Guest Post by Joe Farace
One of my readers asked: â€œI know landscape is a prime subject for infrared photography but are other subjects, such as portraits, cityscapes, night city streets, and macro worth considering? The simplest reason for shooting digital infrared is that this technique has the power to transform mundane visual experiences into something unforgettable. Everyday scenes you might walk right by and never think of photographing, take on a dreamy look when seen in infrared. If youâ€™re considering jumping into IR photography hereâ€™s a couple of suggestions.
First, used SLR bodies are often available at a substantial discount and I think purchasing one and converting it to infrared capture is a great idea. Another idea is after youâ€™ve updated to a newer, more megapixels model have one of your older cameras converted. The most important think to remember is that after your camera has been converted; you will only be able to shoot monochrome infrared images with it.
Second, and to answer the question, everything makes a great subject for digital infrared photography! Nevertheless, digital IR photography is not for everyone. I have to assume that dark skies, snow-white foliage and increased contrast appeals to your aesthetic sensibilities and what the heck, itâ€™s fun. Here are just a few of the possibilities:
This is the classical application for either film or digital infrared capture because tree leaves appear to be almost white. This is a common effect produced by deciduous trees and grass because they reflect the sunâ€™s infrared energy instead of absorbing it. Along with the black sky, the effect is dramatic but I shoot IR in the winter when there are no leaves and the grass is dead or snow covered.
Regular readers know Iâ€™m nutty about cars and I used my IR-converted SLR to make the above shot that was later digitally colored in Photoshop. Infrared images donâ€™t have to be strictly black and white and thatâ€™s why I also like to apply digital toning effects to IR image files.
Professional architectural photographers have long used infrared film to make images of buildings. Thatâ€™s partly because IR photography cuts through any haze, adds contrast, and produces pure black skiesâ€”itâ€™s even nicer when youâ€™ve got some cloudsâ€”to make photographs of buildings look even more dramatic.
In my book on infrared photography, I show a few portraits using digital IR-converted cameras but not everybody agrees with this idea. Some think it adds a creepy â€œTwilightâ€ (vampires ya know?) feel to the images because the subjectâ€™s eyes will look a bit odd but if youâ€™re careful, arenâ€™t too close, and have the subject looking off to the side, it shouldnâ€™t bother you. If itâ€™s doesnâ€™t, then itâ€™s time to move onto other subjects. And thatâ€™s what infrared digital imaging is all about, having fun with photography no matter what subject you decide to photograph.
Visit Joeâ€™s Blog â€œSaving the world, One Pixel at a Timeâ€ (www.joefaraceblogs.com ) for daily tips on digital photography.