Better understanding of digital photography for skin color measurement: With a special emphasis on light characteristics

Soo Hong Seo, Jae Hwan Kim, Ji Woong Kim, Young Chul Kye, Hyo Hyun Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aim: Digital photography can be used to measure skin color colorimetrically when combined with proper techniques. To better understand the settings of digital photography for the evaluation and measurement of skin colors, we used a tungsten lamp with filters and the custom white balance (WB) function of a digital camera.Materials and methods: All colored squares on a color chart were photographed with each original and filtered light, analyzed into CIELAB coordinates to produce the calibration method for each given light setting, and compared statistically with reference coordinates obtained using a reflectance spectrophotometer. They were summarized as to the typical color groups, such as skin colors. We compared these results according to the fixed vs. custom WB of a digital camera.Results: The accuracy of color measurement was improved when using light with a proper color temperature conversion filter. The skin colors from color charts could be measured more accurately using a fixed WB. In vivo measurement of skin color was easy and possible with our method and settings.Conclusion: The color temperature conversion filter that produced daylight-like light from the tungsten lamp was the best choice when combined with fixed WB for the measurement of colors and acceptable photographs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalSkin Research and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb


  • Color
  • Colorimetry
  • Light
  • Photography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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