Skintone Help - Anime Asia Festival Cosplay


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tanzl

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May 20, 2009
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#1
I always have this problem whenever I use my pop up flash (I cant afford to own an external flash yet) as fill light, the skintone color turns out to have a gray cast and get really muddy looking. Particularly the shadow, it looks a bit greenish and noisy which I hate a lot.

Is this caused by direct flash or improper exposure?
Here is some example you can refer to
The left photo is straight from raw , right photo is pp-ed



These photos were taken during anime asia festival recently.
Someone posted a series which I think the skintone is great.
http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=608290&highlight=anime
Please let me know what should I do so that I can get this kind of skintone (or avoid bad skintone).

Thank you.
 

JacePhoto

Senior Member
Oct 1, 2007
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#2
i think if you get anything out from RAW, it usually is muddy and uncontrast. You may also want to check yr white balance? You are shooting at places between natural and artificial light. The camera may not give you the right color balance.

Hope this helps.
 

tanzl

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May 20, 2009
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#3
Thanks jacephoto.
I left my white balance at auto actually thinking that I will be easier to fix using software because I on and off my flash. It would be troublesome for me if I keep changing my white balance.

Anyway, actually I did fixed the white balance for the left photo in software, maybe I should not put it as "original", sorry.
In the series taken by DIGdub, the skintone is obviously a lot more natural and brighter.
How can I achieve that?
 

IsenGrim

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Jan 28, 2008
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#4
basically, your on camera flash is not churning out enough power. Im not sure if its the camera limiting the flash's power or the flash is at its limit.

if its the former, just dial up the flash power to +1ev or so. i think +1&1/3 should be ok. that will "correctly" expose your subject.

if its the latter, its probably because the strong background light and your on camera flash cant produce enough power to match the background. den this one no cure. have to get external flash. 2nd hand 430ex or 2nd hand sb600 or a 3rd party flash like nissin or sunblitz works. if you're new to flash, be sure to get 1 that supports ETTL for your own convenience.

alternatively, if its possible ask them to pose towards the light, then you can catch the magical "window light" but i guess thats not easy to do hahah.

OR! you can help to make your flash work harder for you by opening up your aperture, upping your iso and increasing your shutter speed to sync speed which is between 1/125~1/500 depending on camera
 

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tanzl

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May 20, 2009
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#5
Thanks IsenGrim for your advice. So the problem is improper exposure.

My pop up flash was at its max power and aperture wide open. :bsmilie:
The stupid mistake I did was I insist to use ISO100.

I was using manual mode actually (flash power). I dont like TTL because it doesnt give me a consistent result. I am new to flash photography, is that the right way to do?

Regarding the back-lighting thingy, almost all the cosplayers are facing inside and an army of photographers were taking their pictures facing light. I guess this is the problem, every photographers there knew it is not a good position but nobody dare to speak it out (including me) because everyone thinks it would annoyed others :sweat:. Anyway, if the cosplayers were facing the light, it would caused other problem as well such as distracting background with elevators and crowds. No perfect solution I guess.
 

tanzl

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May 20, 2009
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#8
For pop-up flash, shoot in raw to tweak the WB.
If not, try using a pop-up diffuser to diffuse the lights. It may help a little.
Yea. I did that. All WB tweaked in ARC.

it looks like that because the faces are all underexposed. and your light only makes the lighting even flatter.
So there is nothing I can do except for getting an external flash?
 

flipfreak

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Nov 26, 2007
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#9
So there is nothing I can do except for getting an external flash?
pretty much gone case since it was not captured properly to begin with. u can meddle with it in photoshop but i don't see a need since its too much work for a normal looking shot unless u wanna practice your photoshop skills.

even with a more powerful flash, u need to use the light to enhance your subject's face. poor usage will just give a crappy image again. learn to use the ambient light if u do not want to invest in a flashgun.
 

tanzl

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May 20, 2009
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#10
pretty much gone case since it was not captured properly to begin with. u can meddle with it in photoshop but i don't see a need since its too much work for a normal looking shot unless u wanna practice your photoshop skills.

even with a more powerful flash, u need to use the light to enhance your subject's face. poor usage will just give a crappy image again. learn to use the ambient light if u do not want to invest in a flashgun.
Thanks. I will practise more in the future.
 

