How To Create Custom Skin Tone Lighting With The myMIX® App & DMG Lights

We have always admired the alluring skin tones that Photographer and Rosco Ambassador Justin Piccari captures in his photography. So, when we were developing our campaign to promote how the MIX® Technology inside our DMG Lights enhances skin tones, Justin was an excellent choice for the photo shoot. Utilizing individual setups with multiple models, each with different skin tones, the plan was to shoot each model in 5500K and 3200K. While on set, however, we introduced an experiment that we ended up calling “Skin Tone Sampling” using the CAPTURE feature of the myMIX app and Rosco DMG Lighting fixtures. Justin explains the experiment and showcases its results below.

I am always excited to share a new lighting technique, especially one that’s about skin. Textures of skin can be highly unique, which can sometimes make them challenging to light. This specific shoot was focused on the unique abilities of Rosco’s DMG Lights to paint skin. Working on a shoot where skin is the dominant focus is its own specific challenge. Whether it’s textures, luminance blowouts, or even trueness to color, the same things that make skin fun to shoot can also bring challenges. 

Face closeup of dark-skinned woman lit with DMG Lighting.

Movement, on-camera filters, and post-production are just a few of the solutions available to remedy the myriad of issues encountered when shooting skin. Another solution is using lighting that matches the subject’s skin tone in the first place. That’s where the concept of “Skin Tone Sampling” comes into play with Rosco’s DMG Lighting fixtures. When creating white light, the six-chip MIX® Technology inside the DMG Lights enhances the quality of skin. This is mostly due to the phosphor-converted red and amber chips that produce the wavelengths present in all skin tones. The Skin Tone Sampling technique, however, takes the benefits of this technology to the next level.

Amber MIX<sup>®</sup> LED and Red MIX<sup>®</sup> LEDThe unique, phosphor-converted MIX® LEDs inside Rosco’s DMG Lights produce more of the wavelengths found in human skin tones.

Skin Tone Sampling is a simple technique that uses the CAPTURE feature found in Rosco’s myMIX app. This feature allows you to select a color inside a photo, and then replicate that color with a DMG Light. With Skin Tone Sampling, we are extending that idea by taking a picture of our subject and sampling a color of their skin tone to project through the light onto the subject. In effect, we are lighting the subject with their own skin tone.

Dark-skinned woman lit with two different colour temperatures.

Talent lit in 5500K (L) and using the Skin Tone Sample technique (R).

Personally, my favorite and most used physical gels are the “Cosmetics” found inside Rosco’s e-colour+ range – in particular #E184 Cosmetic Peach, #E187 Cosmetic Silver Rouge, and #E188 Cosmetic Highlight. I love their subtlety. When lit with one of these Cosmetic gels, you can barely tell it’s not white light. There’s just an emotive change. When contrasted with an ungelled light, however, the difference becomes obvious. Using these gels on my lights enhances the skin tones of my subjects in a very subtle way - making the shots that much more unique and they really bring something special to the final image. Skin Tone Sampling produces a similar effect, but with a custom color for each individual that provides tonal balance with a lot less guesswork.

2 DMG Skin Tones Blog Alice capture progression copy

Here’s how we did it. White balanced at 5500K on the camera, we projected 5500K white light onto the subject and took an iPhone photo. Using the myMIX app, we used that photo to select an area of the subject’s face. The most successful sample always came from a true mid-tone rather than brighter or darker areas of their face. Once the skin tone sample was selected, we clicked Apply in the app and sent the color to the light.

Now, here comes the tricky part! When you first click Apply, the color won’t be right. You’ll need to make some adjustments. First, you want to make sure the base color temperature in the app matches your camera’s white balance – in our case, it was 5500K. Then you’ll want to adjust the saturation level. There’s a balance in how much saturation the sampling can handle on the subject before eyes, teeth, and catchlights are all dramatically affected. Using the app, lower the saturation level to zero (the light will now be white light at the color temperature selected). Then, slowly reintroduce the sampled color back into the shot by slowly raising the saturation level back up. We found that the best results were between 8% and 16%.

Face closeup of an Asian woman lit with DMG Lighting.

Skin Tone Sampling is a fantastic way to keep each scene unique to the individual. It’s a fantastic technique for close-ups, talking head interviews, or any scene where you want to subtly contrast the talent from everything else in the scene. It’s not a technique you’ll use in every shot, of course, but in moments when it’s time to let skin truly shine – this Skin Tone Sampling technique with Rosco DMG Lights is a tool you can bring on set to get everyone’s attention.

Many thanks to Justin Piccari for experimenting with the technique for us and sharing his results. If you would like to see more of Justin’s work, you can view his portfolio on his website:, or follow @jpiccari on Instagram. To learn more about our DMG Lighting range of LED fixtures, you can visit: If you’d like to conduct your own Skin Tone Sampling experiments, first download the free myMIX app to a mobile device, then use the button below to find a DMG Lighting rental house near you.




Joel Svendsen March 02, 2023 Questions?

About Joel Svendsen

Marketing Director: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. Joel's knowledge about Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our different marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.