How to avoid wrinkles and coarse skin pore texture?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by melandkeifspics, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Hello... Me again... I've got a question regarding shooting brides with natural, window light. The image I have uploaded was of a bride standing in front of a window on an overcast day. It's a tight shot with a 70-200mm, but it's sharp enough that I can see every detail of her skin. I know you can smooth it in PP, but could there have been something I could have done to avoid seeing so much skin detail? Would adding extra light in the form of a reflector or flash have helped? If so, where would you have positioned it? Keep in mind that I'm looking for a quick solution due to the nature of a wedding.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. There's a lens filter called a Diffuser, works like a charm. Also, certain cameras (I think the Olympus OM-D does it) have a special portrait enhancement mode that automatically diminishes lines and such.
     
  3. There's a lot of difusing filters on the market and you can waste a lot of money. For many years now I've stayed with the "Softar 1," filter. This helps a lot.
    I also change some settings in Bridge. In most cases this is all I have to do. If you do too much the image can look like it was a painting or something.
    In BRIDGE this adjustment looks a lot better, however I didn't use bridge in this. This took about 1 minute and yes I went a bit too far with Adobe filter. The skin is a bit too soft, however the teeth and lips remain sharp. You can also adjust the earings and make them sharp.
    In Bridge I try to make skin tones look like film. Not the digital look.
    00c2EF-542822284.jpg
     
  4. Patrick, can you show some example shots using the diffuser filter? I have to be honest - a google image search did not show impressive results. Most of the examples look like my foggy vision after swimming with my contacts in.
     
  5. I select ALL and set the bridge adjustments for every print. Again, this was done as a jpeg. In Bridge this is just a one click commend and it looks a lot better then what I posted.
     
  6. Patrick, can you show some example shots using the diffuser filter? I have to be honest - a google image search did not show impressive results. Most of the examples look like my foggy vision after swimming with my contacts in.
     
  7. James, this image below was done with the "Softar 1," filter and adjusting the Bridge settings to look like the film days. I hate retouching and with this system I can edit a wedding in or about 1 hour. (in most cases) Hope this helps.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Thanks Bob, that looks much better than the google search images!
     
  9. Hey James, thanks glad you like it. Email me if you need to know how to set the Bridge settings. They can vary a little depending on the wedding.
     
  10. The best you can do is add soft diffused lighting. Using softening programs like portraiture 2 works very nicely. You don't want it overly soft as someone has posted above, that looks horrible. Anyways everyones skin is different and some have good skin and don't require any treatment. When you use good lenses and shoot close ups you get exactly what you see. Large soft light sources is the best you can do in camera without degrading the lens with softars or netting.
     
  11. There'ssome example info here and more here
     
  12. If your shooting a wedding then you should be only shooting Raw images. Therefore all your images will require editing. Buy Lightroom and set up a preset to soften your images while still retaining detail there are plenty out there or invest in a complete pre-set system light SLR Lounge pre-set system. You will find Lightroom will also help in keeping all your images organised as well as rating them along with many more features.
     
  13. I agree with Bob the softtar 1 is great if you know in advance you want it that way.
    The method in bridge can be a hybrid of soft and sharp. open the file with normal processing.
    go back to bridge and place the same file on top of itself it ill give you chance to change settings before it places. remove all the sharpening and move the clarity slider to left. click place or open whatever the button says it will make softer layer on top. press your opt or alt key and make a layer mask. it should be black if not click on mask cntrl or cmd i should make it black. use paint brush set to white i use 30 percent opacity sometimes higher, too impatient for more than 3 stokes. paint area you want to soften.
     
  14. Gup

    Gup Gup

    I have a Softar I and a II, but really didn't use the II that often. I also only used them during my film days on my Hasselblad. I have never tried to 'fit' one to a Nikon digital but now am thinking I might give it a try. At any rate, the Softars work very well.
    00c2L5-542838384.jpg
     
  15. So there's nothing I could have done lighting wise on location that could have disguised the pores and wrinkle lines? I was wondering if having her turn more would have helped? Then again, the window light was diffused already and they way the room was setup wouldn't have allowed me to shoot from any other angle. I was just wondering if there was a lighting or posing technique. I guess the only thing all of you are saying is to do skin softening in post production. Thanks!
     
  16. A big softbox above the face and a big white reflector below creates the "Miss American" portrait look. I don't care for it. Plus, even the softest, most flattering light on a human face will reveal details. Here is a technique I use sometimes...
    1. Duplicate layer
    2. Lighten the layer using curves or levels - experiment with how much
    3. Apply gaussian blur to the layer - experiment with how much
    4. Reduce the opacity of the layer to taste, maybe to 25% or so
    You can build an action to do this.
    Here is an example on a portrait of my wife. It took about 90 seconds to complete...
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Keif wrote "guess the only thing all of you are saying is to do skin softening in post production. Thanks!"

