Why this title? Well, I thought up of this title because of a comment I received about this post some time ago:-
“no gush here
My advice, next time, is to realize that you are in a “photographic hell” instead of a studio, where lighting is controlled and good portraits are made, then act accordingly.
The white balance (thus the skin tone) in those images is quite poor. Your flash is showing in their eyes and making light pools on their faces. Basically, what I see are snapshots, masquerading as portraits.
Back the he77 OFF, then use your zoom to stand in the “sweet spot” of your flash, thereby avoiding the light pools on the faces. Take 2 minutes to remove the flash from the eyes. Lastly, but certainly not least, in situations where you are forced to shoot under mixed light sources do a custom white balance (with a white piece of paper held EXACTLY at target) before each shot.”
Actually, I am always open to suggestion and constructive criticism and I welcome and look forward to comments to my post. Either good or bad, I always enjoy reading them. I don’t expect my readers to always agree with me, so long as they have a valid reason, it’s always good to hear the opposing views and arguments.
If the author of that comment has taken care to read my original post, he would realize that the photos posted on that post was never meant to be good examples of “portrait” photography. Never once have I claimed in the post that they were portraits and yet he accused me to trying to masquerade those shots as portraits. The photos were only meant to demonstrate how the Canon EOS 40D would perform under some pretty poor condition and what Adobe Lightroom RAW processing would do.
Actually, the advice he gave for shooting portraits using flash in general were absolutely right (using the sweet spot of the flash to avoid light pools on faces, doing custom white balance under mixed light sources). However, he failed to take into account of the actual situation.
A lot of photographers go to the Hong Kong Computer & Communication Fair every year. Usually, there could be at least 10 or up to 40 or 50 photographers crowding around a single showgirl trying to get a shot. There could be up to 4 or 5 rows of photographers. It is practically impossible to stand at the sweet distance for a flash because the distance you stood in front of the showgirl could not be really dictated by yourself. If you attempted to stand at the sweet distance, you will be blocked by at least 4 or 5 rows of photographers in front of you, some of them would be hold the camera above their heads. Sometimes, it would be impossible to stand at the sweet distance even if there were no other photographers around as the fair were usually extremely crowded with exhibitors and visitors.
It is also easy to understand, it would be impossible to set a custom white balance for each shot under such situation. You will never be able to get the showgirl to hold a gray card or piece of white paper in front of her face for you to set a custom white balance.
With the knowledge that it was impossible to set custom white balance, the route to achieving accurate skin tone lies in white balance adjustment during post-processing. No one actually has to agree with me they the white balance I choose was good, but personally, I think I did a reasonably good white balance adjustment during post-processing. They may not be really pleasing skin tones, but they represent the skin tones of the “yellow” race as accurately as I could portray. Perhaps, the author of the comment was trying to judge the skin tones of those photos by the “white” race standard?
The lesson to learn here? I think one should have more understanding of an article before trying to give blanket advices. However, when someone who left a comment for an article who clearly has not fully read or completely understood the article and then started to give me a lesson to the author. It is clearly not constructive for anyone, either to the author, or other readers and it exposes the author of the comment as a person who either has little understanding of the subject himself or simply appeared as rather condescending.
The person who left that comment is supposed to be a professional photographer. I have seen his site, I won’t make any comments about his work. I’ll leave his site link here instead, and you can decide for yourself what you think about his work.