Have you ever wanted to try out black and white infrared photography but don’t know where to begin? Look no further; here’s a tipster to get you on the right track!
Infrared (IR) photography falls under the more advanced level of photography. Looking alone at its many definitions offered by various sources online is enough to intimidate and confuse a beginner wanting to try it out for the first time. Luckily, we were able to stumble upon a YouTube video by photographer Scott Wittenburg, which offers some basic IR photography tips. Perhaps the easiest way to define IR photography is to compare it with regular photography, which we all already know well. While the latter “relies on visible exposure,” the former “relies on heat in the form of infrared rays.” On the other hand, photos taken on infrared film is easy enough to recognize: high-contrast images with, in the case of outdoor shots, dark skies and white foliage.
- To get you started, you will of course need some black and white infrared film and the right infrared filter. Although what looks great differs from one person to another, Wittenburg opined that an 87C filter works best because it is opaque, thereby allowing only the infrared rays in.
- When it comes to getting the right exposure, Wittenburg says to “start with the ISO rating suggested by the film’s manufacturer for the specific filter you are using. Then bracket generously – that is, deliberately under- and overexpose on either side of your exposure rating by a half to one full stop increments.”
- Wittenburg further suggests that when shooting outdoors, you must remember to bring a tripod for slow exposures and to shoot where there is much green foliage. “Shooting infrared without green foliage is quite disappointing,” he says, “since the most dramatic effect of IR film is the way green foliage becomes white.”
- Lastly, IR film development is quite tricky as most of them requires special development times and must be unloaded, as in loading, in total darkness. Unless you know of a lab that can develop such, you’ll need to do it on your own.