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Thread: filters and portraiture

  1. #1

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    filters and portraiture

    Does anyone use yellow or orange filters when making portraits? I have a subject I'll be photographing and she has fair skin but freckles on her chest which I'd like to minimize. I was thinking of trying an orange filter with a factor of 3.
    Comments or experiences?
    chris

  2. #2

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    To learn what you prefer you may take Photoshop and make the BW conversion (Image->adjust->bw) from color while adjusting levels.

    What happens with real film is close to the Ps simulation.

  3. #3

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    Yep, orange is right. You may want to consider cyan lipstick for similar, but opposite reasons. Hair tones may change. Do a test series to evaluate what you like.

  4. #4

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    Hi!

    In the past, portraits recorded on panchromatic film with tungsten light
    were recommended with a green filter.
    I do not remember, however, about the real reasons for that, not sure it will minimize skin defects, on the contrary!

    This is what Leslie Strobel says:
    With tungsten illumination, panchromatic films tend to record blue (due to the film's high sensitivity to blue) and red (due to the high red contents of tungsten illumination) too light in terms of the print, so a light green filter, which absorbs some of these colors, serves as a correction filter. The red sensitivity of some panchromatic film has been increased during manufacture to increase the overall film speed. Use of the film without a filter, for portraiture, may result in unnatural skin tones.

    (View Camera Technique, 7-th edition, page 219)

    But the kind of light (natural light, tungsten or whichever other source) in use will command the effect of any colored filter.

    At the other extreme of the spectrum, I've seen an interesting demo of portraits with wet plates (wet collodion).
    Wet plates being sensitive only to blue (and UV) light, green, yellow or red filters will probably have little or even no effect in this case. The portraitist use big spiral fluorescent lights.

  5. #5

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    Emmanual, tunsten light is comparatively more yellow/orange than sunlight. Therefore, it's illumination of a scene will tend to render objects with those same hues -- in this case, skin with orange-ish freckles -- lighter than would the bluer daylight. An orange filter on the lens performs a similar function, passing more of this warm end of the visual spectrum than the cooler hues.
    Philip U.

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  6. #6

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    Some things I hadn't considered; stobes vs. tungsten for one. I'll be using strobes which are 5500K, if I want to separate the lips then use some sort of blue lipstick. Hair won't be an issue since it's dark. In the end I'll try some with the filter and some without. This project won't take place for a month or two so I have time to practice.
    What brought this whole thing up was this; in all my reading over the years of well known photos and photographers in the portrait field I can't really recall anything being said about the use of filters as a matter of standard use.

  7. #7
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: filters and portraiture

    In "The Print," Ansel Adams writes: "Filters may be helpful in altering flesh tones: a #8 [yellow] filter is sometimes useful, but there is the possibility of creating a pasty or milky skin tone and pale lips with panchromatic film, depending on the subject's complexion. The use of a greenish filter...will tend to give more vigorous flesh values, most noticeable in the lips and ruddy or sunburned skin." This is all for sunlight, so it would also apply to strobes.

  8. #8
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: filters and portraiture

    Oops, that was in "The Negative."

  9. #9

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    Iíve seen it stated in a book on film-based photography that red or orange filters can be used to lessen the appearance of skin Ďblemishesí, and yellow-green can be used to emphasise skin tone, and features. Unfortunately, I canít recall which book!Iíve used a yellow-green filter for that purpose, with studio flash, and it certainly gives a stronger tone to white skin. I once used orange, or possibly red, for portraits of my daughter. She was a teenager at the time, and had some marks on her skin. The filter effectively removed them, but the overall effect was of a very pale complexion. That was under natural light, and I didnít use any corrective makeup for lips. Perhaps you could experiment by shooting some 35mm or 120 film before going large? Lighting will, as always, affect the overall result from a particular film/filter combination.
    Alex


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  10. #10

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    Re: filters and portraiture

    I wonder why you want to diminish the freckles. They are a part of the subject, and many veryniceprotratis have been made emphasizing,not hiding, them

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