De-mystifying Infra-red Photography

Infra-red Image - by Andy Dines

Where Greens Turn To White

Infrared photography is one of those areas that either fascinates you, baffles you, or for some, you may not even heard of it.

Normal photography captures what we perceive as the visible spectrum. Typically, our eyes respond to wavelengths from 380 to 750 nanometers (nm). In general, infrared photography captures wavelengths up to about 920nm. Reflected infrared light gives some fascinating results with different subjects. Vegetation appears white or near white, skin becomes very milky and smooth.

If you are not quite ready to take the plunge and get your sensor converted, screw on IR filters that you can use on your standard DSLR or mirrorless camera are available.

Infrared filters work by blocking visible light, only allowing reflected infrared wavelengths through to your camera sensor. The lower the wavelength, the more colour is achievable in your final image. 

An important point to note when using IR filters on unconverted cameras is that to block most visible light, they are very dark, and act like a neutral density filter, stopping 10-12 stops of light. So shooting with a sturdy tripod is essential.

Infra-red Filter by Breakthrough FIlters UK

Infra-red and Black and White Photography

The advantage of infrared black and white over standard black and white is much smoother contrast, deep, rich blacks. A beautiful palette not achievable in normal photography

Infra-red filters by Breakthrough FIlters UK

Some looks are naturally a matter of taste, but the most common and generally liked colour infrared image has a combination of bright, white vegetation, with water and blue skies.

This gives the beautiful effect of making images look like they were taken on a mid-Winter morning. 

Infra Red filters but Breakthrough Filters UK

All images by Breakthrough Filters UK's lead ambassador Andy Dines