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Patrick Rice - Infrared - part 3 of 1 2 3 4

Published 01/04/2006

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Advantages of digital over film There are several distinct advantages of using cameras capable of creating digital infrared images over using infrared film. The first major advantage with digital infrared capture is that you instantly see the image that you just recorded. The second major advantage that digital infrared has over film is the tremendous cost saving. Each roll of Kodak infrared film will cost you $10 - $16.

A third advantage of digital infrared imaging is the fact that film handling is no longer an issue. With infrared film, the photographer must be very careful in how he or she loads, unloads and processes the film. Kodak infrared film must be loaded and unloaded in absolute darkness. A fourth advantage to digital infrared photography is the ability to manipulate the image. Images that were underexposed can easily be adjusted through Levels controls.

The overall contrast of a digital infrared image can be increased if the image is too flat. Digital infrared is also grain-less, so I can add grain or noise in PhotoShop to achieve just the right look for any image. Ordinary infrared film would have to be scanned in order to give it even close to the flexibility of a digital infrared image.


Eyes, hair, make-up and skin tones Eyes and skin tones can photograph in very different and pleasing manners with infrared photography. As a general rule, skin pigment tends to lighten with infrared imaging. This gives images a softer overall appearance.

With photography of teenage children and High School Seniors, infrared can greatly enhance the complexion of these young adults. Acne and other skin blemishes are greatly diminished or eliminated all together with infrared - all without any digital enhancement or artwork.

Some seniors have commented that their skin has never looked so good. Another thing to keep in mind is that suntans and sunburn do not record in infrared. Moreover, tan lines are hidden. Infrared can allow you to keep a portrait session that would have to be cancelled due to these skin colouration problems.

Infrared imaging also softens age lines and gives the skin a more healthy and youthful look. I have had clients compare the beautiful skin quality portrayed with infrared to the old Hollywood glamour photography of the 1930s and 1940s. There is a timeless quality to infrared portraiture. People with darker skin also have their skin tone recorded lighter in infrared. This does not mean that they look Caucasian; it's just that they are not as dark as with normal black and white imaging.


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1st Published 01/04/2006
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