As I look back on 2017, between online training and our workshops, I’ve had the pleasure to interact with a few hundred photographers, most new to Infrared photography. I love the enthusiasm people have when they start off with Infrared, but unfortunately too often when they search online they receive information about Infrared photography that is not only incorrect, but some of it borders on ridiculous.
I’ve put together my list of top 4 things people have told me they’ve heard or read.
So here we go in no particular order.
“Once you set a MASTER WHITE BALANCE, you never have to set a WB ever again”
Umm, ….. no. That would be nice, but it’s just not the case. And along with that, No, Life Pixel did NOT set a Master White Balance when they converted your camera. The technician may have tested your camera by setting a Custom White Balance, but that is not something we intended you to shoot with. And if you have a camera that does not accept a White Balance, I am not talking about you. I am talking about cameras that have the ability to be white balanced. Now if you are someone who says “I’ve never needed to set a White Balance”, then you are lucky.
A Custom White Balance is something you want to set regularly to help you capture the correct exposure.
And, since we are on the subject of White Balance, ……NEXT
“You can use a piece of Green Fabric to set a Custom White Balance”
Apparently, someone online decided that rather than using grass or foliage for a White Balance reference, they would use a piece of green fabric, because Hey!, grass is Green and so is this rag. That will work , right??
Uhh, … No. What you are doing when you use foliage for a White Balance reference image is you are capturing the Infrared light reflected off the organic material. You can set a Custom White Balance off of dormant grass, dried brown or yellow grass, or even fallen leaves in the Fall. Depending on what type of fabric you use, light will reflect differently. I did a piece on this a while back that demonstrates this point. You can read it here.
” Every Infrared Camera has Hot Spots “
The story going around is that every Infrared converted camera has hot spots, it’s just something with Infrared you have to accept.
Once again, this is Very Not True. Some Lenses do produce hots pots, but not all. We have a great Lens Hot Spot Database that can help you decide what lenses you should avoid.
Now, I saved my favorite for last.
“You should put one lens on your IR camera, and never change it so you don’t get dust on your sensor”
I can’t believe anyone would listen to this, but this so called “rule” is making the rounds. This is ridiculous. You are going to have a camera that allows you to change lenses, but you are not going to change them so you don’t have to clean your sensor?!? If you are going to take that approach, then,……. if you buy a new car, and you keep in your garage, and never drive it, you’ll never have to fill it up and it will never get dinged or dented.
Camera sensors get dusty or dirty over time. That’s just a reality.
So there’s my list of things I heard multiple times last year. If you’ve heard one of these, or read one of these, or someone tries to tell you one, think about it a bit and realize that not everything is true because it is online or on Youtube.
With the exception of that video of the Mermaid riding the Unicorn. I’m pretty sure that’s real.
Larry Phillips says
What determines when you need to redo the white balance?
Dan Wampler says
Larry, The in-camera White Balance is important to help you get the exposure correct. So long as you can check the exposure, your WB is useful.