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  1. #1

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    Film for black skin

    What color film do you prefer for portraits of people with black skin? I can choose Kodak Ektar or Kodak Portra.

  2. #2

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    I realize this comment might not be as helpful as it could be, but I understand that Kodak markets (or perhaps used to market) a color print film in India that was especially designed for better portraits of people with dark skin.

  3. #3
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    The Portra will do better with human subjects. Ektar IMO is a bit garish for human subjects, much more suited for landscapes, flowers, etc. Dark or light skin isn't an issue with film so much as how the film renders natural tones, if thats what you seek. Films with vivid color palettes such as Ektar or Velvia will tend to make people look magenta, purple, etc.

  4. #4

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    I know it is not in your choices, but Fuji slide film is great for black skins, better than kodak even if I prefer Kodak for most applications.

    I used successufully 400X on balck skins, and saw some great shots on Astia or Provia.

    my 2 cents

  5. #5

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    Films with vivid color palettes such as Ektar or Velvia will tend to make people look magenta, purple, etc.
    But I think it doesn't matter for black skin. Can you show me "bad" picture with vivid color and black man?

  6. #6
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    I've photographed black people on a number of color neg films and thought they all worked fine, with the portrait oriented films like Portra and Fuji's pro color portrait films being the best compared to amatuer films and pro films made for vivid color.

    The important thing is MAKE SURE YOU DON'T UNDEREXPOSE. Black people's skin, especially the darker complected ones, falls near the toe of a negative film's tonal curve, ANY underexposure destroys the skin tone. I usually give a stop of overexposure to ensure good detail and tone in the skin (I mean a stop over the normal exposure you'd give. Black people's skin ranges from zone III to IV depending on the person's complexion..so place it on zone IV or V). Color neg film can take a little overexposure and it keeps you from getting crappy skintone, which is easy to do with dark skinned people if you are not careful due to the lack of underexposure latitude at the tonal value their skin normally falls on.



    Ok, I shot this on Panatomic X when I was in high school 16 yrs ago (she's a medical researcher specializing in epidemic disease now!), but the same exposure principles applied. One of my favorite portraits, and hers too. She still has her print of it framed on her living room wall
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  7. #7

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    chriscrawfordphoto, is it overexposed picture?

  8. #8
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Posted wirelessly..

    Not so much the film as placement of the values. Place the skin on Zone IV for normal dark skin, Zone V for lighter.
    Last edited by Christopher Walrath; 05-24-2010 at 07:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  9. #9

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    More recently I had a job for a clothing store, one of the models chosen was very dark. To make sure that I got good detail in her skin tones and it smoothed out her complexion a good amount, I exposed her between 6/10ths and 1 stop above what I metered on Fuji 160s.
    M. David Farrell, Jr.

    ----------------------------------------------
    ~Buying a Nikon doesn not make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner!

    ~Everybody has a photographic memory, but not everybody has film!

  10. #10
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    So what do you do if you want to make a portrait of two people of completely different complexion? One dark and one bright?

    Shouldn't you treat skin tone the same regardless of complexion? Help me understand why that wouldn't be a good question.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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