I'd try to simplify the film question first by noting how there are already deliberate choices in this dept.
Kodak offers Ektar 160, for example, as a low-contast wide-latitude film primarily engineered for skintones. At the other extreme is something like Ektar which has quite a bit more saturaton, a much
cleaner spectrum, but is perhaps not the best choice for people photography. I wouldn't try to fuss much with film development options per se. C41 is pretty locked in, though someone might know a tweak or two. Then when you come to papers you do still have a few basic choice between softer portrait papers and more contrasty commercial ones. Beyond that, one starts entering the realm of
advanced printing techniques which might scare off a beginner. If one wants to experiment with color
neg film without having to actually print it, I would strongly recommend at least a mid-quality scan by
a pro lab. Poor scanning is perhaps the single biggest factor in misinterpreting what these films are
actually capable of. Of course, it's even better to outright print your shots, but this requires enough
confidence to make the commitment. In some ways it's even easier an more affordable than black and
white printing, but do it well takes experience and good color vision.