Over the past few years, Infrared photography has gone from being and oddity or niche art, to moving more mainstream. One area that is being paid more interest is Infrared portraiture. Infrared portraiture is showing up in Weddings, modeling, personal portraits and even music videos. Recently, a German Photography Magazine, FOTO Hits contacted me interested in several pieces I had done with IR portraits. I spoke with them and they produced a piece for their June issue titled “PorzellanLicht” which translates to “Porcelain Light”.
People often refer to IR portraits as having the look of a porcelain doll.
The reason this occurs is because Infrared light penetrates the dermis, top layer of skin, before reflecting back. Surface wrinkles and skin imperfections tend to disappear. The challenge, is in capturing the eyes. Often, when photographing a person in IR, there is enough Infrared light to expose the image, but the eyes do not get enough light in them to shrink the pupils, the dark hole in the center of the Iris. This creates what is called “dead eyes” When the pupils in the eye are large the image has a lifeless feel to it.
I found a solution to this challenge a couple of years ago. I use a very inexpensive LED ring flash.
I do not use it as a flash, but rather turn it on as a light source. The LED light is not detected by the IR camera, but the human reacts by shrinking the pupils.
The end product is eyes that look good, no matter what lighting scenario you are trying to create.
FOTO Hits liked the results, and so they wanted to show people in Germany the little trick.
Here’s the piece. How’s your German?
So, do you have any little tricks you use to get IR portraits? If so, let me know and maybe we will feature it in a future Blog.