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Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

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Old 10-28-2006, 04:50 PM
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superkoax superkoax is offline
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Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

This is more of a camera technique but to benefit the retouching afterwards...


Well, I'm learning model photography all alone and I have no one to ask when it comes to exposure of camera....

How much is enough F/stop to give a soft exposure to the skin?? When I'm shooting I shoot on high values of F/stop like 9-13 and I use good lighting with portable hanheld flash mounted to a tripod with umbrella...But I think the skin get's too revealing leaving me with one hell of a job retouching with dodge and burn...You all remember my glamour retouch challenge...I know thathigher the value of f/stop the bigger focus you get or DepthOfField, right?

I've tried with lower F/stop, but the pictures tend to get abit "dry" and very light and the skin looses some of the details...

Is there any simple rule of thumb you guys can give me???

This thread is for retouching purpouse don't move this please

Kind regards, yours truly, norwegian pal

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Old 10-30-2006, 09:19 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

Well I see that no one else wants to tackle this, so I will give it a try.

First off, there is no magic f stop that will give you soft skin. F stops are used for controlling the amount of light and depth of field. What you need for soft skin is a light source that will give you a nice soft light. This light source also needs to be very close to the subject.

In my studio I use a 3 foot by 4 foot soft box and it is usually within 2 or 3 feet of the subjects face. Since I want the backgound to be soft (sometimes called fuzzy) I select an f stop towards the low end of the scale (maybe f4 or so) and then adjust my lights output so that the exposure is correct.

Soft light tends to "bend" around the subjects face and produce nice soft easy transitions from hi-lites to shadows. Also helps hide imperfections on the skin.

I have not had the time to look, but there must be places on the net that will teach you about portrait lighting. Try a google search.
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:32 AM
snapperanton snapperanton is offline
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Re: Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

Yes, I agree.

There is no secret fstop formula to soft skin, just lighting techniques. Try playing with beauty dishes, adding scrims (frost) to lights, reflectors. There is no right or wrong, just find something you are happy with and that works for you.

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Old 11-01-2006, 01:26 PM
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superkoax superkoax is offline
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Re: Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

thanks for the advice, guys...I will train, train,train...If I do stumble over the golden f/stop I will post it here
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Old 11-01-2006, 02:01 PM
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Re: Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!


As you said, there is lots of information about lighting for portraits on the net. Here are a few that you might want to look at --

DPreview is a digital camera technical review site with forums on most photography related subjects - there is a forum on Lighting Techniques (some pros post tips there as well as the usual newbie questions)... don't know how experienced you are already, but there is a range of forum posts from newbie to professional.

One of the pros there (Chuck Gardner) has lighting tutorials at his website - - a summary published at PBase

It appears that the look of soft skin comes partly from the skin, the softness of the lighting, sometimes some makeup.
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Old 02-05-2007, 06:15 PM
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santajuana santajuana is offline
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Re: Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

No f/stop but a diffuser filter for your camera lens can help a bit!

Search on Cokin Filters.

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Old 02-06-2007, 07:56 PM
jubbaking jubbaking is offline
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Re: Exposure tip for keeping skin soft!

The type of lighting you use and the lighting ratio are what will help soften the skin straight out of the camera. You wouldn't, for instance, photograph an 80 year old woman with a 4:1 ratio and expect the skin to not look extra wrinkly.
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