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My Infrared POV

Fri Jul 15, 2005, 4:03 AM
I love IR (Infra Red) photography.
I get a lot of questions about it, every time I submit a picture done with an Infra Red filter, so I thought of Putting together some Information about it.
I'll be happy to answer questions about it, If I'll know the answers.

In General

Well, a few words about Infrared. I will not get too techniqual cause it's not my strong side, just a few words about it.
Infrared photographs show a kind of thermo effect. Trees with white leaves and luminous white clouds against colored skies are the most common use for it.
The Infrared opens a window on a parallel world intriguingly different to the one we usually see.
We can't see Infrared light without the filter, we can only see it when It's isolated. Infrared photography is often confused with thermal imaging. It's not, It's just shows an effect similar to that. The difference is basically one of wavelength of electromagnetic radiation.
The filter shows the object because the sun (or some other light source) shines infrared light on it and it is reflected or absorbed by the object. You could say that this reflecting or absorbing of infrared helps to determine the object's color in a four-dimensional colour space made up of blue, green, red and infrared.

Strong and Desolate by gilad Forest Contemplation by gilad

Camera and filter

If you are using film camera, I won't get into this.
Digital cameras don't work evenly with IR filter.
Digital sensors have a special infrared-blocking filter in front of the light-sensitive CCD array, as the IR light degrades the visible-light image quality. The question is how much of infrared will the filter let through.
There are a few great digital models like the Sony 717, The Olympus C-2020z, Minolta Dimage 7, and the canon G1 (the G2 is great too).
Among the DSLR the Nikon D70 is best option right now.
Check out more about the Infrared sensitivity here…
Of course it's much harder working IR with DSLR, since you have no preview of the result, and it's impossible to see anything through the viewfinder, with the filter attached. I'll get to this later (In technique).
The filter I use is Hoya R72.
There are several others that get good results, but this one gets the classic color effect in the best way possible.

You can test your non DSLR camera for IR photography
Use the "TV remote test" to determine if your digital camera is sensitive to infrared light.  Television remote controls use infrared light to turn the TV on and off and to change channels.  Aim your TV remote control at the lens of your digital camera from a few inches away, push a button on your remote, and view the image on the LCD panel (not the optical viewfinder) of the camera.  If you see a white flash of light coming from the TV remote on your camera's LCD screen, you've just determined that your camera is infrared-sensitive.  Now all you need is one specialized piece of equipment, and you're ready to begin making infrared pictures.

Swept Away by gilad Equilibrium by gilad


Tripod - Besides your digital camera and filter, a tripod is an absolute necessity since exposures through the infrared filter should be long.  For long exposures, some cameras will automatically fire the flash to light the scene, because the camera's "brain" thinks its dark.  But you don't want to use flash.  Be sure to turn off the flash so the camera will make the exposure by infrared light.  
Iso settings - Work in low Iso (50-200) so you won't pick up too much noise.
Camera function - Work in fully Manual (if possible) to get a good light reading from the camera, so You'll know if you are using a long enough exposure.
Set White Balance - You will have to measure the white balance yourself. That's the secret of getting a good color balance in IR photography (with digital photography). Measure the WB in 'PRE' condition with your filter ON from something green as green grass. That would get you the right balance. Test the result, and if needed, try measuring it again.
Composition - To begin, photograph a daylight scene in auto WB.  Mount your camera on the tripod and compose the shot normally (Take the widest angle possible for a landscape shot) without the infrared filter over the lens, and make a normal, color picture.  The color picture will be a "reference" picture.  You might want to combine it with the infrared picture for creative effect later.
Final steps - After you composed it, and focused it, in the color version, take it out of Auto focus. Mount the filter carefully, so you won't destroy the camera position and composition. Switch your WB to the pre position (that you measured earlier). Now, shoot a second picture in exactly the same way except go through the infrared filter.  With the infrared filter on the lens, you'll see the infrared effect on the camera's LCD viewing screen (or only in the result in DSLR cameras).  The image will appear dark and a monochromatic red-pink in color.  This is normal for an infrared picture.  After you shoot the picture, you should review the image on the camera's LCD screen and check for proper exposure.  If the image is dark, you might want to switch the camera to manual and increase the exposure.  
Silent Sonnet by gilad Eternal Love by gilad


