Another Take on Infrared Portraits

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“From the research that I’ve done it seems that the bright Arizona sun caused he pupils to be smaller which is where the dark area is. If I had been shooting in a darker scene where the pupils were more dilated I would have gotten darker eyes.”—Mark Toal

One of the things I enjoy about working on Mirrorless Photo Tips is the stuff I learn from other posters, especially Mark Toal. Mark’s recent posts of his infrared images have been impressive. But it’s not just the quality of his photographs but also the quality of the information he provides, such as his observations (above) about the quality of lighting affecting infrared portraits.

What Mark didn’t mention and what, I think, sets his second portrait apart from most attempts at IR portraiture is that his subject is also backlit. This is something I have to try real soon now. What you see here today are my IR portraits prior to Mark’s influence.

I think the most important part of this post is that Mark went for it even though he was told by “experts” not to photograph people using infrared techniques. This seems to be a widely held opinion. In fact both images you see here today were rejected by a magazine for professional photographers because the editor thought the subject “looked like a vampire.” Maybe she wasn’t a fan of the Twilight movies.

Yet, the back cover of my book, “The Complete Guide to Infrared Photography” has a infrared portrait of my muse Tia Stoneman, who also posed for the other portrait features today. Go figure. Tip: In case you’re wondering the blue hair in the below portrait was not added in Photoshop. What I’ve noticed is that some hair dyes, especially reds, photograph as blue when captured in infrared.

Special offer for this blog’s readers that’s good for the next 30 days: If you want to save $50 off at LifePixel for Priority Processing Upgrade when converting your camera to infrared, use the coupon code “MarkToalIR.” My book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” is out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon at affordable prices. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies under $6 and used copies at a giveaway—less than a buck— price.