Infrared Photography Gives You a Fresh Start

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I once received an e-mail from a reader asking “why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?” The short and honest answer is because it’s fun.

Your eyes typically see light from approximately 400 to 700 nanometers. A nanometer or nm is a unit of length equal to one billionth of a meter. A typical camera sensor sees light in wavelengths from 350 to 1,000nm. Most digital cameras have a low pass filter in front of the sensor that allows low frequency light that’s visible to the human eye to pass through where it’s captured but blocks unwanted light from infrared and ultraviolet spectrums, preventing them from polluting a photograph’s color.


caption: Shot with an IR-converted Panasonic Lumix G6 and G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. (at 12mm) with an exposure of 1/320 sec at f/11 and ISO 400.

When you have your camera modified for IR-only capture, the low pass filter is removed allowing all light to pass through but instead of replacing it with a piece of optical glass a filter that only permits light of specific wavelengths to pass is installed instead. LifePixel offers several different filter options. For the image shown, I had the Enhanced Filter installed on my Lumix G6 that allows more color to pass and is especially suited for color IR photography with great saturation and color range. Black & White looks good too although with a bit less contrast without adjustments. There’s more about this filter option in my post, “Shooting with Enhanced Infrared.”

If you would like to experience some of the same thrill of discovery that occurred during the first phase of your oen photographic education, my suggestion is that you never stop exploring. Try some new things. Maybe it’s infrared photography but whatever you do try something that’s outside your normal comfort zone. Stop taking the same pictures over and over again and try something new.

My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon starting at $13.18, as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with new copies under $10 and used copies selling for $2.55 (plus shipping) which has to be one of the best book deals out their for what is my personal favorite book.