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Black And White Infrared Photography Portrait.

Take Control. Although coloured filters should still be used to manipulate contrast when shooting digital black and white images, it’s more common to save this work until the processing stage. Until a some years ago Photoshop’s Channel Mixer was the favorite means of turning colour images monochrome, but now Adobe Camera Raw has more powerful tools (in the HSL/Grayscale tab) that allow you to adjust the brightness of eight individual colours that make up the image. It’s possible to adjust single of these colours to make it anything from white to black with the sliding control. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the whole image when adjusting a particular colour as subtle gradations can become unnatural looking. And adjusting the brightness of a red or rosy shirt with the red sliding control, for instance , will have an impact on the model’s skin, especially the lips. The Levels and Curves controls may also be used to manipulate tonal range and contrast, but the HSL/Grayscale controls allow you to create demarcation between objects of the same brightness but with varied colours.

Shoot RAW + JPEG. The most excellent monochrome conversions are landed up at by editing raw files which have the full colour information, but if you shoot raw and JPEG files simultaneously and set the camera to its monochrome photograph Style/Picture Control/Film Simulation mode you get an indication of how the image will look in black and white. As many photographers struggle to visualise a scene in black and white, these monochrome modes are an invaluable tool that will help with composition and scene assessment. many cameras are also capable of producing decent in-camera monochrome images these days and it’s worth experimenting with image parameters (usually contrast, sharpness, filter effects and toning) to find a look that you like. Because compact channel cameras and compact cameras show the scene seen by the sensor with camera settings applied, users of these cameras are able to preview the monochrome image in the electronic viewfinder or on rear screen before taking the shot. DSLR users can also do this if they activate their camera’s live image method , but the usually slower responses mean that most will find it preferable or check the image on the screen post-capture.

Dodge and Burn. Dodging and burning is a technique that comes from the traditional darkroom and is usually used to burn in or darken highlights and hold back (brighten) shadows. Photoshop’s Dodge and Burn tools allow a level of control that film photographers may only thought of taking a degree of because you should target the highlights, shadows or mid-tones with both. This means that you may use the Burn tool to darken highlights when they are too bright, or the Dodge tool to perk up them to grow local contrast. It’s a good system of sharing a sense of greater sharpness and enhancing texture. Plus, because you should set the opacity of the tools, you should build up his effect gradually so the impact is crafty and there are no hard edges.

Try Long Exposure. Long exposure shots may work really well in monochrome photography, especially where there’s moving water or clouds. During the exposure the highlights of the water, for example, are recorded across a wider place than they would with a short exposure and this should help enhance tonal contrast. The blurring of the movement also adds textural contrast with any solid objects in the frame. If compulsory , use a neutral density filter such as Lee Filters’ Big Stopper or Little Stopper to decrease exposure and extend shutter speed (by 10 and 4 stops respectively). typically , when exposures extend beyond re 1/60 sec a tripod is wanted to keep the camera still and avoid blurring. It’s also advisable to use a remote release and mirror lock-up to minimise vibration and produce super-sharp images.

Use Filters. Graduated neutral density (AKA ND grad) and polarizing filters are merely as useful in monochrome photography as they are in colour. In fact, because they manipulate image contrast they are arguably more advantageous . An ND grad is helpful when you want to retain detail in a bright sky while a polarizing filter can be used to reduce reflections and boost contrast. Alternatively, put down as,take for,account,reckon,treat,adjudge,size up,value,rate,gauge,sum up,weigh up taking two or more shots with diverse exposures to create a high dynamic range (HDR) composite. Don’t be anxious to use a ND grad with a standard neural density filter if the sky is brighter than the foreground in a long exposure shot. Coloured filters, which are an essential tool for monochrome film photographers, should also be useful for manipulating contrast in digital images. They work by darkening objects of her opposite colour while lightening objects of her own. An orange filter, for example, will darken the blue of the sky while a green one will lighten foliage.

Look for Contrast, Shape and Texture. The complimentary and opposing colours that bring a colour image to life are all decreased to black and white or shades of grey in a monochrome image and you have to look for tonal contrast to make a shot stand out. In colour photography, for example, your eye would instantaneously be drawn to a red object on a green background, but in monochrome photography these two areas are likely to have the same brightness, so the image looks flat and lackluster straight from the camera. happily , it’s possible to work adjust the brightness of these two colours separately to introduce some contrast. However, a good starting point is to look for scenes with tonal contrast. There are always exceptions, but as a general rule look for scenes that contain some strong blacks and whites. This can be achieved by the light or by the brightness (or tone) of the objects in the scene as well as the exposure settings that you use. The brightness of the bark of a silver birch tree for example, should inject some contrast (and interest) in to a woodland scene. Setting the exposure for these brighter areas also makes the shadows darker, so the highlights stand out even more. Look for shapes, patterns and textures in a scene and move around to find the best composition.

