When you think of photography, it’s almost certain that the first image that pops into your mind is of a camera, but there are many other ways to capture images, one of which is in IR.
There are a variety of ways to capture images in infrared (IR), the most common of which is using a specialist sensor. But why would you want to and are there any tangible benefits? Here to help clean up any confusion you have about IR, we explain everything you need to know in this handy guide.
What is an IR Filter?
Infrared filters are sensors that allow infrared wavelengths to pass through them. So, if you are familiar with the workings of a camera, then you would know that infrared light is not detected by a camera sensor. However, the filter allows infrared light to pass through it.
So why go to the trouble of using an IR filter in your camera? Infrared photography allows you to take pictures that are totally black but with a warm color tone. This gives the images a vintage, old feel. On top of this, infrared filters are also used by photographers to create cool, surreal images. These surreal images can look quite eerie and eerie images are quite popular these days.
Benefits of IR Photography
- Create surreal images
- Give images a vintage feel
- Avoid overexposure
- Captures images with a glowing atmosphere
- Captures warmer color tones from your subjects
- Blends well with dark themes
Limitations of IR Photography
While there are a lot of advantages of using an IR filter for photography, there are also a few limitations.
Since infrared light is blocked by the atmosphere, it’s not possible to use infrared photography in places where the sun is very high in the sky.
However, if you are planning to use infrared photography during the night, you will have to use an IR filter that allows low wavelength light to pass through it. While infrared cameras allow you to take photos in the IR spectrum, they don’t allow you to take images during the day.
What to Look for in an IR Filter
Now that you know what an IR filter is and how infrared photography works, it’s time to go out and buy one. However, before you do, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when shopping for an infrared filter.
The first thing that you should keep in mind when shopping for an IR filter is the wavelength. IR filters allow light with a certain wavelength to pass through them. So you need to buy an IR filter that allows IR light with a particular wavelength to pass through it.
The next thing that you should keep in mind when shopping for an IR filter is the size of the filter. IR filters come in different sizes, and the smaller the size of the filter, the more it will attenuate. So you need to buy an IR filter that filters out the right amount of light.
Also, while you are looking for an IR filter, make sure that you don’t just buy a filter because it says that it’s an infrared filter. Some filters may just look like infrared filters, but they won’t filter infrared light. So, make sure that you buy an infrared filter.
Along with all these, you should also take note of the brand of the filter. When buying an IR filter, it’s important to buy from a reputed brand.
Can you take infrared photos with a DSLR camera?
It is possible to take photos on a DSLR if you have the right equipment. The process of taking infrared photos with a DSLR camera is pretty much similar to taking regular photos. All you need to do is to use an infrared filter on your lens that allows IR light to pass through it.
You can find these filters at most camera stores, or you can buy them online. While you are out looking for an IR filter, make sure that you check the packaging carefully so that you don’t buy a filter that is not what you want. Infrared filters come in different brands and the packaging of the filter is the easiest way to tell whether what you are buying is an infrared filter or not. You’ll want to look at getting an IR blaster.
What is an IR blaster?
An IR blasters is an IR light source that allows you to shoot infrared photos with a DSLR camera. This is because most DSLR cameras don’t have an internal infrared light source. So, the only way to take infrared photos with a DSLR camera is to use an external infrared light source.
External infrared light sources come in two forms – a flash or a bulb. External infrared light sources are a bit expensive as compared to an internal infrared light source. However, if you are planning to shoot a lot of infrared photos, it’s a good idea to spend a little extra money and buy an internal infrared light source.
Can you take infrared photos with a smartphone?
Even on the best camera phones, it’s not possible to take infrared photos with a smartphone directly. However, it is possible to take infrared photos with a smartphone that has an IR filter.
Before we go further, it’s important to note that you will have to shoot your photos in manual mode with a long exposure time. This way, the phone will have to process the image and extract the infrared component from it.
To take infrared photos with a smartphone, all you need to do is to use an IR filter on your camera lens, and place the phone behind it. Now, whenever you want to take a picture, place your phone behind the lens and shoot your photo.