Any photograph is about lighting but infrared photography is all about capturing images using invisible light, which is why comparisons to traditional photography can be difficult. If you want to create a dramatic image, few things beat a beautiful sunrise photographed in vibrant colors. The same scene photographed in infrared may be disappointing unless there’s some IR reflective subject matter—aka foliage—to add interest. That’s because the “Wood Effect” (bright to white reproduction of the chlorophyll layer of deciduous plants) appears strongest at low sun levels in black-and-white IR images. This effect was named after infrared photography pioneer Robert W. Wood (1868-1955).
Tip: If the lighting looks great for standard photographs, such as sunrise and sunset, it’s probably not going to work all that well for infrared photography. Don’t take my word for it; you need to experiment because you never know for sure what the results will be when working in infrared until you try. There are no ‘official’ subjects for digital IR photography. Summer landscapes with leafy deciduous trees, lots of grass, and puffy clouds often make a great infrared picture. But don’t confine yourself to landscapes.
Some of the artists in my book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” like to shoot people in IR but I like to photograph cars and made the above picture of two classic Jaguars (above) in infrared with a camera converted by LifePixel. To insure sharp focus I set the manual focus 16mm lens using the hyperfocal distance and adjusted exposure compensation to plus 1-1/3 stops to make the whites sparkle. Any subject is fair game if you want to produce digital infrared images, My advice is to experiment to discover what works. You may be surprised at the variety of subject matter you can find for your IR photographs.
For more on this subject, please read my post “Infrared Car Photography? Why Not.”
I have found that Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions. You can get $50 OFF with Priority Processing Upgrade by using coupon code: joefarace50-FrQ Don’t miss out on this soon to expire offer, order your conversion today.
My book The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out of print but you can get an affordable used copy or not-so-affordable new copies of the book from Amazon.com.