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IR also gives you clarity. Any haze visible to the eye tends to disappear in infrared photography. So you can achieve a very crisp and contrasty look.

Not really. The only big drawback you’ll find is that you cannot use your favourite filters. Standard neutral density and polarizers do not work in the IR spectrum. If you sky is very bright and your subject is dark, you’ll just have to blend a few different exposures. Shooting in RAW of course gives you more leeway, but my Olympus files are not as forgiving as my Nikon files when recovering blown highlights.

I picked up an Olympus EPM1 for around AUD $300 ($230 USD). The advantage for me was being able use the same lenses and batteries I already had for the EPL1.

Filters are a great and relatively inexpensive way to get into IR photography, but they have their limitations.

The only other thing I notice is that some people get so enamoured by the white leaves and black sky effect that they forget to put their attention on the composition. Yes, everything looks cool in IR, but don’t take pictures of everything. Aim for strong compositions and uncluttered images. IR really shines with a minimalist approach.

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But if you like creating black and white images that stand out from the crowd, I’d suggest you have a crack at it. You’ll find it a challenge but also quite rewarding.

From here it is a matter of personal taste adjusting the light and dark of your image, the white and black points to suite the image, and maybe applying curves as appropriate.

It is also much quicker. When using filters, you need set your focus before attaching the filter which can become tiresome.

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I used to take my IR camera with me for a run along the river. Without the need for a tripod, I could travel light and take quick photos whenever an interesting composition presented itself.

But when you apply it to a proper infrared image as a starting point, you get a wonderful controlled flare effect. It doesn’t quite match the often spooky and surreal results Simon Marsden achieved with IR film, but it does get you a lot closer than anything else.

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When I was new to photography, I mostly avoided black and white landscapes. I used it mainly a handy way to hide the sporadically bizarre white balance my old Olympus EPL1 used to occasionally surprise me with.

So what processing should you use for infrared photography? The short answer is not much really. Experiment to find out what works for you.

The main attraction of a modified camera is that you are not limited to the long exposures needed for an IR filter. You can capture sharp images in any conditions, and can be more creative with your exposures (e.g. pick the perfect shutter speed for moving water). You can shoot handheld from any point of view without being limited by a tripod.

The flare can be applied to give a sense of mystery, mood, and surrealness that is hard to replicate any other way.

Perhaps the most striking characteristics of infrared photography are the typical white vegetation, black water, and dark skies. You can create punchy, high contrast images. The middle of the day works best for these type of shots. Perfect for those landscape photographers that hate early mornings!

Infrared photography (IR) also took a while to attract my attention. I wasn’t a huge fan of the typical false colour images, but quite liked the black and white IR photos, particularly the work of Simon Marsden. If you haven’t explored his portfolio of dark and atmospheric infrared film photography, you are missing something unique.

Many dismiss infrared photography as an oddity; a strange niche that is a bit too left of centre for them. Others just think it is too hard and expensive to get into.

I went down the path of buying a modified camera off Ebay. You can buy anything from a point and shoot to a full frame DSLR, and everything in between. If you have an old body you can always get it converted, but it’s worth checking the cost against buying one that’s already been modified.

Infrared photography is wonderfully clean and crisp. But what if you love that IR film look with a ghostly flare? Don’t worry. PaintShop Pro has it in the bag. They have an “Infrared Film” effect that was probably created to make ordinary images look a bit infrared-ish.

I import my raw images into Corel’s AfterShot Pro, which is a handy little raw file editor. Here I’ll straighten the image, adjust the exposure, and maybe increase the contrast if required. My infrared raw files come into AfterShot Pro displaying blue-grey hues, which is a good starting point for me. From here I export them as TIFFs into PaintShop Pro.

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Anyway, after a while, I started doing more black and white landscape images, and eventually followed the urge to get into IR images purely for their unique monochrome potential.

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Are you a fan of black and white photography? Like many, I love a good black and white image. The mood you can exude from the shadows and light always fascinates me.

What can infrared photography bring do for a landscape photographer?

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If you like capturing the complex patterns in clouds, you’ll find that the black skies really allow the clouds to stand out.

Myself, I don’t normally use Lightroom or Photoshop, so my workflow may be a little different than yours. But the principles will be the same.

This article will give you some tips on how you can enhance your black and white images by using infrared photography.

PaintShop Pro has a “Black and White Film” effect that lets you apply a colour filter to your image. Changing your filter between blue, red, and green gives a different result.

How to Enhance your Black and White images with Infrared Photography

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The deciding factor for me was tone. I found the infrared monos gave me a wonderful palette of greys and blacks to work with, particularly for trees and vegetation. The balance between light and dark just seems easier to manage in infrared and really lets you produce some unique images.

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