Classic photographic lighting begins with a three point system. A key light illuminates the overall scene, a back light separates the subject from the background, and a fill light kills any shadows that fall in unwanted areas of the frame so I was very pleased to get three of these gooseneck lamps from Target last year.
The color temperature of the light can make a big difference in image quality, especially when you are shooting with low end digital cameras. In particular, in my work as a videographer, I have spent a lot of time looking for ways to present people of all complexion types “in the best possible light” so the multi-colored monsters were an interesting challenge.
Kayley has lavender skin and brown hair.
I thought this blue dress would show to better advantage next to Adele's pink skin than it would on Mila but it still took me a long time to get good shots of Adele.
Low end digital cameras don't manage high contrast well so I was bound to encounter problems when shooting a brunette subject with my iPod Touch which has no means of manually adjusting the focus or exposure.
Indeed, you can easily make shooting stages for your dolls by sticking colored poster board to scrap cardboard.
Mila has blue hair and blue skin like an ancient Celtic warrior goddess.
Dark-skinned subjects, however, can be the most difficult to capture because the auto-focus features in digital cameras are designed to take the brightest area within the frame as the focal point.
Indeed, as one African American man discovered in this hilarous but sad video, digital cameras are programmed to think that "white is right."
Yet, contrary to the assertion that "Hewlett Packard Computers are Racist," the camera's technological flaws in representing the full spectrum of humanity are not due to deliberate acts of discrimination. Thus, while Pipa's features in no way suggest African ancestry, her gray skin and dark hair caused her to appear underexposed until I was able to adjust the lighting to compensate for the camera's limitations.
Fortunately the future looks very different. I teach at a large engineering school where my students are as diverse as the Midnight Magic girls who posed here. I am also encouraged to see that at least 30% of my students are women. One of them is currently completing a thesis on computer optics. Maybe she can fix some of this stuff in the future :-)!