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Choice of subject matter has a very significant effect in infrared photography. People, vegetation and everyday objects appear quite different when photographed in infrared. Colour infrared images change the appearance of everything in a spectacular and sometimes unexpected manner which does not always lead to an attractive image, but black-and-white infrared images are somewhat predictable in nature.

Infrared imageVegetation and interesting stonework are among the more successful subjects. Leaves and grass may be rendered almost white, giving an eerie frost-like appearance to to a landscape. Stonework is generally rendered very dark and consequently contrasts well with nearby vegetation such as climbing ivy. Old country houses, derelict buildings and stone cottages hidden in wooded areas are all well-used subjects. Graveyards are often photographed in infrared for broadly the same reasons. The gravestones stand appropriately sombre and dark in a sea of surreal white vegetation. Hot houses engulfed in exotic vegetation of unusual character also make good subjects.

Photographing people in infrared is also worthwhile, as is including human figures in suitable environments such as those discussed above. Skin also looks different in infrared and veins may be revealed beneath the skin. This feature can be used to achieve particular effects, but may also be seen as unflattering or even ugly. Eyes tend to be rendered very dark and hence change a portrait significantly - perhaps giving it a rather menacing or alien feel.

Clear skies are also turned dark and dramatic, although clouds usually remain bright, so people in appropriate environments or landscapes can make interesting combinations. Nudes in a landscapes are also wonderful when well done, particularly where a good mix of skin and vegetation is created.

Still-life subjects such as fruit, flowers and other classic subjects tend to be less successful as they often lose much of their three-dimensional appearance and become flat and uninteresting.


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