Infrared Photography Portraiture

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I recently completed an infrared photography workshop led by Nevada Wier.  During the workshop I was inspired to try photographing people in infrared, and instead of converting directly to black and white, using the colors that were already present in my infrared capture.  I had many “ah-ha’s” the most fascinating is …. make up doesn’t really matter in infrared.  A woman can look great without an ounce of make-up on.

The portraits in this post are self-portraits taken with window light (I worked up a sweat running back and forth to my camera to make sure I was in focus and in the frame!).  Here are a few things I learned:

  • Bright sunlight makes things a lot easier.  I first tried shooting away from the window and with a flash.  I was getting pretty garish shadows and effects.  Once I moved to the window things started to work.  I tried adding flash as a fill light, but found a simple white foam core board worked much better.
  • Watch for dark shadows around the eyes.  This was a challenge for me, I ended up having to correct in post.
  • The skin smooths out and glows.  I did not use any “wrinkle-correction” in these images.
  • Leave some of the color in the image and de-saturate it in post.   Below are some black and white and color images for comparison.

I have decided to use my infrared more often for portraiture, especially if I don’t feel like putting on make-up just to wash it off an hour later.  Unfortunately the same is not true for the hair – you still have to put effort into that.

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