    Not everyone! Use this Softar 1 filter!
     
  18. Oh yeah, sorry, Bob. Didn't want to leave you out. Cheers.
     
  19. What you have here is a perfect storm of mistakes.
    Terrible make-up job, shot in bad light, using the wrong lens, and then underexposed/dirty on top of it all.
    It happens.
    The trouble with filters like the Softar is that it often works for one image, and not the next ... and when it doesn't work you can't reverse the effect.
    When possible, note when the make-up needs some touch-up. As the day goes on people with greasy skin get greasier looking. Shiny skin tends to produce even larger "hot spots" with diffused edge detail when using a diffusion filter, and still needs attention in post. Some noted wedding shooters carry a pad to blot up grease ... I tend to ask one of the Bridesmaids to attend to it.
    If you are posing a subject there is no excuse for poor lighting ... however, "of the moment" type shots aren't always in the best lighting situations. Some available light, candid photographers like Jeff Ascough position themselves where the light is best, and wait for the subjects to turn or move into it.
    Post solutions are often grossly over-done, producing skin tones not found in nature. It simply requires skill ... there are no automatic solutions that work every time in every situation. One of the best post programs I've used so far is OnOne's Photo Tools which has an excellent set of skin retouching tools that produce a layer in PS so you can erase the effect in areas where you want to keep the specular crispness ... like hair, teeth, lips and eyes ... or use the layer pallet to lessen the effect of the over-all layer. That said, it still often requires use of the Patch Tool in PS to deal with stubborn areas ... the difference between the patch tool and clone stamp is that the patch tool retains subtile skin texture better.
    IMO, you are asking for trouble by using a 70-200 to do portraits ... it ISN"T a portrait lens! Canon's 50/1.2, 85/1.8, 85/1.2 and 100/2 are. Nikon's 85/1.4 and 105DC or 135DC are. Sony's new ZA50/1.4 and their ZA85/1.4 or ZA135/1.8 are. Portrait lenses are perfect, perfect lenses aren't. Many older "flawed" lenses are better suited to romantic and flattering looking portraits ... lens aberrations are why the Zeiss 110/2FE MF lens is so prized by many portrait shooters ... and many have adapted that MF lens to use on their 35mm Canon or Nikon DSLRs.
    Anyway, here's a recent example of a fast grab shot where the light was okay and I went for it. The 30 something bride did her own make-up and it was decent ... but her skin was a bit greasy in the 90 degree weather, and the pores were too visible in outdoor light (which is really revealing light usually). Fortunately the light direction helped, but I still had to do a little work using the OnOne skin tools ... then lessened the layer so some skin texture still showed through ... not sure it'll show that in this tiny 700 pixel upload as this was retouched for a 17 X 22 print ... final size DOES make a difference).
    - Marc
    00c2Op-542844184.jpg
     
  20. I am another who uses the Softar. I thank Bob and Nadine, our recently deceased moderator, for that tip. A good mua is invaluable. Lighting, large diffused near camera axis. The further off camera axis, the more skin detail is brought out. As Marc says, there are examples out there, including the ad for one editing program, that turns the skin to plastic, not a pore in sight. Good for space men but not for earthlings. If there are large blemishes, don't try to eradicate them and soften skin in one application of blur or what ever softening program. Skin has texture and on the face it varies from one area to the next. I edit blemishes, then wrinkles on separate layers. Then soften skin painting in on a black mask in each area as needed, still retaining texture. Mark is right about lens selection. I am a 85/135 dc/50 user in that order. 85 for 1 or 2 up to torsos, often on the fly, limited space. My choice for head shots, 135 dc. Remember when you open up and have a shallow dof, say a quarter inch, what do you think happens to the skin out of focus? It is softened. Same for highlight and shadow edge transfer also softened. For my vision, all good.
     
  21. Marc said:
    I've used so far is OnOne's Photo Tools which has an excellent set of skin retouching tools that produce a layer in PS so you can erase the effect in areas where you want to keep the specular crispnes​
    I was thinking of buying the onOne's software suite upon its upcoming new release. Have you (or, anyone else here) had a chance to compare onOne's Perfect Portrait 2 with Imagenomic's Portraiture?
     
