Top 10 Techniques
Consider whether the thermogram is going to use to "illustrate" a condition or used to "Measure" a condition. This will greatly effect the type of thermogram that you are going to store. For example you may need to get temperature measurements from a thermogram but you may need to illustrate the condition to others, and the thermogram that you would use to get temperature measurements with most likely would not be the best to adequately illustrate the condition. Understand what the end objective of storing a thermogram is will greatly effect the way you work.
As a general rule, the closer you get to your target, the better your thermograms and temperature measurements will be. Getting close helps to shows the target clearly by maximizing the cameras detectors IFOV across the target providing better resolution.
Think about showing just enough of the scene to make the thermogram clear and provide enough information so that someone can understand what the target is in the FOV. Be sure to check your camera manual to learn the closest distance at which your camera takes sharp thermograms.
If you are working with a infrared camera that can measure temperature then you must learn what the working distance is for accurate temperature measurements of different size targets. This is a key point in being able to accurately measure a object and is the most overlooked parameter in taking good thermograms for temperature measurement.
When working outdoors doing utility inspections most of the equipment is close to ambient temperatures, but the sky is very cold. By silhouetting the target against the sky you focuses attention on the target that will increases the contrast between the background and the target in your thermograms. you may need to move a little to avoid obstructions in the background but the results will be worth it in your thermograms.
There is nothing wrong with placing the target in the center of your viewfinder. However, placing the target off-center can make the composition more dynamic and interesting to the eye.
When taking thermograms of large areas, try including objects in the foreground. Elements in the foreground add a sense of distance, depth and dimension.
When working out side consider what the effects of solar reflection and solar gain will do to your thermograms and temperature measurements. It may be necessary with older types of infrared cameras to work at night to eliminate the solar reflections that show up as faults hot spots.
Sometimes good thermograms are missed by overlooking the basics. Holding the camera steady is vital for sharp, clear pictures. Many older infrared cameras have very slow frame rates so it is very important to hold the camera still when storing a thermogram. When you push the store button, press it gently rather than jabbing it. Even slight camera movement can rob your pictures of sharpness. Use a brace to steady your arm or use a tripod, if necessary.
You can improve the thermogram in many ways after you store the image but you will never be able to get in focus if it was stored out of focus in the field. Take your time to get it right the first time and you will save yourself a trip back to the field.
You must understand what temperatures that you are going to be imaging so that you can set up your camera to view the right temperature range correctly. This will effect not only the quality of your thermogram but also your temperature measurement accuracy as well.