as stock photo
Comments: This photo was taken outdoors on a blistering sunny day. I placed the girl in shade and used a blank, light colored stucco wall as background. Because of her darker skin tone I used a hand-held light meter in ambient light mode to figure the exposure. (Alternately I could have spot metered her skin and reduced exposure by about 1.5 stops). Then I backed off the fill-flash power a little so her skin would appear natural.
African American skin, and to a lesser extent Hispanic skin, needs about 1.5 to 2 stops less exposure than your camera's spot meter reading. This can vary depending on the particular skin tone of your subject. A hand-held meter (using ambient light mode) will give you the correct exposure; if using your camera's built-in meter simply take a spot reading on the skin and reduce exposure by 1.5 stops for starters.
Also, if using flash with this type of skin tone, it's crucial that you reduce the flash output, too - try a minus 2 stop flash setting. Otherwise the flash will be overpowering and could wash out the skin tone. HC