  22. Lot's and lots of photographers get that stinky glare off of the faces from the oily skin when using a flash, even when bouncing the light. I worked and worked on an idea I thought of while I was taking classes at California Institute of Technology. I shoot with quantum flash units and with a dome. What I did was paint, using white nail polish, to the center of the dome which makes the light spread around more and it really helps prevent reflections, glare off of the faces of the brides and others. Kind of cool for sure. It really does wonders about 90 percent of the time. By the way I only use the SOFTAR 1 filter for close-ups not full length. Long story short see if all of you can modify your flash units to prevent relections.
    00c2YG-542857584.jpg
     
  23. Hehe! I just noticed the rubber band around the flash unit. I guess when a flash unit is held together with tape and rubber bands it's time to be sevice! The flash took a beating this season. I'm glad I have 3 quantums!
     
  24. I'm posting this because of the Mr. Kief asking about wrinkes. Remember this rule if you wish. Always us a flash when photograhing older folks.This really works very well hiding all of he wrinkes. With a SOFTAR 1 filter you won't need to do any post processing, but you should be a 1/2 stop over exposed.

    Quantum is a pretty good company. Not great. By far I like the White Lighting units and their amazing inexpensive service. My only complaint with Quantum is if you want the flash back in a week for repairs, well their service is very fast. You pay for it though. You have to ship stuff over night and you then get it back in 1 week. I have a problem with that. If you send in your gear by ground mail, well you won't see the repairs come in for a month to 6 weeks. And yes, you have to pay for the shipping when they return your fixed gear within that one week. Shipping fees alone expect around $100 for the one day shipping. Then you have to pay for the upgrades, the parts, and the labor. This can add up fast. Something like $600 per unit. They also tell you to send in your batteries and your cords and see if the batteres are not charging to full power and their other trick is you need to change the bulb, because the bulb doesn't hold its true color. I'm sending in 3 units tomorrow and perhaps a total of $1500. That total bill will burn.

    They do a very good job, the gear is like new, actually better then new, because of upgrading the software and often replacing the circuit boards. It's crossed my mind wondering if it would be wise to spend another $150 for a new flash unit. New units are about $750 or so. That was 5 years ago! I'm sure they are around $9,000,00 now.

    I've decided to post this in case people may want to change flash units. I've shot with pretty much every flash unit, Canon, Sunpak, Nikon, my personal favorite the Metz 60 CL , Vivitar 283, Normans, the Hasselblad flash, I hated that and returned it and a mess of other major and off brand units.

    Well I'm very happy with Quantums. Their 400 watt power rating is pretty much, at least double the power of any flash on the market, I've shot it at 60 feet away from the subject, on full power and the images were just fine! My test was at a church using a 70 to 200 f 28 and a 30th of a second.

    My strong feeling is buy one or 2 if you aren't happy with your pesent flash. Just one wedding pays for the flash.
     
  25. It looks like $ 1000 for one Q kit that includes turbo battery.
    I don't have one but have never heard a bad word about them. you can do a lot with 400 watt seconds. That should match the sun up to about 10 feet.
     
  26. I think we are drifting away from the original question that is about seeing too much unflattering skin texture with sharp lenses. Using a quantum flash is not the answer. Using a large soft light source complemented with a diffuser filter and followed up by post retouching or similar software of choice will best resolve the problem. The best solution is don't take such close pictures to begin with. Nobody wants to see there face that close.
     
  27. FYI, if anyone is looking for a quantum type bare-bulb type flash also look at the new Cheetah Brand offerings ... lots of pro wedding shooters are switching over to them. 2 versions: 153W/s and 300W/s.
    I have a half dome modifier that was made with a center spot, and another with a 2.5" grid in the middle. However, the light source is still too small to be of much help with greasy skin hot spots ... a larger beauty dish with the center reflector works a bit better ... hence the name "Beauty Dish"
    Not sure I'd employ a large soft lighting solution with a diffusion filter ... you can get too soft looking also. Thing is, you want the eyes, lashes, eyebrows and some detail in the hair or sometimes ear-rings etc. to be sharp.
    As to not shooting close-ups as a solution, I'm not into rules, there are already to many rules ... you just never know what might work ... the attached image of the same Bride I showed above was shot with one of the sharpest lenses on the planet (Leica CS120/2.5 ASPH on a MFD Leica S2) ... and just post processed to deal with the skin ... Bride liked it enough to buy an 11" X 14" to frame. Ya just never know : -)
    - Marc
    00c2hs-542876184.jpg
     
  28. Your brides skin seems a bit younger and less coarse than the OP's picture and that makes a big difference. No rules here Marc, just know when an extreme close up is necessary and if it is... then one has to know how to retouch plain and simple. You made it work with your knowledge of retouching and post processing. Nice job!! There is no easy fix for quality work.
    I am not in to diffuser filters myself but if it works for others then so be it. I am about lighting the subject in the most flattering way to minimize less than perfect skin. The best way to do that in my opinion and is no rule, is to use large light (one or more lights) soft box, beauty dish, para ect. and shoot direct to remove texture. Texture is created by light hitting the subject from any angle other than camera axis thus creates shadows which creates texture. Take away shadows and you take away texture and then it is much easier to follow up with retouching.
    If you take a minute first to look how the light is hitting the subject you can then make a better choice to how to create a more flattering picture. Just because it is window light does not mean it will look great. Do a few shots with your subject at different angles to the the light to see what looks best.
     