IsenGrim

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Jan 28, 2008
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#12
Yea. I did that. All WB tweaked in ARC.



So there is nothing I can do except for getting an external flash?
eh, or you can dont use flash altogether. theres someone posted his pictures in aother section. he didn't use flash at all. just ambient.

result is that the background is over exposed but since this is something happy and such, it looks better than "correctly" exposed background. he most probably used spot metering on the subject's face.

eventually, its not what you did right or wrong, nor getting the "correct" setting/exposure. its the final image that counts. techniques only help you achieve the final image. then again, there is another school saying "get the correct exposure for the most data as there isn't a 2nd chance to shoot. then PP your desired image from there". Im quite bad at explaining this concept hahaha. maybe someone else can help...
 

tanzl

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May 20, 2009
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#13
eh, or you can dont use flash altogether. theres someone posted his pictures in aother section. he didn't use flash at all. just ambient.

result is that the background is over exposed but since this is something happy and such, it looks better than "correctly" exposed background. he most probably used spot metering on the subject's face.

eventually, its not what you did right or wrong, nor getting the "correct" setting/exposure. its the final image that counts. techniques only help you achieve the final image. then again, there is another school saying "get the correct exposure for the most data as there isn't a 2nd chance to shoot. then PP your desired image from there". Im quite bad at explaining this concept hahaha. maybe someone else can help...
Thanks for your sharing.

I took a look at the post you mentioned. It works very well with bright color scene :D.
But can actually see a lot of noise in shadow area. Anyway, I have learnt a lesson, overexpose is better than underexpose. Shadow gets really really bad when it is underexposed. Will try to avoid this mistake next time.
 

nixontkl

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Nov 12, 2007
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#14
your prob is more or less under expose. try bumping the ISO up. current DSLR can easily handle up to ISO 400 without much noise. if u are using D90 or 500D, ISO 1600 u still get little or no noise if u expose correctly.

dont be so afraid of pushing the ISO, dont think that ISO 100 being the lowest in most DSLR = no noise or low noise

lower ISO = lower noise BUT if your pic is under expose even ISO 100 will have noise and very bad noise. dont believe u go try get a friend to pose for u under the same condition u experiance at AFA and u shoot with a fix F and spd and just step the ISO from 100 thru to 1600 and see for yourself.
 

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tanzl

New Member
May 20, 2009
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#16
your prob is more or less under expose. try bumping the ISO up. current DSLR can easily handle up to ISO 400 without much noise. if u are using D90 or 500D, ISO 1600 u still get little or no noise if u expose correctly.

dont be so afraid of pushing the ISO, dont think that ISO 100 being the lowest in most DSLR = no noise or low noise

lower ISO = lower noise BUT if your pic is under expose even ISO 100 will have noise and very bad noise. dont believe u go try get a friend to pose for u under the same condition u experiance at AFA and u shoot with a fix F and spd and just step the ISO from 100 thru to 1600 and see for yourself.
Got it. I will do the experiment. Thanks.

shoot in full manual, tweak tweak till u get the effect u want.
I was shooting in manual mode.
 

CamInit

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Nov 3, 2009
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#18
Had the same problem while trying to shoot ambient with my noob effort. The backlighting from the sun at times really strong. End up spot meter on face or costume and let the background blown to hell. Personally, don't mind since the background is already "unclean" (bags strewn about, people sitting or walking around). The overexposed background is sometimes actually "cleaner" than any OOF effort I can managed. ;p With the wall of photographers jostling everywhere, important thing is to capture the subject first.
:sweat:
 

aspenx

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Aug 10, 2008
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#19
For such events (although I didn't go this year), I use manual mode and fix the shutter speed first since I don't want motion blur. Then I pump ISO to highest acceptable noise level. Then I play with my aperture and usually set at f/2.8 or f/4. For the rest, I let my flash do the job in matrix (evaluative) metering mode on the body through iTTL.

Check your shots after that and adjust accordingly, mainly flash compensation or aperture only. This method should work even for built-in flash too.
 

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