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Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies, 2nd Edition

Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies, 2nd Edition

Lee Varis, Rick Sammon (Foreword by)

ISBN: 978-0-470-90663-7

Jul 2010

368 pages

Select type: E-Book

Product not available for purchase


Revised and thoroughly updated, this practical guide to photographing people is better than ever!

What is the color of skin? You may think you know, until you enter the world of digital photography and try to reproduce what you see. Differences in software, lighting, computer calibration—everything has an impact on color. And that’s all before you get into differences between people in terms of skin types, ethnicities, age, gender, and more! Hollywood-based photo-illustrator Lee Varis guides you step-by-step through the maze.

This new edition covers the very newest trends and techniques in photographing, lighting, and editing skin—and offers plenty of tips, examples, and valuable advice from the author’s own professional experience in the field.

  • Shows you how to digitally capture all skin types: male, female, young, old, different skin tones and ethnicities, with makeup or without, wrinkled, tattooed, and more
  • Covers a wealth of topics in addition to photo editing, such as how to obtain model releases and compose shots, how to shoot groups, and how to create promotional headshots
  • Incorporates the latest on working with Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Showcases exceptional work from a variety of photographers and artists

If you're photographing people, you’ll want this valuable and unique guide on your shelf.



Chapter 1 Digital Imaging Basics, Workflow, and Calibration.

Chips and Pixels.

Your Monitor and Calibrator.

Basic Digital Capture Workflow.

Setting Up a Lightroom Catalog.

Calibrating for Digital Capture.

Building a Camera Calibration.

Using Camera Profiles.

Editing Camera Profiles for Better Skin Color.

Working with Your Calibration.

Calibration Review.

Testing Procedure Overview.

Putting Color Management in Context.

Chapter 2 Lighting and Photographing People.

Lighting Technology.

Basic Portrait Lighting.

Rembrandt Lighting.

Natural Light.

On-Camera Flash.

Breaking the Rules.

Advanced Lighting Techniques.

Ring Light.

Combination Lighting: Daylight Plus Flash.

Controlling Natural Light.

Action Stopping Lighting.

Experimenting with Light.

Chapter 3 The Color of Skin.

White Points, Black Points, and Places In-Between.

Zone System: Contrast and Tone.

Neutral Color: Using Balanced Numbers.

Curves: The Basic Color and Tone Tool.

Contrast Control: The Basic Curve Shapes.

Info Panel: Reading Basic Numbers.

White/Black Point Correction.

Adjusting the Numbers for the Color of Skin.

The Family of Man: Cultural and Psychological Issues.

Cultural and Personal Color Bias.

Chapter 4 Tone and Contrast: Color and B+W.

Converting to B+W.

The Channel Mixer.

Split Channels: Layer Blending.

Luminosity Blending.

Instant Tan.

When Color Overwhelms: Look for the Good Channel.

Hue/Saturation Toning Effects.


Gradient Map Colorizing.

The Power of B+W.

Chapter 5 Retouching.

Basic Image Repair.

Hue/Saturation Color Repair.

Skin Smoothing.

Beauty Retouching.

Subtle Retouching.

Figure Thinning Techniques.

Chapter 6 Special Effects.

Soft Focus.

Basic Diffusion Effect.

Screen Diffusion.

Multiply Diffusion.

Overlay Diffusion.

Depth of Field Effects.

Lens Tilt Effect.

Film Grain and Noise.




Enhancing Existing Tattoos.

Faking Tattoos.

Final Notes.

Chapter 7 Preparing for Print.


Unsharp Mask.

Smart Sharpen.

Multiple Sharpening Layers.

Octave Sharpening.

Overlay Sharpening and High-Radius Effects.

Color Management for Print.

Translating from RGB to CMYK.

Profiles and Look-Up Tables.

Soft Proofing.

Desktop Printing.

Print Options.

Output Simulations.

Creative Print Finishing.

Background and Canvas Options.

Edge Treatments.

Last Minute Fixes.

Chapter 8 Parting Shots.

The Creative Workflow.

Future Developments.


Chapter 2 samples
Chapter 3 samples
Chapter 4 samples
Chapter 5 samples
Chapter 6 samples
Chapter 7 samples
Original Skin Files
All the sample files for the first edition of Skin. Some of the same images are used in both books. If you only have the 2nd edition, you'll want to download these layered .psd files.