photographing darker skin...suggestions?

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Joined: 05/10/07
Posts: 427
photographing darker skin...suggestions?

I'm doing pictures for a friend of mine and her family (2 adults, 2 small kids) on sunday. we're doing it after our church service. they're dark skinned. any tips on how make sure they're not grossly under exposed? There are some windows that i will be taking advantage of but i know she wants a few pics inside the sanctuary...high ceiling, not much to bounce a flash off. Any suggestions??

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I would spot meter off their skin if that is what you want to properly expose. The meter is designed to properly expose 18% gray. Very pale caucasian skin is about 2/3 of a stop lighter than that so it should be over-exposed by 2/3 of a stop. So depending on how dark their skin tone is I would either meter right in the middle or just slightly under.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I've shot dark skin a few times before and it is a challenge (at least for me). It is usually in studio, so I don't meter off of anything. I would meter off of skin, just like you would anyone else.

Good luck!

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

when I took pictures inside the church at the wedding, I pointed my speedlight up, ISO 400, AP 4, and SS 1/30 and all of the pictures were perfectly exposed. our family tends towards olive tones in the skin.