Caption: African American
Technical data: Photo taken with a Nikon SLR film camera and Nikkor
85mm f1.8 lens; tripod, natural light and fill-flash with -2 stops flash
output adjustment. Approximate exposure 1/125 second at f11 - Fuji
Sensia 200 transparency film. No lens filters were used.
Film was scanned using Minolta
Dimage series film scanner. Photo file was routinely optimized using
Photoshop; levels and curves, color balance, sharpening, cropping and
dust spot removal using clone tool. I use a Mac for all 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.
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