HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY

Infrared photography is what allows one of the light spectra between 700 and 1,200 nanometers to be photographed, not visible to the human eye. Its first use was military, however it is widely used at a scientific and artistic level. Of course, this last aspect is what interests us in the blog and the one I want to show you today. You might think that taking this type of photography is really difficult, but nothing is further from reality, if you want to know how you can launch to achieve your first infrared photography in a simple way, I invite you to get comfortable or comfortable and keep reading.

WHAT CAN YOU PHOTOGRAPH?

In principle what you want, but the landscapes with a lot of vegetation and very green, with sky and / or with water are the reasons that will look best with an infrared filter. You can also include some architectural element, which will look great. Be careful to photograph a landscape that only contains green because it will not be attractive, look for a beautiful composition, some contrast or, as I said before, some architectural element. The composition is as important or more than in any other type of photography. Here are a couple of examples.

Rick Harrison Photography
Bram & Vera’s picture

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

  •  Your camera, I know, this is very obvious, but it won’t be that you forget it at home . As for the objective I recommend 18-55 mm, because not all objectives are useful.
  • Tripod. You will have to make a long exposure, so a tripod is essential to keep the camera stable.
  • Remote Switch. If you don’t have it, don’t worry, you can use your camera’s timer to avoid any vibration when shooting.
  • Infrared filter What this filter does is block the visible light spectrum and let only the infrared light pass through. A filter with which you can get very good results is the HOYA R72 , with different thread sizes and that can be attached to the lens just like any other, such as a polarizer . Other manufacturers are Heliopan, Wratten, Cokin, B + W or Tiffen that offer a wide range of IR filters. Your camera may be adapted for this type of photography, if so you would not need the filter.
  • The desired conditions (which are not essential). A lot of vegetation (better varied), that there is no wind so that it does not move, if there is water to capture the reflections much better and clouds to achieve more attractive skies

STEPS TO MAKE YOUR INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHY

1. Find the reason. I have already told you at the beginning what type of image is the best result with the infrared filter, so you should look for what to photograph to obtain more attractive results and with that magical or fantasy point that these images possess.

2. Place the camera on the tripod. The exposure time will be very long and you need a lot of stability. Frame the scene before placing the filter, because when you place it you will see nothing. This filter is very opaque and you will see everything dark. That is why it is important that you frame and make your composition before putting it on.

3. Put the filter. And do not be scared when you see that you do not see anything, I have warned you in the previous point;), so you do not need to bother to look … so framing and focusing before .

4. White balance. You have two options, make it manual, for which you must carry your neutral gray or white card, but you can check the results in situ , or shoot in RAW mode with an automatic white balance and in the process adjust it.

5. Adjust the ISO. Although it tempts you to raise the ISO to capture more light, this is not recommended because of the high level of noise you would get. Ideally, put it as low as possible, but without lowering 200, better between 200 and 400.

6. Overexpose your camera. How much? The best thing is that you do several tests, it will depend on the light you have. But a guide is that when you shoot a photo, you check in the histogram that there is nothing in the extreme right, in that piece it must be empty so that burned areas do not come out.

8. Put the camera in manual mode and focus. You could also do it automatically, but much better if you focus manually, so you ensure the result.

9. Use a medium opening . Adjust the depth of field of your camera between f / 4.5 and f / 9.

10. Exposure time. It will depend on your camera, the filter and the light you have. That is why you will have to work with the famous “trial-error” technique;), I’m sorry, I can’t give you a magic formula, I can only tell you to start for example for 4 seconds and readjust according to the results.

12. Shoot! As the exposure time is very long, any minimal camera vibration can result in a shaken photo. It is for this reason that I recommended the remote trigger. Anyway, if you do not have one, you can set the timer of your camera and the photo will fire once your finger is far from the button

Do not panic! You’ll get a pretty red image, it’s normal. Now is when you have to make some small adjustments with some editing program.

INDICTED

With the following settings you will make your “red” image become an infrared image:

  • You must be in RGB mode ( Image> Mode> RGB Color )
  • Go to the channel mixer ( Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Channel Mixer … )
  • Select the Red Output Channel and in the Source Channels adjust the following values: Red 0%, Green 0% and Blue 100%.
  • Select the Blue Output Channel and in the Source Channels adjust the following values: Red 100%, Green 0% and Blue 0%.
  • You can also modify the greens if you wish.
  • Create a new Adjustment Layer for levels ( Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Levels … )
  • Select the Red Channel and move the sliders so that they cover the entire range and repeat the same actions for the Green and Blue Channels.
  • Increase the contrast (this step is optional).

You can also try to turn them to black and white, because it creates a lot of contrast and you can achieve really beautiful images.

Infrared black and white photography

CREATE INFRARED IMAGES FROM YOUR COMPUTER

As you have seen, it is not that difficult. But there is another way to achieve this type of images (I could not tell you if in an easier or more difficult way, here everyone’s tastes come in) what I can assure you is that it is more comfortable because you will not have to move from the chair . You only need a photograph, your computer and an image editor.

I leave you a couple of links that explain how to do it.

GALLERY

If these images have not convinced you to launch you to try this type of photography, maybe this wonderful gallery will encourage you.

Do not despair, it is not a difficult technique but as everything needs a learning time. It is true that some values ​​will have to be readjusted a few times, yes, once you take it easy … there will be no stopping you!

Hopefully the bug has bitten you and you throw yourself to try. Our main objective is that you learn and for this there is nothing like practicing. You know … theory is forgotten, practice makes us grow! Until next time and do not forget to share, surely someone thanks you (I sure) .


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