Shoot and Edit Infrared Photos With Any Camera

Infrared photography can be a wonderful new avenue to explore and can really get the creative juices flowing. It can also produce some otherworldly and beautiful images. Unfortunately, the cost and commitment of converting an existing camera to be capable of infrared is a barrier for many to trying it out. But, as this video demonstrates, you really don't need any specialized equipment to create great infrared images.

Every camera is sensitive to infrared, but camera manufacturers install a filter in front of the sensor to block infrared light. Converting a camera to infrared requires removing this infrared-blocking filter and instead installing one that transmits the infrared spectrum. Alternatively, you can have no filter at all installed and instead rely on filters that you put in from the lens. This is called “full-spectrum,” meaning your camera can now shoot anything from infrared to UV and visible light.

I had this type of conversion done on my old Nikon D800 after it met with an unfortunate accident, cracking the top and the pop-up flash, but was still able to shoot. I took the insurance money and decided to get a new camera and have the D800 converted to full spectrum. It's been fun to experiment with and has provided me with some images that are very unique and help me stand out at art shows.

However, I know not everyone has a spare camera just lying around to get converted to infrared. But the good news is that you don’t need one. This video from photographer Rob Shea provides a great tutorial on how you can get started shooting and editing infrared images with the camera you already own. All you need is your camera and a filter or two. This is a great way to get your feet wet without the more significant investment of converting one of your digital cameras to infrared.

Casey Chinn's picture

Casey Chinn is a landscape photographer based in Colorado Springs, CO. He leads workshops geared at helping beginning photographers understand the medium, and helping more experienced photographers develop their potential. He also teaches various photography classes at Pikes Peak Community College.

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