Exploring Infrared Portraiture

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Back when I was involved in my initial explorations of digital infrared photography, portraiture was not recommended to be used with 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 left: Lighting was from windows behind and in front of Tia. Camera was my (now sold) Canon EOS 50D with EF 85mm f/1.8 lens with 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 the blue hair in the below portrait was not added in Photoshop. Some hair dyes, especially reds, photograph as blue when captured under certain kinds of Infrared, such as in the shade.

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

Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they have done most of the conversions for my Canon DSLRs and all of my Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography, is currently out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon for $5.44, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a nice chapter on infrared photography and is available from Amazon with used copies selling at giveaway—less than four bucks—prices. You can get both books for less then a Starbucks Venti latte.