  29. Not quite Michael. That Bride was 37 years old and had two children. (See the attached original image straight from the RAW file).
    I "Artified" the shot in terms of coloration to match other's in a series, but the skin was done using OnOne's automatic skin softener on a layer over the original, and then I erased around the eyes, eybrows and parts of the flowers ... any stubborn parts were taken care of using the patch tool. The finished product shown above isn't quite that smooth ... jpeg reduction to 700 pixels has lost some of the skin detail.
    Totally agree regarding paying attention to lighting while shooting and should be the number one solution ... however, sometimes harsher lighting is a fact of life.
    00c2iL-542876584.jpg
     
  30. Your right!!! I did say good job on the retouching right?
     
  31. I was just responding to the notion that the bride was younger than the OP's sample ... I DO appreciate the compliment very much because it does take some time to learn how to retouch skin texture and wrinkles ... and then get quick enough at it to do wedding pics (as opposed to portraits which involve smaller quantities in need of attention).
    What is harder to deal with is larger blown-out hot spots on greasy foreheads, noses and cheeks. No software I know of can fill those in for you and retain skin texture, and a diffusion filter will just make it a soft blown-out hot spot.
    So, again, you are 100% right ... lighting is the solution ... and I haven't found a short cut or easy way to do that. Hot spots and high-contrast skin texture is usually from using a small specular light source like a speed-light as opposed to a larger well diffused light source. The former is lazy, and the latter is less convenient.
    - Marc
     
  32. Marc, nice photo. Nice retouching - It's hard to do this and make it look so clean and not that spotted look you can get with retouching.

    Needless to say the bride would have an easy choice to make. The before shot or the after shot.

    I have to say that the SOFTAR 1 is not a fix all answer, nor is a the round Quantum dome. There's really nothing better then a good retoucher when you are shooting as close as Marc did.

    This filter doesn't make the brides look too soft. This is why I like this filter better then any on the market. The cost of this filter is about $275, depending on the size of your lens ring. For example I use mainly the 72 mm ring size on the lenses I have. Anyway, it's a "forgiving,," lens, The lens is wonderful for close ups. From above the waste area and up. Not the really close up range that Marc did so well. When you are shooting this close pretty much everyone needs to be retouched. Actually everyone.

    I shot a few Playboy Bunny's a very short time ago.No nudes. As perfect as their skin is retouching is a must when you are as close as Marc's shots.

    As far as close up work I use the rule of thirds. Full length would be 3/3rds, the 2/3rds mark would be just below the knees to just below the waste line, and lastly the 1/3rd mark is above the hips. The rule of thirds is not my rule. It is talked about in the very good portrait books. So long story short a close up image for me is that 1/3 mark. Not shooting just the face. So I used the wrong word for close up work. I should have talked about the rule of thirds first.

    Again, the softar filter 1 works great using the 1/3 rule, which I referred to as close up's. Sincr there are differences in what close ups mean to people, for me the posted picture is more like a macro look.

    Hope this clears up a few problems.
     
  33. I noted something while watching TV last night.
    There was a make-up commercial for L'Oreal Paris that depicted perfect skin ... even in macro views. It was very apparent that it was all accomplished with lighting. Filters were not employed because the details revealed no diffusion or lessening of acuity. Post work is not an option because in motion work, it would require rotoscoping the effect for every frame @ 30 frames a second for 20 to 30 seconds ... at an ungodly cost (I know this because my main profession was in creating and producing commercial TV advertisements).
    Lighting is the way forward. An option only for the driven and industrious, not the lazy looking for convenience and comfort.
    - Marc
     
  34. I have been thinking about this issue as well the last couple of days. No gadgets or filters are used for quality images because this makes more problems during retouching. To minimize wrinkles which are really shadows in an image you need to use large diffused lighting aimed directly at subject from camera axis. I like to use two 60inch umbrellas on either side of camera or two strip lights. When you don't have flash and are shooting available make sure the lighting in coming from directly behind you and the subject is positioned directly into the light.
     
  35. A few things reduce detail...............
    Shooting lens wide open to REDUCE fine detail...
    Shooting farther away...
    Shooting with more diffuse light...and changing your/the subject's angle relative to the light source (just like reflections and specular highlights show more at one angle than another)...
    A good makeup artist (as one should have on their wedding day most times)...
     

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