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Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies Paperback – 31 Oct 2006

2.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sybex; Pap/Cdr edition (31 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047004733X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470047330
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 2.3 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 675,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product description


A Hollywood photoillustrator with 30 years of experience, Varis has been published in National Geographic, Newsweek, and Fortune magazines. Far from a manual on fashion or nude photography, this is a comprehensive tutorial on how to photograph all types of people: young, old, and dozens of ethnic varieties. Varis supplements the book with a CD of numerous before–and–after sample image files and technical reference materials. He begins with a discussion of the right hardware and software and how to configure them, then teaches digital color management and lighting techniques as they apply to portraiture. He also provides in–depth chapters on retouching and special effects, including such techniques as skin smoothing, beauty retouching, screen diffusion, and depth of field effects. Highly recommended for serious students. ( Library Journal, March 15, 2007)

From the Back Cover

What is the color of skin?

A practical guide to photographing people in the digital age

It′s one thing to snap someone′s picture. It′s another thing entirely to capture the essence that made you reach for your camera in the first place. Now a top Hollywood pro shares his secrets for the digital capture of human skin in all its variety: young, old, male, female, different skin tones and ethnicities, with makeup or without even tattooed skin!

Using step–by–step tutorials and stunning full–color examples, industry expert Lee Varis teaches it all: the basics of digital imaging, essential tricks to shooting indoors and out, how to light your subjects in any pose, and much more. Above all, you′ll find out why the color of skin that′s best for final output is almost always a departure from reality.

Topics include:

  • Starting with the right hardware and software settings
  • Developing your digital color "chops"
  • Mastering Rembrandt lighting and other basic techniques
  • Overcoming common digital skin problems, such as too much red
  • Adjusting skin tones to withstand nearby colors like green grass
  • Faking tattoos and photographing the real thing
  • Trimming the fat, lighting up the eyes, and filling in wrinkles
  • Adding soft focus, retouching, and other advanced Photoshop® techniques
  • Discovering what can and what can′t be done in post–process

Follow the tutorials in the book with numerous before–and–after sample image files on the companion CD. You′ll also find technical reference materials to enhance and reinforce your learning.

  • Know how to soften wrinkles and change shapes and when not to!
  • Beautifully color–balance every skin tone
  • Brilliantly light any number of subjects in any location

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book that unveils a lot of the secrets of professional photography retouching with a strong focus on Photoshop. Also includes various studio lighting set-ups and tips. It also shows you how to do that realistic yet strong retouching of skin that you always wanted to know how to do. Recommended for anyone who does post-processing in Photoshop and would like to make the best use of it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book which, from its title suggests that it concerns itself with the technically complex matters of lighting, correctly photographing and retouching the images involving people. However it commences with a brief course on the basic principles of digital photography which may be of greater relevance were the book intended to be an introduction to photography or specifically to portraiture. Lighting techniques and especially retouching are not likely to be considered or undertaken by those whose background in photography can be counted in days or weeks rather than years or decades, so why the introductory chapter? It may not be the author's choice but that of the publishers. In any event, it should not be included and somewhat reduces the value of the book.

If some readers are unaware, the book formed the basis of a similarly named on-line course which originally was held live over three days, I believe in 2009 or 2010, and of a daily duration approaching 6 hours. The course is now being sold but the book is a much less expensive and more easily referenced alternative. The on-line version uses many of the illustrations from the book.

I had seen part of that course some time ago and it was my introduction to Lee Varis. His is not a name I can readily associate with a specific photograph, magazine article or any other book that he may have written (if any) and the book is written in much the same way as he conducted the course - almost as a conversation between him and the reader (a small group on the course). Some may find that style friendly and amenable; others may dislike it for the same reasons.

Its coverage is very comprehensive and includes information on the use of exposure meters which will be difficult to find anywhere else.
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Format: Paperback
This is really a book that tries to be a digital photography book, and then a photoshop book, and finally adds a few comments about skin. I wanted to know about skin tones in RGB, CMYK and Lab colour. I wanted to know about skin tones for different races. I wanted to know how photoshop plugins like Imagenomic Portraiture actually work. I wanted to know all the stuff I know that I don't know about skin tones. This book could have been all those things, but isn't. I learned much, much more about it all in the "Canyon Conundrum" book - this book gave me very little considering how many pages of it there are.
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Format: Paperback
Let's face it taking a good photograph is now only part of the story, to make a great image now requires a good grasp of retouching techniques. Skin is an incredible book full of sensible advice & professional techniques on making great images from your photographs. If you take portrait/people shots regularly, and retouch them this book is a good investment.
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