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I’ve always been enamored by the false colors a photographer can get when shooting in infrared. Most modern digital cameras need modification in order to capture infrared.
The first thing you need to do is have a camera converted to infrared. The infrared filter in your camera is removed and a different filter is added. One company that is a leader in digital infrared conversions is LifePixel. I sent my Fuji S3 to LifePixel and a little over a week later I got my converted camera back.
Lake Wehrspann dog run
I chose the Fuji S3 because its a camera I no longer use and it was on the list of cameras that could be converted. In order to get infrared, the camera has to be color balanced using a custom balance against green grass. Unfortunately the Fuji s3 doesn’t allow color balancing in this manner.
When an image first comes out of a converted Fuji s3 it looks like this. The camera has to be set on raw. Then the raw file needs to be converted to a DNG file using Adobe DNG converter. The next step is to import the DNG file into Adobe DNG Profile Editor. There is a tab called “Color Matrixes” that you need to click on and slide the temperature slider to 0. Then you export the profile and give it your camera name.
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The DNG file needs to be opened in Adobe Photoshop in camera raw. Then you click on the camera calibration tab and go to camera profile and select the profile that you just saved. Then you go to the basic tab and click on white balance and select auto. If necessary other adjustments can be made in the basic mode. The above photo should be your result. Anything in blue or cyan is green foilage which reflects infrared.
Colors can be manipulated by going to adjust Hue and Saturation and sliding the Hue slider back and forth until you get the desired color.
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Joslyn Museum Omaha
Con Agra Park Omaha
Ideally photos should be taken on a sunny day near the middle of the day to achieve maximum infrared. The variations you can end up with are quite interesting.
Any color infrared can be changed to b&w by using the b&w adjustment in Photoshop. Using the color sliders you can determine how bright foilage will appear
1. Educate yourself on a continuous basis. There are some free programs on sites like Youtube. Check them out by searching photography, lighting, photoshop, etc. Sites like http://www.lynda.com/ and http://kelbytraining.com/ have good information on improving your photography. Http://wwwShootsmarter.com and http://www.discovermirrorless.com are excellent sites. Most of these sites require a subscription fee but you should expect to pay for good information. Several forums can be helpful. Check out the forum page on my site. http://pro4um.com/ is an excellent forum if you want to keep up with the latest fads in professional photography. This forum has many talented photographers on it and is not cheap to join. The fee is over $200 a year but well worth it if you are serious about photography as a business. If you are purchasing new equipment check out http://www.dpreview.com/ This website has very comprehensive reviews of newly released cameras and equipment.
2. Learn to use photoshop. Photoshop is an expensive program but most true professionals use the program on a daily basis. Lightroom is also a must, especially for wedding photographers who need to deal with a large number of images at a time. Software Cinema http://www.software-cinema.com/ puts out some excellent cds on how to use photoshop. I’d recommend getting the most recent version CS6. Photoshop cs6 must be purchased on line and downloaded . http://www.adobe.com/downloads/?promoid=JZEFW Versions come out every 2 years or so and you need be aware of the latest features. Plus if you buy a new camera photoshop cs6 will have updates that allow you to use the newest raw files in Adobe Bridge. If you have an earlier version of photoshop but a new camera and your raw files cannot be converted to jpgs in adobe bridge you can download DNG converter from the same sight. It will convert all raw files to a DNG format which older versions of photograph can open and convert to jpg
Other image editing programs are out there that can be used if you can’t afford Adobe’s products. Corel makes a good editing program Paintshop Pro X5. You can download a trial version at this site http://www.corel.com/corel/category.jsp?cat=cat4130083&rootCat=cat3610091 The cost of the software $69.95. Its not a bad program but there definitely is a learning curve just as there is with photoshop. Gimp is also a photoshop- like imaging program. It is free. You need to understand how imaging programs work in order to use it. Again most imaging programs have a learning curve.
This blog will introduce you to useful tips as well as listing links to forums and blogs that will be helpful in your quest for photographic knowledge. Also there will be a number of photo examples posted in galleries. The image below was taken near Gibbon Nebraska where 100,000’s of sandhill cranes congregate. I got plenty of crane pictures but all were against a gray sky.This image combines 2 layers using the overlay mode. The rising sun was produced in photoshop. Once the layering was completed and flattened I reopened the image in camera raw and increased the vibrance,saturation, and contrast. The first two images were the originals, the last is the combination of both files.
Sandhill Cranes over the Platte River