Will a yellow filter lighten skin tone?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ymc226, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Many of my family vacation pictures are on or near the beach with sunny skies which I would like to improve contrast of the clouds with either a yellow or orange filter. I also find that without a filter, the skin tones are usually darker than what I prefer. Would a yellow filter lighten the skin tones?
     
  2. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Yellow will very slightly darken the sky. Won't do much for skin tones. Mostly affects blue, but not by much.

    As far as skin tones, I'd apply exposure compensation. Skin tones shouldn't be 18% gray, which is what your meter wants to average it's metering zone to.

    A stop in either direction (for white or black people, for example) should do it, but you may need more. Or maybe add more contrast during printing. Bracket your exposures.
     
  3. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    Thanks, I do set exposure a stop more to get the skin tones lighter but I don't want the sand or sky to be too light either. That is why the interest in filters. Would an orange filter make a bigger impact on skin tones?
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I was once told a Y/Green was best for Caucasian skin on pan film but it would be prudent to check the sensitivity of your favorite films.

    Red sensitivity will obviously play a role for caucasion skintone.
     
  5. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Filters do not lighten colors; they darken colors.

    Yellow, being "minus blue", will darken blue while leaving red and green unchanged.

    There may be some overall darkening due to inherent neutral density of the filter, but that's not color-dependent. This is the reason for compensating exposure by the "filter factor".

    - Leigh
     
  6. Stephen Benskin

    Stephen Benskin Member

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    Yellow will lighten Caucasian skin tone slightly. I personally like what an orange does with skin tone. With red, the lips tend to disappear. The reason why it will lighten is because of the filter factor. Green filters were popular when photographing men. It gave them a bronze skin tone. It's not good with women because it shows every flaw.

    Check out the color triangle.

    With B&W motion pictures they would adjust the make-up to compensate for any filter they were using. If you want to washed out skin tones with a red filter, use green lipstick.
     
  7. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Polarizer and or a orange green filter
     
  8. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I routinely use a #8 yellow filter when shooting at the beach, mostly to give a more "normal" rendering of tones. There's a lot of blue light flying around on a sunny beach, and the filter helps darken skies and water and cuts haze. I don't worry too much about the "lightness" of skin in these situations. Proper exposure and development get them where they need to be. Adding a polarizer will further reduce glare from water and sand, but I think it tends to flatten skin tones. Skin has some specular qualities that a polarizer might remove.

    Best of all, try a couple of filters, take notes, and see what works best for you.

    Peter Gomena
     
  9. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    A filter will pass light of its own color. This is the 11th commandment right up there with expose for shadows and develop for highlights.

    Blue, being opposite of yellow, is darkened.

    The darker the yellow, the narrower the range of yellows it will pass. But they never really eliminate other colors, just darken them.

    To get to your question, it depends on the film. Caucasion skin, if not suntanned, has a yellow/red component. So it eliminates "some" of the excess blue many panchromatic films are sensitive to. Tri X falls here. T Max is more red sensitive, ie more true panchromatic, and a yellow filter will have more of an effect. In neither case is it dramatic.

    If you want excessive skin lightening, use an orange, light red, red #25, or red #29 , or infrared film with ir filter and you get progressively lighter skin. Again depends on the film.

    http://www.fineart-photography.com/bwfilter.html

    Notice what it says on green.




    http://www.ephotozine.com/article/using-coloured-filters-with-black---white-film-4828
     
  10. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    X(0) Yellow-Green and X(1) Green Filters for Portraiture

    The most appropriate filter with respect to the question asked in post #1 is either the yellow-green X(0) or the X(1) green filter.

    Here a couple of samples images: no filter, X(0), and X(1).

    http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/cf-09.html

    In daylight, the yellow-green X(0) requires an exposure increase of 1 stop, while the green X(1) requires 2 stops.

    Unfortunately, the Hoya site fails to show the effect on a blue sky. The effect on the image is to darken a blue sky to various degrees, but not quite the same as a yellow filter, and to make green foliage look lighter than otherwise.
     
  11. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Depends on the specific film and complexion involved. For outdoor portraiture with TMax 100, for example, I like to carry along a light yellow-green filter. I will darken the sky a bit better, and not make
    light complexion look paste-like, like an orange filter would. However, a bit of green will accentuate
    freckles or zits or things like that. My favorite filter for this is Hoya XO.
     
  12. CBG

    CBG Member

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    All true, until one applies a filter factor and adds exposure to compensate for the darkness of the filter. Once one adds the exposure compensation, the subject areas of the same color as the filter will lighten, neutrals will be largely unchanged, and sbject areas opposite to the color of the filter will be darkened.

    The filter factor has to compensate for more than just the - usually - very slight built in neutral density. The manufacturer's recommended filter factor is always a compromise that attempts to retain the relative brightness of neutral surfaces.

    For example with, say, a strong red filter, it takes quite a bit of exposure to bump a middle gray back to middle gray, since one has lost almost all the blues and greens, and absent exposure compensation, neutrals will be dramatically darkened.

    The recommended factor is not an exact science since the color of the light incedent on the subject and the spectral sensitivity of the film all would ideally be part of the factor, and the filter manufaturer cannot anticipate all film choices and lighting conditions.
     
  13. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Something else to remember about a yellow, orange, or red filter in sunlight - whatever is not lit directly by the sun (in the shade, or shaded by objects, like the bigger person next to them) will be illuminated by the blue sky only (sometimes called "open shade" if nothing obstructs the object from the sky) and so the skin tones, lit by the blue-influenced illuminating light, may be a bit darker (or "dirtier") than might be expected with these warmer color filters. A fine point, granted, but something to consider.
     
  14. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member

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    Good info I'v been asking this question also Thanks.
     
  15. williamkazak

    williamkazak Member

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  16. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    A yellow-Green filter is the traditional answer, and one which I have never tried, oops.

    If you decide to go in the direction of yellow or orange, remember that the vaguely-yellow sand may be lightened too. Also anything that reduces the dominance of blue light, during cloudless beach visits, will relatively darken the shadows across a face, under a beach-umbrella etc. etc. Of course, that is because the shadows of a direct sun are filled-in naturally by the blue sky. In the right place, a white beach towel held in the sunlight can make a good fill-in reflector under a beach-umbrella or wide hat.
     
  17. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Yellow-Green Filter is all you need for the skin tones.
     
  18. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    The amount of blue in shadows is dependent on % of the sky that is blue, the only sure way is a colour temperature meter... It only takes a few white clouds to turn the shadows 'white', or the sun to go behind a cloud, for the filters effect to change some what.
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  20. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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  21. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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  22. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    A yellow filter is a good idea. It protects the lens and make the scene look more natural by eliminating some of the blue light. A yellow-green filter (#11) will do much the same thing, but will have somewhat greater effect. It will lighten skin a bit, but not much. An orange filter (#15) will have even greater effect and will noticeably lighten and smooth skin tones. If you have all three, experiment.
     
  23. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    Yellow passes from about 85% of yellow-green up to about 91% of red without applying the factor. The skin tones whould be separated more from blue areas when the factor is applied. But, given that your at the beach, the sand will likely come in lighter, also, which my not be desired.