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Mixed Lighting

Lesson 3 from: How to Photograph and Flatter Skin Tones

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

3. Mixed Lighting

Next Lesson: Color Contamination

Lesson Info

Mixed Lighting

Next one. Okay, these are all things that can mess up your skin or help your skin look great. So, you've got to consider them. So, the next one is mixed lighting, okay? Mixed color temperatures. Basically, when you're taking a shot of somebody, whether in the studio or outdoors, pay attention to the light that's hitting them. If they're being hit by different colors of light, you're always gonna struggle to get the skin looking good. And so, the place that you see this often is going to be, maybe you're shooting at a party, maybe you're shooting at a rehearsal dinner or something like that, or shooting at the wedding. And, over here is big beautiful window light. It looks great. And then, over here is overhead tungsten light. And so half their face will be super yellow and half their face would be either correct or super blue. And, there're kind of ways to fix it in Photoshop, but its totally not the way you wanna go. So, when you're in a space pay attention to mixed lighting. That bei...

ng said, also pay attention with the worn old softbox. Cause, let's say you have a main light and a fill light and one's yellow and one's not, like, that's actually mixed light. So, you have to pay attention to those things. So, let's take a look at this. Alright so, here is an example of what I'm talking about. In this case, she's got a window over on the left hand side. I'm shooting auto white balance. And so, what it did is it's goes, window light's blue tungsten light from the overhead is yellow, I'm gonna cut the difference, cause that's white auto white balance did. And it goes, alright, so its gonna look blue and yellow and actually never correct on either side. And so, you're never gonna get the skin to look good. So, in this case, what I recommend you do, is if there is mixed lighting, pick one. Try to pick, alright, are you gonna light them with tungsten or light them with a window. And, the window light is always gonna look better. So, if you're in a space, and it's that party, and the person wants you to go around and take shots of everybody, you know, having their arms around each other, maybe set up your little portrait booth or portrait area right next to the big soft window light. Say, oh come on over here I'll get your picture, and bring everybody that direction. If, you're saying, you know what its fine, I'm just gonna use flash on camera and overpower everything. You can do that, but it often looks flash on camera effect. So it usually ends up being hard light, the background sometimes will look too dark, cause you just tried to blast everything and overpower it. So, my recommendation is, pick one, move them towards the daylight if you can. Now, you absolutely can add a flash. But, we start getting into slightly more complicated things. Because, you have to start remembering, okay so if there's mixed, this one is blue, this one is yellow. Which one am I going to overpower. And then, I have to gel my flash to match the one I chose. Like, starts getting a little bit more complicated. So, my suggestion is, close the window or close the curtains if you're just gonna do tungsten, stick with that. Or turn off the overhead lights, or move them away from the overhead lights. Pick one, and try to stick with that. And, it looks much better. If you look, I couldn't turn off the overhead lights. So, she does have yellow on her hair. But, her skin looks great and that's much more important. Our brains are trained to remember certain colors, the sky is blue, grass is green. But, we also know when a skin tone is wrong. Even though there's a ton of different skin tones out there, when something is not right we know it. And so, mixed lighting situations is one that's gonna trigger our brains saying, this is not what it was supposed to look like.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Skin Tones Keynote

Ratings and Reviews

Amy Vaughn

The topic is too big to cover all the solutions in depth in such a short amount of time, but this seems like a great overview for beginners to understand the range of problems with making skin look good in photos. Lindsay does a great job of making her class topics easy to understand.

Frank Gutierrez

I just love Lindsay's work! It's so impressive; especially the sampling photos captured of the elderly gentleman. It brought all she taught throughout the video together seamlessly! I'm so going to watch this over and over again!


Great primer on skin tones, lighting, and considerations for different types of skin. One of the few teachers that discusses dark skin tones!

Student Work