Infrared photography – the lowdown
If you’re finding yourself uninspired by your picture-taking and fancy switching things up a bit, it might be time to dip your toes into the weird and wonderful world of infrared photography!
No other genre allows you to take images that are as spectacular and otherworldly as this, so let’s take a look at how to start producing infrared images that are guaranteed to get your friends and family talking.
What is infrared photography?
Infrared light is invisible to the naked eye and modern cameras are designed to filter it out, but if you choose to allow that light to hit your camera’s sensor, magic happens. Skies are transformed to jet black and foliage becomes brilliant white, which makes it perfect for landscape photography, but, like with all genres, there’s scope to be creative and see what happens when you take an infrared shot of whatever you fancy!
The cheapest way to explore infrared photography is by purchasing a relatively cheap filter, like the Hoya Infrared R72. Starting from around £30, they offer decent image quality and usability, as long as you’re prepared to work around the limitations.
In order to allow only the far infrared wavelength through, they need to filter out all other wavelengths, which means they’re almost completely dark when you look through the viewfinder. As long as you’re prepared to pre-focus on your scene and use a tripod before attaching the filter they’re a doddle to use and make particularly good long exposure images with water in the scene.
Infrared camera conversion
If you decide that infrared photography is for you, it’s possible to either have a spare DSLR converted or buy a ready converted one from a specialist company. A conversion generally costs between £200 and £300 and allows you to shoot more effectively because you’re not limited to using a tripod and long exposure shots – perfect if you’re looking to be a little bit more spontaneous with your shooting!
A converted camera also allows you to use all of your lenses, shoot at wider apertures and leave the tripod at home, but the greatest advantage is in image quality. Without a thick filter over the lens, your IQ will improve quite substantially – perfect if you’re looking to have one of these spectacular images printed to canvas.
Infrared photography is a fantastic genre and we thoroughly recommend you giving it a try if you’re looking to expand your skill-set or just have loads more fun with your camera.