Playboy golden lighting perfect skin

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by lroy, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. I shoot with a Canon 10D and a 70-200 Canon L series. I have a few
    Opus studio flash and there is no way i can get the skin look we see
    in Playboy. First i thought it was a make up, but the whole body is
    golden. I tryed a few photoshop filters and it's impossible to get
    the golden look. Does anybody know how to do it?
  2. photoshop, gold reflector/gold softbox, blond.
  3. Lots of time laying in a tanning bed or on a beach if you ask me.

    Give your models a bottle of self tanning lotion (I'm not being sarcastic either). Works for David Hasselhoff.
  4. Louis, just wondering if you want to post a shot that you wanted to photoshop into looking like that, i can give it a try. though i agree it's probably a lot of tanning and lighting that achieves this look in the first place
  5. Basically that look is very good makeup (there's makeup on more than just the face), with a model that has a nice tan, and some very good re-touching. Maybe a slight warming filter, but that's not a big factor. The lighting here isn't too complicated, rim lighting on each side (can be challanging to setup until you're used to it), and the key light looks like a ring flash.

  6. thier is a diferance in makeup. one for studio and the other is for theater. I cant tell you the brands but I just now thiers a deferance. when doing these kind of photo you can get a Makeup Artist (MAU) to do time for prints (TFP) to work with you.
  7. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Probably makeup done by a good MUA. You can get body makeup to provide just about any darkness and color tone you want depending on how it's applied.
  8. They use gels as written in American Photo (the guy says that uses 30 lamps...). You can use gold amber gel made by Lee. Here you have an example of strong filtration but lot of shades are available (but I am not sure if it is perfect gold for you...)
  9. The weaker colour gel is bastard amber which I like as well.
    If I find the photo I will upload it for you.
  10. sorry I was concentraiting on the sole use of a MAU. a straw filter over your light is designed to give that late evening sun set look. but this will effect all colors in the scene. for more control use a MAU. you can pickup the BOGEN brands from B&H. the straw filter comes with other filters in a package for about $20.
  11. You start with great, young skin, and then It is all about the make up and lighting.
  12. There was interview with Andrew Goldman,a playboy photog, in the last issue of PDN. The
    one w/ the Albert Watson feature. Seems to be a pretty tedious process with a ridiculous
    amount of strobes.

    "The centerfolds were not retouched as a rule-which I think would come as a surprise to
    many people. That signature Playboy 'look' of physical perfection was created solely with
    makeup and lighting." -A. Goldman, PDN
  13. I saw the set up for the typical playboy shot in mentioned AP. Lots of lights but the main lighting for the face was a softbox close to the face and spot near the 8x10 camera.

    With different gradation of colour gels on your light directed to the model (it does not affect the whole image colour of course) one can get proper skin colour. I experimented with lots of Lee gels and the amber bastards work best for me.
  14. Lots of photoshop for sure...There is no skin like that...
  15. I don't much care for Playboy's current style. Grossly unbalanced. Too much facial makeup, which can't possibly match the skin on the rest of the body unless they go for the "Goldfinger" trick. And the fake tan (whether tanning bed or tan-in-a-bottle) exaggerated by amber gels. Yuk.

    I miss Pompeo Posar.
  16. Try a cheerleader; one that was voted "most likely to brighten your day". Make sure you bracket; and dont let the hats get too dark; like this old Tess McGill shot; ie Sandy at her start.<BR><BR><IMG SRC=><BR><BR><IMG SRC=><BR><BR>
  17. I started out in this business assisting for a Playboy photographer, and worked for a few before I went out on my own. A couple of things I can tell you:

    1. They have hundreds if not thousands of candidates to choose from for each month. Walking down the street, you may think that you see several women who may have a chance at making it as a Playmate of the Month. However, once you see a bunch of candidates together (as I have done on many an occasion), you begin to realize that certain ones stand out (so to speak) far from the rest. Flawless skin is very important, and they can afford to be choosy.

    2. The Playboy people have this down to a science (not that that's necessarily a good thing). Tanning beds, diet, skin treatments, it's all part of the regimen for the chosen few.

    3. Despite what was said in the PDN interview, make-up is very important. They might not use much as far as the average glamor photographer is concerned, but other photographers might find the attention paid to that aspect of the process very great.

    4. Getting the lighting color perfect in terms of no UV whatsoever and choosing the right gels for the right skin, and then tweaking it all to use with a particular emulsion batch can have a radical effect. The lights can be perfect for one emulsion batch, but you switch emulsions--even using the exact same film type--and your skin tones can go from glowing honey to dull mud.

    In short, the photographic process of producing the POM is very complicated and they have had years and literally millions (if not billions) of dollars to tweak it. That's only the photography end of things, and when you add in the graphics and printing process, it adds even more variables--one that complicate things and others that can be used to advantage (I once heard an AD say that over one hundred printing tests were performed when Oui magazine (once owned by Playboy) changed to different inks).

    So, if you ever do succeed in getting that same wonderful skin glow, consider yourself very capable indeed!

    Happy shooting.
  18. Interesting insight, Bill. I remember back in the '60s up to the mid-'70s when Playboy models looked more like real gals and the photography reflected that philosophy.

    The lighting was fuller with less gelling and you could see the baby-fine peach fuzz on the model's tummy, which might have what would today be considered a bit of a pooch. Sure, the skin had to be nearly flawless but it was okay if minute pores were visible - that was evidence of large format photography on very fine grain film.

    They also appeared to have used more outdoor available light, combined with reflectors and the right time of day, when they wanted a warmer glow to the skin tones.

    I dunno. It's okay to aspire to emulate the current style. It's certainly a daunting task, as Bill has described it. I'm just not sure it's worth the effort considering the end result.
  19. -------It's okay to aspire to emulate the current style. It's certainly a daunting task, as Bill has described it. I'm just not sure it's worth the effort considering the end result.

    I fully concur. Many of the girls could be stamped from the same cookie-cutter mold, and by the time they get done with the visual "perfection" process the Playmate may as well be a piece of plastic (and no doubt some parts of them are).

    I'd say I was just getting old, but then the last I heard Playboy's circulation was still on a downward trend. I suppose their problem is, once they have attained what they feel is perfection, they really don't have anywhere else to go except raunch, and that's not what the company is all about.

    I used to drive NASCAR, and one thing they teach you in driving school is that if there is an accident up ahead of you, aim straight for it, because by the time you get there it will be somewhere else. Fashion trends are a lot like that--by the time you work your butt off catching up to a particular style, that style is out and something new is in. Do your own thing, find what special aspect you can give to your work and don't stop until you get the effect you know you can achieve. You will have for yourself something that nobody else has, and in the process you may learn things that nobody else knows. That can sometimes be valuable stuff. -BC-

Share This Page