Will a yellow filter lighten skin tone?
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?
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.
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?
Originally Posted by brofkand
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.
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".
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato
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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.
Polarizer and or a orange green filter
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.
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.
Notice what it says on green.
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).
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.