We have Jennifer Hudson from the film Cats. I am thinking about the differences in lighting darker skin vs lighter skin. The darker the skin tone the more I think about creating and controlling specular highlights while the lighter the skin the more I think about creating and controlling shadows. It is all about creating dimension on the face as well as hiding imperfections and making the skin look silky smooth regardless of the skin tone.
Soft sources are my goto, but with males and darker skin tones I sometimes push towards hard light a bit more frequently than I do with females and lighter skin tones. I think you can get away with showing a bit more texture in male and darker faces vs female and lighter faces. Obviously all these thoughts are very broad generalizations and I always taylor the lighting to the specific person I am shooting as well as the mood of the piece.
Writing this makes me remember shooting Halle Berry for Oprah’s Oscar special. We did a pre-light for her scene and everything was looking good. Then she came on set and looked absolutely stunning. She just glowed from the inside. It was as if she swallowed a light source and was radiating gorgeous soft light. It was incredible and I will never forget that.
Vanity Fair: Hollywood Calling is now playing at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, CA through July 26th.