Infrared Portraiture Revisited

Tia.BW.IROne of the things I enjoy about working on our sister blog Mirrorless Photo Tips is the stuff I learn from other posters, especially Mark Toal. Mark’s recent posts of his infrared images have been impressive. But it’s not just the quality of his photographs but also the quality of the information he provides, such as his observations about the quality of lighting affecting infrared portraits.

“From the research that I’ve done it seems that the bright Arizona sun caused he pupils to be smaller which is where the dark area is. If I had been shooting in a darker scene where the pupils were more dilated I would have gotten darker eyes.”—Mark Toal

What Mark didn’t mention and what, I think, sets his second portrait apart from most attempts at IR portraiture is that his subject is also backlit. This is something I have to try real soon now.What you see here today is my IR portraits pre-Mark.

I think the most important part of this post is that Mark went for it even though he was told by “experts” not to photograph people using infrared techniques. This is a widely held opinion. In fact both images you see here were rejected by a magazine aimed at professional photographers because the editor thought the subject “looked like a vampire.” Maybe she wasn’t a fan of the Twilight movies…

Yet, the back cover of my book, “The Complete Guide to Infrared Photography” has a infrared portrait featured. Go figure. Tip: In case you’re wondering the blue hair in the below portrait was not added in Photoshop. Some hair dyes, especially reds, photograph as blue when captured in Infrared.

Try infrared photography by having one of your old cameras that’s gathering dust converted to IR-only operation. By using the coupon code “farace” at LifePixel, you can save processing time when converting your camera to

Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography (A Lark Photography Book) is currently out of print but you can get an affordable used copy and not-so-affordable new copies of the book from

Author: Joe Farace

Share This Post On