For awhile now, I have wanted to experiment with shooting portraiture in Infrared. Infrared can create beautifully creamy, smooth and “other worldly” skin textures. It also has a tendency to cause veins beneath the skin to be visible, which is not ideal, and also causes eyes to look black and dead, as the infrared light does not bounce back from within the eye. This can work well if you are going for the dead zombie look, but if not it needs careful work to avoid.
I teamed up with Megan Kay a local model, who specialises in Alt/Boudoir and Fine Art Nude to attempt my first IR portrait session. The weather should have been perfect with strong sunlight and clear skies forecast, unfortunately the forecasters got it wrong, and we were faced with flat overcast light, not the best, but we plugged on and tried to maximise the available light.
I had asked Megan to wear all black clothing and lingerie as my vision was for all the shots to be in a Gothic style, and completely monochrome. I wanted a high contrast between Megan’s skin, her clothing/lingerie, and the foliage in the background. What I wasn’t prepared for was how her different items of clothing reflected. I had my camera, A 720nm converted Fuji X-E1 set to monochrome, as that’s how I wanted to work during the shoot, but the poor intensity of the IR light was not creating the outcome I wanted, so as a test I switched back to Fuji Velvia film simulation, and was very surprised with the results, I never expected the dress to turn out blue the way it did. Various materials that Megan was wearing through the day reflected the light in many different ways; black lace reflected back vivid blue, whilst black satin on the bodice remained almost black.
This looks like it could require lots of experimentation with different fabrics to see what works best, or gives unusual results. One aspect that worked very well, was the way Megan’s skin retained the creamy smooth texture, which contrasted beautifully with her tattoo’s.
Certainly this needs further experimentation.