photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Dave | all galleries >> Infrared Images (Canon 300D Unmodified) >> Infrared Conversion / Work Flow > Starting Point – Unprocessed Image
previous | next

Starting Point – Unprocessed Image

This is the "Starting" image for the next series of Steps.  Please feel free to use this image to follow along in Photoshop if you wish...

Exposure Suggestions

A few things to note:

– Some lenses will work much better than others, I have had great luck with my Canon 50mm f/1.8. Some lenses may flare unacceptably, a hood may help.

– Different Cameras will require different exposure times. My Canon 300D takes several/many seconds to get a good exposure, it depends on your camera’s IR cut filter (normally a good thing).

– A tripod will be required. Use a shutter release cable or use the self-timer.

– Shoot RAW if possible since you will have more latitude to adjust exposure if necessary. You will also be able to adjust White Balance if necessary.

– I usually take multiple shots of the same scene and bracket almost everything since you don’t how it will look until you start working in Photoshop. I bracket everything when shooting: Shutter Speed (usually somewhere between 2 and 10 seconds), Aperture (f5.6 and f/8 seem to work well), and ISO setting (usually 200 or 400).

– Sun angle / sun position, time of day, etc. all become important variables. I need to experiment more with these, but peak of summer works well around Noon (i.e., strong sun).

– Interesting pictures have trees, clouds, water, and sky or something similar for contrast.

– The Hoya R72 IR Filter is nearly OPAQUE so setup your first shot composition WITHOUT the filter on. Once you got the scene setup switch to manual focus and put on the IR filter and start shooting. With the IR filter on, you won't see anything through the lens, but you will see something on the LCD after the picture has been taken.

– Shoot in MANUAL mode. You need complete control over your camera.

– I don't try to meter with the camera. I just use the histogram to judge exposure. (More below)

Initial Exposure: I usually start with something like 6 secs, f/8.0, ISO 400. Check through the EXIF data in my IR gallery for some further examples. Again, take lots of shots and bracket. Over time you will be able to better understand what a good histogram looks like for your camera when shooting IR. It won’t be the same as a traditional good exposure histogram. (Maybe only 1/2 to 2/3 to the right?). In general lower ISO settings will help reduce camera noise, but will increase your exposure time, so it is a tradeoff, but Photoshop can help with some advanced noise reduction. I don't try to meter using the camera, I just use the histogram as my exposure guide.

The actual exposure of this image was 1sec at f/4.0 ISO200.  Not sure how I got so lucky, but the sun angle and strength must have been just right.  Usually my exposure times are much longer (i.e., 4-8 secs).

other sizes: small medium original auto
comment | share
Belosz 24-Aug-2012 16:55
THANKS - it was very good & useful!

(from Hungary)
Longeen 03-Jun-2008 01:57
Thank-you Dave for your kindness in sharing your IR photography love with others.
guest 11-Jul-2006 10:36
have you ever tried setting a custom white balance? I'm not sure about canon, but with my nikon I can do something that gives me a chance to get straight from my camera pictures that needs no photoshop procesing. I switch to manual focusing, set the focus to infinity, mount my hoya r72 filter on, measure a custom WB (by pointing my camera to green grass in the full sun). and then I'm ready to shoot. when I look at lcd, I can already see white trees. the sky is brown. and there's no red, pink or whatever you want to call the color on the picture above.
hope it helps.
Guest 10-Mar-2006 19:05
same here; nice examples, I'll try some more in the summer...I got the cokin P IR for my KM 5D, makes some great 60s starbursts but that's about it.
Kees Terberg15-Feb-2006 12:28
Hehehe, that explains a lot. Hoya R72... I have recently purchased an IR filter which is nearly opaque. The result that you achieved here is already a great starting point and this is something that I have not yet been able to achieve. I might just go out and but one of these Hoya R72 filters. ;¬)