Many photographers have explored the B&W Adjustment layer found in the more recent versions of Photoshop. But how many have dug deeper to realize there’s an infrared option in the pull-down menu?
Open an original and click on the half-dark, half-light Create An Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the layers pallette.
Drag the cursor to Black and White. A B&W adjustment layer will appear above the Background layer.
Default slider settings:
Tweaked slider settings:
Go to the Adjustments Panel and access the pull-down menu where it says DEFAULT. Drag down to INFRARED.
The magic is in the sliders on the Adjustments Panel. The colors are based on the hues in the original. Infrared images are synonymous with rich, dark skies. Move the blue and cyan sliders to the left to make those tones darker. If the vegetation blows out, move the yellow and green sliders to the left, to tone them down. If there’s a color in the original you want to brighten, move the slider to the right. The default setting is often too aggressive, so play with each to tweak the effect.
End result of the conversion with the modified settings:
Images with interesting clouds and a lot of vegetation work well. Not every photo that fits this description will be a good fit, so experiment. Don’t be aggressive when you move the sliders. Small shifts better teach you their nuances. With a little practice, you’ll be able to add very unique files to your portfolio.