I received an e-mail from a reader asking “Why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?
Here’s my answer and it has to do with how most—but not all— photographers go through three distinct learning phases when they’re refining their skills:
- The first stage occurs immediately after they get their first “good” camera and discover the medium’s potential. During this time, novice shooters explore their world with a high level of enthusiasm. Every new batch of images contains photographs that look much better than they ever imagined. Unfortunately, this blissful period doesn’t last long and is quickly replaced by the next period.
- During phase two, the shooter’s level of enthusiasm is still high but is diminished when reviewing his or her newest images only to discover that they are much worse than they expected. It is the “shoot more and enjoying it less” phase.
- As photographer continues to improve their skills by studying,attending workshops and seminars, and practicing their craft, they reach the final phase. At this level, the images these photographers see in their camera’s viewfinder is exactly the same thing that appears on their camera’s LCD screen or computer monitor. While reaching this phase can be fulfilling, some of the magic is gone. And sometimes, photographers slip back into Phase 2 and become discouraged.
If you would like to experience some of the same thrill of discovery that occurred during the first phase of your photographic education, my suggestion is that you never stop exploring. Try some new things. Maybe it’s infrared photography but whatever you do try something outside your normal comfort zone.
My book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” is now out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon at affordable prices. It’s available from your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.
Tip: You can have your camera converted for IR capture, keeping in mind that this makes it an IR-only camera. When converting your camera to infrared by LifePixel, you can save a few days (it takes 7 instead of 10) of the conversion process by using coupon code “farace.”