Until recently in order to get an infrared effect from your digital camera you would either need to have your digital camera converted to infrared or process your image in Photoshop or some kind of software to convert your file to give it an Infrared look.
With Sigma’s sd Quattro H mirrorless camera you can easily remove the IR cut filter inside the camera located behind the lenses, set the camera to monochrome mode and photograph with a Sigma lens and use an infrared filter to block the visible light. The beauty of this process is when you’re done creating the infrared images, you can easily snap the IR cut filter back into the camera, change the mode back to color and start creating color images again.
It’s been many years since I’ve created an infrared image and my memories of it were how difficult it was to see anything through the lens. Being able to see the image and its exposure in the Sigma camera makes this process so much easier. Bracketing is always recommended, but nothing is better than being able to see your image while you are creating it and making the necessary corrections for the near perfect exposure.
I suggest setting your camera to RAW when creating these IR images, as you will need to do some processing in Photoshop/Lightroom to get the desired effect. The RAW files will give you more latitude.
Below are some suggestions on how to create infrared Images
What to look for:
When searching for the kind of scenery best suited for an infrared look it’s important to understand that anything that is alive such as leaves, grass, foliage reflect the most amount of infrared light. They will appear almost white in your image. Other elements like concrete, water and the sky absorb the infrared light and will look darker. If you are fortunate enough to photograph a sky with white puffy clouds, you will notice the sky appears almost black. This effect will create a beautiful contrast in your image. As you can see in this image, the leaves on the trees appear white while the bark of the trees remains the same and the sky has gone black.
What settings to use:
In most cases the best settings to use for creating an infrared effect are low ISO for less grain, very slow shutter to compensate for the very high aperture. A tripod is recommended and I always bracket to get the best exposure. Bright sunny days are also the best. The lower the ISO the better quality image over all. Also if possible try to photograph with the light coming through the leaves or trees. It helps to create a much more dramatic look.
What elements make for a great infrared image?
To create a more compelling image, try to include a lot of contrast in your image. Look for elements of light and dark against each other. This image of the water and the water lilies is an example of that. The lily and the leaves have turned white while the water has gone almost completely black with just enough light to see the reflection of the trees in the water.
Your composition should lead the viewer into the image. Leading lines and s curves are used in this image to draw your attention to the flower. As light as the leaves are, the flower still captures your eye that is where the story is. The reflective aspect of the water compliments the contrast between the two making for a dramatic effect.
The first image is infrared using the sd Quattro H mirror less camera set to monochrome, removing the IR filter and photographing with the 50mm 1.4 Art lens with a tiffen filter #87. Without moving the camera or changing the settings, I snapped the IR cut filter back inside the camera, and left the mode on monochrome. This created a straight black and white image with a completely different look. Next, I changed the mode to color and again without changing the camera position and using the same settings I created the same image only in color.