Infrared photography (when done properly and not in photoshop) uses camera filters or special infrared film to depict a world beyond visible light. The filters or film block light and only allow infrared light into the camera, capturing otherworldly colours. This is only a very basic explanation and I nowhere near understand it but I think that’s why I’m so intrigued. I became quite interested in this concept just because of how unique the photos look, so I decided to try and recreate the look in photoshop to see what the effect would look like applied to photos I like to take.
I have collected some examples of different types of infrared photography. These first three by Italian photographer, Paolo Pettigiani present a beautiful contrast between blue and cyan hues and the light, saturated corals of foliage. I think these are my favourite that I’ve seen just because the colours are so beautiful.
Foliage can also be a deeper blood red colour, or even a bright magenta, like in these two by Zak Van Biljon.
90% of photographer Pierre Louis Ferrer’s photo’s have been shot in infrared and as well as the more traditional red and pink hues, he has also shot a series in France that turns foliage into a bright canary yellow colour.
He has also done a black and white series in which foliage becomes white, giving almost the impression of snow and creating beautifully surreal landscapes.
I decided to try applying the effect to a few photos that I’ve taken (you may even recognise some of them from my other posts). I used this tutorial by SpoonGraphics to help me create the look:
My photos obviously nowhere near match the standard of the examples I showed and unfortunately, I was unable to achieve the deep red colour that I actually wanted to, but I quite like the slightly more muted corals as well. Perhaps if I’d spent more time in Photoshop tweaking it I could have done better but this really was just an experiment. I also think my photos would be more successful if there was more to contrast with the pink foliage, such as a blue sky or a larger expanse of more man-made environment like buildings or roads.
However I do think the technique is extremely interesting and just puts a bit of a unique spin on our perception of reality. I’m going to pick up some infrared film to try it out more authentically, and if I can I’ll try and seek out some sweeping landscapes or shoot on a sunny day for hopefully optimal results.