How to shoot infrared without converting your camera

Aug 23, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

How to shoot infrared without converting your camera

Aug 23, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Infrared photos can be surreal, wonderful and a great way to try something completely new. However, if you want to shoot them you may have to convert your camera. Fortunately, there’s an easier and cheaper alternative, and this video from Craig Roberts of e6 Vlogs shows you how to take infrared photos without altering the camera.

The easier way is to use the infrared filters. They’re affordable and give pretty good results, but there are some tricks to shooting with them if you want to get correctly exposed, sharp images. So let’s check out what you need to know before you add the IR filter onto your lens.

YouTube video

First of all, the filter is a great alternative because it’s cheaper, and you can still use your camera to capture regular photos when you take it off. The filter blocks the visible light and allows the infrared light to pass through and create the photo. However, you need to remember that it absorbs about 10 stops of light, so you’ll need to take all the photos with longer exposures and on a tripod.

Absorbs about 10stops of light, you have to use a tripod and a long exposure. Craig uses 5 sec at f/5.6 and ISO 400 on a sunny day, which usually gives him good results. On the Live View of some cameras, you should be able to see the exposure preview. However, not all cameras offer it and if you look through the viewfinder, you’ll see dark, so set your exposure before putting the filter on.

Because of the longer exposure, keep in mind that the wind can make the foliage appear blurry. Sometimes it can create an interesting effect, but if it’s not your goal – choose a day without the wind to take your IR photos. White we’re at the weather conditions, keep in mind that these photos work best on a sunny day, because more IR light is reflected. On an overcast day, the results may not exactly be impressive.

Finally, as for the post-processing – Craig converts the photos to black and white and adds a bit of contrast and brightness tweaks, and that’s pretty much it. But of course, you can adjust it to your liking.

Although this may seem a bit demanding, it’s cheap and gives you more versatility because your camera remains intact. So, if you want to try something new and see if IR photography would suit you, I believe this is the way to go. At least for a start. If it grows on you – then think about converting the camera.

[The Easy Guide to Infrared Photography via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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One response to “How to shoot infrared without converting your camera”

  1. Steve Gey Avatar
    Steve Gey

    I’ve used both methods but after using a filter for a few months I was hooked and sent a body away to be converted. Much easier to use than filters and gives great results. Since then I’ve converted an old point and shoot into full spectrum although the autofocus gets too confused with the wider range of wavelength light I think