In a recent Wordy Wednesday post, I promised to show how I produced the blue sky infrared technique when working with cameras converted for IR capture using the “Enhanced Color” filter. This filter allows a certain amount on color (not just IR) to pass through allowing the effect to be produced later in Photoshop. I’m not saying this is the only way to accomplish this effect, just how I do it. If you prefer another method; go for it.
Step 1: Open an image. In the above case it’s a RAW file made with a Panasonic Lumix G6 that had been converted by LifePixel. I used a Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with an exposure of 1/400 sec at f/11 and ISO 400.
Step 2: Next, apply a New Adjustment Layer> Channel Mixer. Select Red from the Output Channel pop-up menu. Change the value in the Red Channel to zero and the Blue channel’s value to 100.
Step 3: Now, Select Blue from the Output Channel pop-up menu. Change the value in the Blue Channel to zero and the Red channel’s value to 100, basically flipping the blue/red colors. Depending on the particular filter conversion you may want to clean up the images neutral colors; e.g., making the typical IR tree effect look white. I prefer using PictoColor’s iCorrect EditLab Pro but you can leave it alone too.
Step 4: (Optional) I like to weak contrast and colors using the Vivenza plug-into from Google’s Nik collection to punch up the effect. Viola! You’re done; it’s that easy. But you can skip this step too, if you like.
My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon for under $17. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies under $6 and used copies for less than three bucks.