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Techniques for soft, low contrast, outdoor photos of people, especially children


aftab1003

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i am a big fan of the photographer "Said Mhamad" and wondering how he get the color tones of the images and SKIN tones...

here are the samples..

Skin tone.
4.jpg

skin tone + image color
3.jpg

i will thank full if someone can guide me to achieve this skin color through his own guide or tutorial..
thanks in advance.
 

f2bthere

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I would get the color balance neutral as a starting point.

One reliable method: Get a grey neutral item in your scene and photograph it in the lighting conditions. Use the eye dropper tool to sample this for white balance in Lightroom. You can also use a curves adjustment Layer in Photoshop. Apply the same settings to your picture shot in the same light. There are many other methods to achieve this....

Once you are neutral, look at what you like about the image. The skin tones are a bit less saturated. In Lightroom, go to HSL, choose the saturation sliders and reduce the skin tones. You can do this with the adjustment tool or you can adjust the sliders by hand. I would reduce the red, because this reduces lots of troubles and orange, because this is mostly what skin is. Play with them till it looks good to you. While you could also play with luminance for skin (Orange) to make it a bit lighter, again, to taste.

The background in these images has fairly complimentary cool coloring (green), which is probably a big factor in how this looks, since it brings out the skin tones.

You could also adjust the background as you did with the skin to get the look you want. I would play with all three (hue, saturation and luminance) to get the look you like.
 

Tom Mann

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Hi Aftab - Welcome to PhotoshopGurus.com.

First, a bit of terminology. Among photographers, the word, "tones" or "tonality" means the distribution of brightness throughout the image. It is entirely separate from the "color" (ie, hue and saturation) aspects of an image. To think of tones for a color image, just imagine it was converted to gray scale (ie, a "black and white" photo), and then think about how deep are the blacks and shadow areas, how bright are the highlights, how much mid-range contrast is there, etc. etc. Think of what the histogram for the B&W version would look like. In short, your phrase, "color tones" maybe should have been better expressed as "colors and tones"

I brought the definition of "tones" up immediately because it is critically important to producing the pix you posted. It is the first thing that caught my attention. Here are histograms for the two images.

Histogram1.jpg

Histogram2.jpg

Note that there are no black pixels whatsoever, and very, very few deep shadow pixels in either image. This is one of the major factors that contribute to the low contrast look in these images. There are some subtleties to this, but a very easy way to get close is to put a "Levels" adjustment layer above your image, and then move the slider circled in red from the extreme left position to the position shown (obviously, adjust to the demands of your image and your own taste).

Levels_adjustment_layer.jpg

There are two other items that are critical to giving these two images their characteristic look, and these have absolutely nothing to do with Photoshop: The lighting and the lens used.

The simplest is the lens. In both these pictures, the background is thrown way out of focus and shows only extremely softened versions of the items that are really there. This is done by using a long focal length lens, and opening it up to at least f/4, and probably more like f/2.8 or even f/2. This softening contributes tremendously to the overall look.

The lighting is of equal importance. First, notice that the light in the background is of a completely different color than the lighting in the foreground. In forest settings, whites tend to take on a yellow or greenish cast, but there are only traces of this remaining in the white dresses of the girls. This immediately tells me that the photographer added some extra light to the subjects. Next, notice that there are hardly any shadows on the subjects -- they are lit with a very soft light, not a simple, harsh, on-camera flash. He could have done this in a number of ways. From the annular catchlights (ie, reflections of the flash) in the eyes of the girl, it looks like he might have used a light modifier called a beauty dish, but he could have gotten a similar effect with a photographic umbrella, softbox or octobox (Google these terms), or even just bouncing a hot-show flash up into a big reflector just above the camera.

If even one of the aspects mentioned above (eg, color balance, missing blacks, long lens used wide open, & a nice big, soft source of light) is missing, the result will be substantially different.

HTH,

Tom M
 
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aftab1003

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Thanks for replies.
I notice that "no black pixel" in other pictures from that photogher.

Is there any special way to capture such type of images or its just post production?
 

Tom Mann

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Yes, some cameras do have adjustments (or presets) that can produce low contrast images like this, but, I never use them and I don't recommend their use.

The first reason is because one can never accurately determine exactly how an image is going to look at the time of capture. The rear displays on digital cameras are rarely very good, plus you are viewing them in completely uncontrolled lighting situations (eg, bright sunlight). So, I simply strive to take normal, well exposed, well lit, medium contrast shots, and save them in RAW data format. Then, in post processing, I have the most flexibility and can do whatever I want with the images.

The second reason is that if you save a low contrast version, you are just throwing away image bit depth and dynamic range. Sure, if you need to, you can sorta-kinda try to get this back in PP, but it will never be as good as if you started out with a full range image.

Tom M
 

Patel123

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i am a big fan of the photographer "Said Mhamad" and wondering how he get the color tones of the images and SKIN tones...

here are the samples..

Skin tone.
View attachment 57769

skin tone + image color
View attachment 57770

i will thank full if someone can guide me to achieve this skin color through his own guide or tutorial..
thanks in advance.
Hi! I was just wondering, I know this is an old post but did you manage to recreate your images like said mhamad's? I've also been trying to figure it out!
 

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