Hi everyone. I’ve been using the Sony a9 with PhotoLab Elite for the last couple of years or so (or OpticsPro back then) and Nikon before that. I know mentioning camera brands can create friction, that’s not what I’m doing here. I love all the camera companies.
I seem to struggle a bit with skin tones with my Sony a9, version 6.x firmware, (at least sometimes I struggle). I do photograph in both natural light and mixed light, always RAW (arw) format. At the university where I work, I do mostly events and portraits and some product photography. I do everything I know to do to get pleasing skin tones, including manual white balance, xrite color checker dcp files, DXO portrait and neutral settings, and I even try using PhotoLab’s profiles from other camera bodies plus the HSL tool. I find that PhotoLab’s Panasonic S1 profile to be a pretty good choice for skin tone for my Sony a9, some of the time. All of the options are very helpful. Thank you DXO team! And, my “clients” give me positive feedback. But why do I have to work so hard just to get something that to my eye looks acceptable?
My Sony a9 seems to produce a skin tone that can be excessively pink and maybe a little contrasty in that part of the tone curve. So, by the time I’m finished processing in PhotoLab, I find that I have usually desaturated the skin tone and cooled it off quite a bit. To my eye, the portraits I produce seem modest and subdued, and not robust and proud. In short, I don’t feel good about my own portrait work.
On the Internet, it seems that photographers get fantastic skin color from all the brands of cameras. Canon is an example that seems to retain saturation and also look great. (I have never personally owned a Canon camera.)
I want to be more proud of my portraits, but I just don’t know what I’m missing from a digital flow POV. Can anyone identify with what I’m saying here? Can someone offer me suggestions, especially if my portrait descriptions sounds like, “ah, I know what you’re doing wrong!”?
Thank you for your consideration - Dan