Once you've captured your infrared images, you'll want to do a little clean up in an image-processing program like Photoshop.  When you open the infrared image file, you'll probably see a monochromatic red-pink image that might be a little bit dark. You may want to adjust the curves or levels to brighten the image.  Also, you may want to adjust the contrast to your liking.  By Now you have an image very similar to one shot on infrared film, but without the hassles.
I usually love to change the channels, to replace the red with a blue.
In Photoshop go to Image>Adjustments>Channel mixer you will first see the setting to the red channel. The red is on 100 and the green and blue are on 0. Turn the red to 0 and the blue to 100.
Now go to the blue channel (the top dropdown menu in the message box). Turn the red to 100 and the blue to 0.
The channels have switched and if you want a better balance change the settings a bit.

If the 'Whites' are a bit 'Reddish', you can go to Image>adjustments>Hue/saturation and lower the saturation of the red (and yellow) channel.

A Distant Faith by gilad Growing old by gilad

That's the IR story in short.
Photography by the "invisible" light of infrared can open a new world of artistic expression. I love it, and I hope you do too :hug:
Feel free to add from your own experience, add tips, and ask questions.
Again, I'm not sure I'll be able to answer all, But I'll try.

Good Links:…… And a wonderful galley to enjoy…

Yours, G
Add a Comment:
CrowsReign Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2013  Professional Photographer
wow thanx for sharing it with us!!!!
Dooa Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Interesting and very easy to understand. Thank you for taking the time :hug:
Sabina-Elisabeth Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012   General Artist
thanks for sharing :D
janeesh Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
great tut thx
funglie Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2012
ok I've been having issues getting infrared to work on my Nikon D3100. I did the tv remote test. I got a red light (Figured it'd be more artistic to move the tv remotes around instead of single here's my test) [link] now my only problem is I am still not sure if my camera can even do infrared. Am I supose to see a white light or is red ok? Or is red bad?
Kaz-D Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You've been featured Here! in photography weekly. Please fav if you enjoyed it!
highzor Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010  Student Photographer
I made the "Tv remote test" on my Olympus E-420 DSLR. With Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 ED.
Result: [link]
Do you think i won't have to worry about my camera is not going to make nice IR photos only with a filter (without modding).
vorno Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
I have a problem where I cannot set the white balance correctly.
lotring Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2010  Professional Photographer
This is very useful!
MaX-DooM Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2009
Hey, thanks for posting this, I just bought an R72 filter too so I'm glad to hear it's what you use =D

Do you ever get a bright aperture shape in the center of the image?
uin Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
I have the same problem with the Canon kit lens (18-55)

Using a different lens can fix it I hear. If you use canon this [link] may help.

I Photoshop'd out what I got before I new what the problem was [link]
MaX-DooM Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009
yup, same 18-55. You did a great job in photoshop though, I'd disregarded all my efforts with this lens. What did you do to it?
uin Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer

It was kinda purple to start with so:

Selective colour & chose Magenta - removed Blue & Magenta, boosted Yellow.

Burnt in Midtones with a large soft brush.

Then used eye dropper to select the amber colour in the sky. Painted that onto a new layer around the trouble spot. Finally, changed the blending mode to colour.

Magic :)
MaX-DooM Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2009
hmm, I've not used the dodge/burn tool for ages ... perhaps that's wortha try - thanks for the tip =D

I wondered if you could take a second photo of some blank card with the same settings and use it to create some sort of filter layer .... then again that might not work at all =P
uin Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
:shrug: give it a go :)
MaX-DooM Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009
not working so far!!!
uin Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
dang, there were a few I took that I could see the shape of the aperture (hexagon) & I didn't think that would be fixable very easily, but managed to get lucky with a few with a nice round blob to fix :)

