CMYK and RGB Values
If your software supports CMYK editing, you can adjust these numbers to help print perfect skin tones for your portraits. The numbers you should use for this process will vary according to the nationality of your photo subject.
- Caucasian= C=6, M=27, Y=32, K=0
- Asian: C=8, M=30, Y=48, K=0
- Light skinned African American: C=21, M=53, Y=69, K=3
- Dark skinned African American: C=46, M=67,Y=77, K=50
Of course, it should be noted that these numbers are only a starting point. No two people have precisely the same skin tone and lighting can make a difference in how saturated your photo subject's complexion appears.
If you have a digital image-editing program that does not support CMYK editing, you can achieve similar results by changing the RGB numbers for your image. GIMP, a popular free program for editing digital photos, is one example of software that uses RGB as the default mode for image files. In GIMP, you can see the RGB numbers for any area of your photo by using the eyedropper tool, then pressing your shift key.
With this approach, the most important thing to remember is that red should always be a greater value than green and green should always be a greater value than blue. Asians and Hispanics tend to have higher green values for their skin tone than members of other ethnic groups do, while Caucasian photo subjects generally have only slightly more green than blue in their skin tone. In Caucasians with very fair skin, the green and blue values may actually be equal.
Regardless of whether you are editing color values using CMYK or RGB numbers, avoid making your subject's skin seem too reddish unless you are trying to demonstrate that the subject has sunburn.