Infrared Photography in the Movies

Whenever I’m asked to do a presentation about infrared photography to photographic organizations  I always kick it off with a questions that I was once asked —

A reader once e-mailed asking “Why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?” I wrote a post responding to that question and you can see my full answer here.

The short answer, for me anyway, is because it’s fun. Sure it’s a bit more techy than traditional visible light photography but the payoff is that it produces the kind of image you can’t get any other way. And sure, you need specialized gear whether it’s a special filter (read my post on that subject here) or spending extra cash to get a camera converted to infrared capture only by companies such as LifePixel. My advice on the latter is that should should convert an older camera that’s just been sitting around rather than your bread and butter daily shooter.



Infrared is not as exotic as you think. In the 1948 film Fort Apache, John Ford’s cinematographer, Archie Stout, suggested that they shoot Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.07.00 AMthe climactic confrontation at the end of the film using infrared film to create dramatic images of the Monument Valley location where it was filmed. The above frame featuring John Wayne is from of the IR sequences. I’ve often said that one of my main influences was not other photographer’s work as much as it was the movies. And after watching the beautifully restored version of Fort Apache on Blue-Ray over the weekend, I have added photographing Monument Valley in infrared to my bucket list.

Interested in infrared photography? LifePixel does a great job with IR conversions. You can get $50 OFF with Priority Processing Upgrade by using coupon code: Toal-IR. Don’t miss out on this soon to expire offer, order your conversion today!

My book The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out of print but you can get an affordable used copy or not-so-affordable new copies of the book from

Author: Joe Farace

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