While you can shoot infrared with your normal camera and a filter, you’ll need
to use a tripod to deal with the very long exposures and blacking out of the viewfinder when you put the filter in place on the lens.
There are several companies that will convert DSLRs so that they can capture infrared images without these drawbacks. This involves removing the low-pass filter that’s normally fixed in front of the sensor, and replacing this with an infrared filter. Because you don’t need to use a filter over the lens, you can operate the camera more easily.
The camera will no longer be able to shoot normal images though. Conversion costs vary according to the camera and the size of the sensor, but it starts at about £250 for an APS-C sized sensor and £300 for a full-frame model. Check out www.protechrepairs.co.uk and www.advancedcameraservices.co.uk for more information.
Above Converting an SLR to shoot infrared is a great way to breathe new life into your old camera if you’ve upgraded to a more recent model.
Here’s how to add impact to your shots by adjusting the contrast and tones
Although you can save time A and effort when converting your images by using the right shooting techniques, you’ll still need to use some adjustments to get the most from your black-and-white images. The key skills that will transform the impact of your shots are selectively darkening and lightening areas of the image.
In the traditional darkroom these are known as dodging and burning, and Photoshop and Elements have Dodge and Burn tools to replicate these techniques. The Dodge tool allows you to lighten tones, while the Burn tool darkens them. You can choose whether it affects the shadows, midtones or highlights, giving you the option of increasing or decreasing the contrast in these areas.
To increase the contrast, you can use the Dodge tool to lighten the highlights and the Burn tool to darken the shadows. To reduce the contrast, you use the Dodge tool to lighten the shadows and the Burn tool to darken the highlights.
Dodge and Burn tools
You need to build up any adjustments gradually to make them as seamless as possible. Before you start using either the Dodge or Burn tools, you should make sure that the Exposure amount is set to a low amount such as 2% or 3%. Then choose a soft-edged brush of a suitable size for the area that you want to work on and brush over this area of the image.
It’s also worth duplicating the Background layer and applying the effects to this duplicate, so that you can always return to the original, and also check how the adjustments compare to your starting image.
Adobe Camera Raw has featured an Adjustment Brush since 2012, which you can use to selectively lighten or darken areas of a raw image, rather than using the Dodge and Burn tools in the main Photoshop interface. However, these brushes aren’t available in Elements.
In the Adjustment Brush dialog, you can alter the effect of the brush to achieve different effects. The simplest way is to use the Exposure slider to either lighten or darken areas of the image. You can also control the contrast by using the Highlights and Shadows sliders. It’s best to slowly build up these adjustments, so set the Feather control to a large amount such as 60, and the Flow and Density to a lower amount such as 20.
INCREASE THE CONTRAST
Similar to using the Dodge and Burn tools. You can increase the contrast of areas by pulling the highlight slider to the right to lighten them, and the shadows slider to the left to darken them.
REDUCE THE CONTRAST
To reduce the contrast, you can lighten the shadows by dragging the Shadows slider to the right and darken the highlights by dragging the Highlights slider to the left.
ESSENTIAL STUDIO KIT
Studio flash lights have dials on the back that control the flash output, and a constant modelling light so you can see the effect of the light while you’re posing your model.
An umbrella is standard issue with most studio kits. They usually come in white, silver or gold and are used to reflect light onto the subject. They’re easily attached to the flash.
A softbox fits onto a flash unit, and diffuses light onto the subject. These come in different shapes and sizes, and produce a softer, more even lighting effect than you get with an umbrella.
Light stands are vital for positioning flash units. The flash units attach to the top of the stands, making them top-heavy, so secure them with a counterweight to increase their stability.
Art-nude shoots are best shot in monochrome, so keep your backgrounds simple and stick to black, white or grey paper rolls. Black velvet is even better for rich black backgrounds.