Exploring Infrared Portraiture Possibilities

by | Dec 19, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Back when I became involved in my initial explorations of digital infrared photography, portraiture was not a recommended use of this technology. Yet, one of the earliest non-landscape application of IR photography was in wedding photography and you can see some creative examples of this in my book, The Complete Guide to Infrared Photography.

That’s because, some of my IR-shooting friends and I had been told by “experts” not to photograph people using infrared techniques. And this appears to be a widely held opinion. In fact both of the images you see here of my former muse, Tia Stoneman, were rejected by a magazine aimed at professional photographers because the editor thought the subject “looked like a vampire.” Maybe she wasn’t a fan of the Twilight movies…

How I made the image at right: Natural lighting was from windows behind and in front of Tia. Camera was a Canon EOS 50D that had been converted to infrared capture by Life Pixel used with an EF 85mm f/1.8 lens and an Aperture Preferred exposure of 1/45 sec at f/1.8 and ISO 400.

The back cover of my infrared book features another, different portrait of Ms. Stoneman. Tip: In case you’re wondering about the blue hair in the below portrait, it was not added in Photoshop. Some hair dyes, especially reds, photograph as blue when captured under certain kinds of lighting, such as in the shade.




How I made the image at left: Lighting was from a bay window in my former home’s kitchen. Camera was the same Life Pixel converted Canon EOS 50D with an  an EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM lens set at mm that to this day I’m sorry that I sold. Exposure was 1/15 sec at f/16 and ISO 800.






I’ve found that Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they’ve done conversions for some of my Canon DSLRs as well as all of my Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras, including a GX1 that uses their new Hyper Color conversion. This is not a paid nor sponsored endorsement, just my experience.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is available from Amazon for with used copies selling for $16.49, as I write this. New copies are expensive. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies at $33.65 with used copies starting at a little more than two bucks, as I write this.