Exploring Infrared Photography

Spring has been slow coming to Colorado and recent snowstorms have stunted and damaged some of the deciduous trees here on Daisy Hill, all of which has been slowing down my annual foray into digital infrared photography.


Any photograph is about lighting but infrared photography is about capturing images using invisible light, which is why comparisons to traditional photography can be difficult. If you want to create a dramatic image, few things beat a sunrise photographed in vibrant colors. The same scene photographed in infrared might be disappointing unless there’s some IR reflective subject matter. That’s because the “Wood Effect” (bright to white reproduction of the chlorophyll layer of deciduous plants) appears strongest at lower sun levels. This effect is named after infrared photography pioneer Robert W. Wood (1868-1955).

Here’s one of Farace’s laws about infrared photography: If the lighting looks great for traditonal subject matter it’s probably not going to work well for infrared photography. Don’t just take my word for it; you should experiment because you never know for sure what the results will be when working in infrared.


There are no ‘official’ subjects for digital IR photography. Summer landscapes with leafy deciduous trees, lots of grass, and puffy clouds often produce a great infrared picture but evergreens, like the Ponderosa Pines here on Daisy Hill, don’t reflect as much infrared but depending on the invisible light will reflect some IR light.

A special offer for this blog’s readers: If you want to save money when converting your camera to infrared at LifePixel, use the coupon code “farace.” 

Author: Joe Farace

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