Any idea on how to get these soft skin color on color and black and white photos?
if lightroom or adobe camera raw, use the adjustment brush and turn up colour denoising, might also improve with lowered clarity slider
in black and white, lighter colours appear softer so make red / yellow brighter after (after!) colour denoise since colour will factor in the luminosity in the black and white conversion
yes. who cares if a technique was used to make subjects in the FOV more visible. as long as information isn't added or removed from the shot, I'm fine with it.
photography is selective enough with the choice of framing, viewing angle compression and so on, that brightening up the shadows seems irrelevant to me.
Is it really so much worse that anything printers did with shitty negatives? The boy and the sky in this print obviously have been heavily dodged and burned in the darkroom to achieve essentially what a digital photographer hopes to achieve with HDR.
Obviously no one wants the kind of disgusting nonsense you will find if you search "HDR" on google images but this effect has been done with film photojournalism too.