by Oleg Ti

During processing, we are often confronted with the fact that even with a good, tanned skin, the model does not look very impressive. With this example I’ll tell you how I work when I need to make bronze, brutal, spectacular shade of skin.

But at first let’s look at the original photo:

Technical parameters:
Camera: Hasselblad H3DII-31
Lens: Hasselblad 80 8.2
Focal Length: 80 mm (65 mm in recalculation to 35 mm format)
Aperture: f/14.0
Exposure: 1/200
ISO 200

In order to obtain such a hard light I used a reflector . As you know, the bigger distance between the object and the light source, the harder the light we receive as a result. Of course, if there is a light source, equipped with a lens (such as Profoto Spotsmall), you can get very hard light from any distance, but not all studios are equipped with that.

The model stands on a white cube in the corner formed by white walls, which creates a bizarre shadow on the wall.

To handle fotography I use many tools, I’ll talk about many of them, but right now I would like to tell about giving the skin a nice brown, dramatic color when I almost always use the Channel Mixer.

Let’s first look at how it works.

I create a new adjustment layer CHANNEL MIXER and change the mode to monochrome. Now you can see three channels and can change the influence of each channel that is presented in the final image. In order to avoid the trouble of counting, the bottom of the window has the cum of the values that will warn you when you exceed a value of 100%.

If you put the channels in the Channel Mixer to the designated levels, you will get an image almost identical to that obtained with HUE SATURATION.

However, lets look for other solutions and  put the channels on other levels. So add CHANNEL MIXER

Let’s first see how it looks if there is only one channel, such as RED. I agree, not good!


If we leave only the green channel, the picture will look familiar to the picture we could get with HUE SATURATION:


Now let’s look at the blue channel! Effectively! This is similar to a black model, or to an caucasian girl overdone with the sun.


And I even slightly enhance this effect by putting the value of the blue channel to 110% and -10% of red. Sub-zero values of the effect looks as if it were subtracted from the output image. So we have added the blue channel by 10%, and the RED channel is subtracted by 10%. It turns out into such an image. At first glance it may seem unacceptable, but we are just beginning our postproduction.


I want to draw attention to the fact that the medium format camera was used by me to get this picture, so the quality of channels, even the blue (no noise, grit, stains, so typical for 35 mm cameras), is very high and once again recalls the pleasure one experiences when editing high-quality picturesl.

Now copy the first layer and move it up setting blending mode to COLOR. Thus, we return the original color of the image.


After using CHANNEL MIXER, this color does not look natural. The prevalence of the blue channel changes colors and increases their intensity. To make this picture more natural, add a layer of HUE SATURATION with 40% reducing of color saturation.


Now the result is more interesting, nice looking, but still unnatural and overdesigned. In order to eliminate it, I return to the Channel Mixer layer and change opacity to the level of 70% to get the final image that got me:


I have to recall that these values are appropriate for this particular image, they are a bit exaggerated to show the influence of various instruments, and are not universal. So if you want to achieve excellence in retouching your images, go through a lot of options that is suitable for your photos.

Good luck!