What result are you getting?
(1 Reply)
XxWonkaxX Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2009
I've been told that getting the red color means you've got the wrong WB. I keep getting a dark red color where nothing is visible, even when playing with WB and exposure. I tried setting the WB by shooting grass with the filter both on and off and get terrible results, and yes I have tried different shades and colors. Do you have any tips that could help me out? Oh by the way, I have a Canon 400D and Kobo IR72 filter. Thanks.
deathmachine-X Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2009
thanks alot for this journal, i really appreciate it. I'm a pretty young photographer, if i do say so myself (still in highschool) and i've been wondering about IR photos for a while now... This was really helpful and easy to understand :)
Dilt Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
I have the oh-so-original Canon 1000D. Will that work out well with the Hoya R72 infrared filter? I really want that filter, you see...
malkiecampbell Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009
thanks very informative !!!!!! never used a digital camera for IR only old school camersa but I am going to try it out next week..cheers
Shimizu0800 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2009
great journal!
what about Fuji S2? Does anyone have any experience?
Miinachan Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2009
wow. I love you for posting this. I've been wondering for so long now how people end up with those white trees, but now I know :) Unfortunately my camera is not sensitive to IR..
aR-Ka Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2009
Can i ask how nikonD300 is doing with infrared?Will i be able to shoot IR?
aR-Ka Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009
When u say: ''Measure the WB in ‘;PRE’ condition with your filter ON from something green as green grass.'' ...what is the result we should expect?And what about puting WB in Kelvin?Is there a fixed number of Kelvin that works good?

In any case ur very helpfull.thnx for sharing!
aobaob Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2009
Hello. Fantastic tutorial. If people like me can understand it, then just about anyone can!
I've been saving up for a Nikon D60 for a while, and infrared photography is something that I have a huge interest in. Do you know if it is possible to take infrared shots with the D60?
I really hope I'm not wasting your time here,
La-decadence Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009  Student
I'm so interested in IR filter, but I don't know what to choice for my Nikon D80. It insn't mentioned in the Infrared sensitivity. Could you give me some help?
Thanks a lot =D
udi44 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2008
loved your work !! very inspayering.
Thank you for all the info. have a great new year !!!
Homogeneous Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2008
do u think nikon D40 is good for IR photography?
peshewa Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2008  Student General Artist
thank you. (:
just tried it, and i'm fascinated!
fuyung Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
thanks for the sharing & tutorial IR ... nice works
melolonta Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Awesome!! very useful tips thankyou!

I'm folowing this instuctions in my gallery i got some IR pics if you want to see it enter in the link below

@tips alowed =D
Ithunn Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008
rorymac666 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1photojunkie Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2008   Photographer
So much good info...Thanks for taking the time to share this...
DrewHopper Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2008  Professional Photographer
Thats very interesting about the Tv remote, I will have to try with my camera, thanks for the help :D
x-purple Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2008   Photographer
This is going to help me so much! Thank you!
firstl Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2008  Student
Wonderful tutorial !:clap: congrats!
What do you know about Sony alpha DSLR and IR? ar they compatible? I barely find something to read about it, and I plan on IR photography
gilad Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2008  Professional Photographer
I know that the ones that tried it said it doesn't work very well
firstl Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2008  Student
hm....well then...,thank you for the response. I apreciate it :cuddle:
Barbroute Featured By Owner May 5, 2008
Hello :)
Thank you for sharing this tutorial !

But there is one thing that I don't really understand cause of my lacks in English.. when you say : "Measure the WB in "PRE" condition with your filter ON from something green as green grass.", that means that we have to take a picture with only grass on it ? Aiming the ground for example ?

Thank you :)
gilad Featured By Owner May 5, 2008  Professional Photographer
On PRE so the WB could be set
Barbroute Featured By Owner May 9, 2008
okay thank you, I'll try :)
melolonta Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
what means with PRE? I just put it GrayScale pic, but I feel I'm mising something, the WB config I don't get it :/
lazysummerday Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
thank you very much for that information! :hug: I found out that my Nikon 40D seemingly does pick up the infrared light, now I just gotta get such a filter :D
Jakaroni Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
Do you think the Nikon D60 would work (Model up from the D40/D40x)
And could you just shoot in RAW/NEF to make sure you get the right white balance?
melolonta Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2008  Professional Interface Designer

First of all thanks for sharing this! your tutorial is awesome!! so your photos.

I have a Canon Rebel XTI and just bougth an IR filter 760 nm.

I havve follow the instructions (I' didn't undertand de BW settings=V i dont read english very well =P) my expositions are betwwen 3- 5 minutes it is allright? if it is true i guess I need an external shooter? my finger get´s tired and the pic gets blured :(

see ya! and good luck with your proyects :deviation:
Zapa3a Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer

Hi =)
i have watched ur gallery for a a while now, and i really enjoyed it.
And thank you very much for the article, but i have a question:
What do u mean "Measure the WB in ‘;PRE’ condition" ? so i need to take a shot of the grass or something like that, before i take a pic?
gilad Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2008  Professional Photographer
yes, you need to set the WB for Infra. Without that, it wouldn't work
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Submitted on
July 15, 2005


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