Jeliza Patterson

Posts tagged whitewashing

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"Stylized lighting".





If white washing was really just “stylized lighting”, how come no white characters ever look ridiculously black with that “stylized lighting”?

Oh, because it’s just WHITE WASHING.

It’s true, though. I can’t have my picture taken without direct lighting on my face or I come out looking just like Blade. I have a whole shoebox full of cease-and-desist letters from Marvel Comics and now I have to pay a professional lighting crew to follow me around whenever I go out in public.

Sometimes I just love you too much, woman.


Someone who’s good at photography should take some pictures of various models with various skin colors and various lighting, and one thing they need to do is try to make a pale white person look really dark just with lighting.

I mean, of course some bright lights can wash out skin tones, but then why would you use them for everyone darker than a paper bag?

So, I used to be a professional portrait photographer. I think I might have something for you (but I am not doing a new shoot because no time or studio anymore)

If you want to make a pale person dark with just lighting, you are probably going to be both massively overexposing something *else* in the scene, i.e. a white backdrop, and bouncing some shadow onto the person.

I have some shoots I didn’t actually delete the “throw outs” from where my light meter was being all kinds of wonky… Note that I come from the school (literally) of thought that properly exposed skin still has visible detail, i.e. zone 8 at the max, so you aren’t going to get fashion-white skin and have me call it proper exposure.

Example #1: Catastrophic Overexposure: Skin has totally blown out. Note how much less overexposure that took on white lady Laura, who has lighter hair than Candice.

This is window (aka natural) light, and not a full force strobe.

And here is what these ladies look like properly exposed:

Taken the same day, same shoot.

#2: Same (white) guy, three different sets of lighting (this is with strobes),

This is probably the darkest I’ve ever made a white person look; notice that even the whites of the eyes and skin highlights are not white, I don’t think they even made it to zone 6 (i.e. they are still technically midtones). The hat took most of the light, and there is a black bounce to camera left for extra drama, and the contrast is punched (we were going Noir-ish)

Here he is again, properly exposed (note that the skin is *not* blown out, there is still detail even in the highlit cheek and skin has the proper tonal relationship to the white hat; there is also still the black bounce to add definition and it’s very high contrast due to the black backdrop)

And finally, so blown out his skin matches the hat as though there was, say, a lot of fire to camera right. There is still the black bounce and shade from the hat which keeps the left-hand side of his face mostly midtone. Note that you should also lose details like the edge of the hat to get the skin this light, even on a white dude.

#3, Dark skin, three exposures

correctly exposed low-key lighting, with a gold reflector to camera right and strobe to the left:

correctly exposed more typical lighting (almost same setup as previous shot, just a few inches closer to the strobe and Gloria is now looking into the light)

And “Dear goddess, what happened to the strobe” overexposure, with bonus fill from the white background. Notice it even made her hair more gray than black; if your lighting is that bright, stuff needs to happen to your shadows too:

I hope this is helpful to someone.

(Source: the-original-dtwps)

Filed under whitewashing