As far as I know cold temperature light sources suppress red colours and enhance blues, warm sources enhance reds and suppress blues.

So, will there be any difference if I shoot skin with tungsten (2300K) light source, compared to if I shoot it with normal flash strobes or daylight (around 5500-6500K)? In both cases my in-camera white balance is adjusted accordingly to the light source's temperature (2300K for tungsten and 5500-6500 for daylight or flash). Will there be any difference? For example, will I get more skin imperfections with one light source, and less with another one? Or will more blue veins be visible under the cold temperature light sources?

  • Light sources don't really 'suppress' anything, they just illuminate things at certain wavelengths. It's similar to the definition of 'cold' in physics. "Cold" is not a physical property of any material, it is merely the absence of "heat" (which is a physical property of every material). A "cool" light source does not "suppress" red colors, it just outputs less red light than a "warm" light source does so less light is reflected by red objects under a cool light source than under a warm one. – Michael C Dec 1 '17 at 22:31

The main difference will not be on skin of your model (it will appear pretty much the same) but in the ambient light, i.e. the part of your image outside the range of your flash.

Since a picture says more than 1,000 words: have a look at the Strobist pages - pay special care to the contortionist.

Also note that it was shot with a strobe gel, meaning bigger difference in color temperature than plain daylight vs. tungsten.


Will there be any difference?

There might be. Most light sources, including tungsten bulbs and photographic strobe flashes, output fairly broad spectrum light. Their light may be centered on a certain color temperature, but their total outputs generally include components from a much broader range of the visible spectrum.

  • A tungsten bulb outputs light that is most heavily concentrated at around 3000K, but there is some light from pretty much the entire visible spectrum included in lesser amounts in the output from a tungsten bulb.
  • A photographic strobe outputs light that is usually most heavily concentrated at around 5500K-6000K, but there is some light from pretty much the entire visible spectrum included in lesser amounts in the output from a strobe.

Depending on the exact output of a specific source of tungsten light and the exact output of a specific strobe at a specific power level for a specific 'pop' (because the color and distribution of the wavelengths of light from a strobe can vary by the power level/duration to which it is set and will even vary to one degree or another from one shot to the next when set at the same power level/duration¹) you will likely get very slightly different results when using either one and setting your raw converter to a generic "Tungsten" setting or a generic "Strobe" setting.

Which one will show certain features of the skin more or less than the other will all depend on the differences between the exact color profile output by each of the lights compared to the exact color profile applied by the raw converter for each type of light. Most raw converters are flexible enough to compensate for such differences and in practice you should be able to create the same final image using either source of light if that source of light is the only source of all the light captured in the photograph.

¹ This is why professionals are willing to pay big bucks for studio strobes with very consistent output from one shot to the next and from one power level to the next. It makes their job in post processing much easier when the output from their lights is more consistent from one shot to the next.

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