Adding Color to IR Images


You have a choice: You can add color to your infrared photographs at the time of capture or afterwards in the digital darkroom. The easiest way is in-camera. Many cameras that offer a built-in black and white mode also have a sepia mode, so you can tone as you shoot. You can also add color using the toning filters found in Pixel Genius’ PhotoKit and I used the plug-in’s Platinum tone to subtly tone the above image.You can add hand-coloring effects using layers; click to see a tutorial.

Brad Buskey’s InfraRed Adjustment Action adds subtle color to a digital infrared files and works best before you’ve converted the file to monochrome. Like all tweaks the more color you start with the more color you end up with. David Burren created a Photoshop Action (click to download) that was used for the below image and is used for easily adding color to IR files. The action applies all its changes via adjustment layers, allowing you to undo or tweak each of the changes.


IR.bookMy book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” is out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon at most affordable prices. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects is still in print and has a chapter on IR photographer. It’s available from your friendly neighborhood camera store or Amazon.

If you prefer to use a converted camera instead on on-camera filters and want to save a few bucks when converting your camera to infrared when ordering a conversion from LifePixel, use the coupon code “farace.”


Author: Joe Farace

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