Messing About In Photoshop: Infrared Effect

For the last couple of weeks, i have been looking into Infrared photography.  I love the effect it has on landscapes.  With this kind of photography, you have three choices:

1) Get your camera converted into an infrared camera (you will never be able to shoot color with it again).

2) Get an infrared filter.  These are not that expensive and for around $80, you can get a very good one.

3) Use photoshop to simulate the effect.

Option 1 is out of the question for me.  Therefore, i have been looking at option 2 for the last couple of days.

You would think that finding a 52mm IR filter would be easy with all the camera stores here in Montreal.  Not so.

I looked everywhere and i was not able to find one.  I guess i will just have to resort to shopping online…. again.  Not good for the shops around here when Henry’s is getting my business.

Until i get an IR filter, i have resorted to option 3: use photoshop to simulate the effect.

Turning the photo itself into an “infrared” photo in Photoshop is not that hard at all.  It is when you get into the color channels where things get a bit tedious.

Here is the tutorial that i followed: (

The first step, is to turn your photo into a grey scale photo.  From there, you have a choice of applying an “infrared” effect.

Once you apply the “infrared” effect, that is when you start playing around with the color channels, layers, etc.  Again, kind of tedious in my opinion since i don’t like sitting in front of the computer for to long.

Here is the photo that i used for this little project:

DSCF0142 (2)

This photo was taken last year while apple picking.  After putting it through Photoshop and applying the “infrared” effect to it, this is what i came up with:


Yeah, it’s a bit of a mess, but not so bad for the first time around.

With the technique i learnt for Photoshop Elements, the process seems to leave color in the middle of the photo.  From there, the “infrared” effect seems to radiate outwards.

I am sure i can get better results if i practice more; though, in all honesty, i would much prefer getting an actual IR filter, then processing the photo.  The results would be more evenly balanced i believe.

On the other hand, if you are just going to use the black & white version of the “infrared” effect in Photoshop, it is quite nice and the result is really not indistinguishable from a photo taken with an actual IR filter.

I learnt something new today and that is what it is all about, learning.  Honestly, i will leave this Photoshop technique for those who have time and patience.  If i want a nice IR photo in black & white, the effect can be applied in Photoshop quite quickly.  A colored version is a different story.

Time to shop for an IR filter.

Happy shooting!



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