Quick Guide: Infrared Photography FAQ
What is Infrared Photography? What does Infrared mean in photography?
Infrared photography or IR photography is a type of photography that uses a specific film (Kodak Aerochrome), modified digital cameras, or lens filters to capture infrared light / IR light.
What is Infrared Color? What is Infrared Light?
Infrared color / IR light is a part of the full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) not visible to the human eye.
From the image below, you will see that both ultraviolet light (UV light) and infrared light (IR light) are beyond the visible light spectrum.
The visible light spectrum of violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red is only a small part of the full range of wavelength frequencies.
Beyond violet is ultraviolet light (UV light), which can be seen by some birds and insects. UV light is associated with sunburn causing light.
Beyond red is infrared light (IR light), which is associated with thermal imaging and night vision. Check out the easiest way to get thermal looks on your photos and videos.
Can I take Infrared pictures with a digital camera?
Yes, there are three ways to go about it:
- Modify camera sensor (most expensive and time consuming)
- Use camera lens filters
- Use infrared luts (easiest and cheapest)
How do you take an Infrared photo?
Depending on which of the three methods above you choose:
- Modify Camera Sensor: Here is a great step by step of the process to convert a camera to infrared from Outdoor Photographer.
- Use Camera Lens IR filters: Here is a great breakdown on Urth Magazine on how to capture IR photos with IR filters.
- Use Infrared LUTs: Basically, this is a digital filter added during the photo editing process in Photoshop and Lightroom. Here is a super easy and effective way to apply infrared luts to any photo or video. Find out what LUTs are and how to use them here.
What is Infrared Photography used for?
There are a number of uses for infrared photography:
- Shooting artistic images: Used in fine art photography for its unreal and surreal looks.
- Medical imaging: Medical professionals use IR photos to study eyes, lungs, nerves, tumors, and so much more.
- Crime scene investigations: Forensic investigators use infrared photography for its ability to detect blood, gunshot residue, and tattoo inks at crime scenes.
- Surveying landscapes: The military uses IR photography to study objects from a distance that vegetation or weather conditions may obscure.
- Observing damaged and altered documents: IR photos allow you to see altered documents from being exposed to fire, age, dirt, overwriting, and fading.
- Spectroscopy: Scientists use IR photography when studying how objects, plants, and biology absorb light and radiation.
What does an Infrared filter look like?
An infrared filter looks similar to any other lens filter that you would screw onto the end of the lens. Check out the Best Infrared Filters on Digital Camera World.
What is Kodak Aerochrome? How do I get an Aerochrome look?
Kodak Aerochrome is a false-color infrared film made for cartography, military, industrial, forestry, and aerial photography.
Unfortunately, Kodak Aerochrome is discontinued and currently unavailable.
But you can recreate the Aerochrome infrared look by modifying your camera sensor, using IR filters, or IR LUTs.
Find out what LUTs are and how to use them here.
We hope you’ve found this Guide on Infrared Photography FAQ to be useful and practical.
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