Infrared and Full Spectrum Photography – A Complete Guide


if you found this video that means you
have some interest in infrared photography so I’ve put together a
comprehensive guide on infrared and full-spectrum photography before we begin I just want to warn you
that this is a really really long video now for your convenience I’m going to
put timestamps and kind of a table of contents in the description below so be
sure to check that out now if you’re interested in actually shooting and
editing tutorials for infrared and creating like a DNG profile I already
have videos on that and for those you can find them in the playlist below
cause tutorials and I’m going to put them also in the description for you
before we can actually start talking about infrared photography I have to
talk to you about the electromagnetic spectrum and where infrared photography
falls in all of this before we can talk about em for a
photography first we have to talk about the electromagnetic spectrum
now think of light as or think of energy actually as having different frequencies
for example you have gamma rays on one end and you have radio waves on the
other now the more dangerous waves or things like gamma rays they are really
really high energy and actually the wavelength is as small as a neutron or
actually even smaller for that matter on the other end you have things like radio
waves these are much longer now we’re going to be working between these two
extremes between gamma rays and radio waves now between gamma rays and radio
waves you also have things like x-rays or ultraviolet there’s visible light and
infrared light which is what we’re interested in there’s also microwaves
but we don’t really have to get into that today we’re only going to be
focusing on visible lights and infrared light now visible light is 380
nanometers and infrared light is can go up to 900 nanometers now there’s one
thing you should know as the waves get longer you start to lose color so you
have more colorful visible light which is 380 nanometers but once you get to
900 nanometers then you’re just doing pure black and white so here for example
we have a picture with a regular camera at 380 nanometers which is visible light next we have an infrared picture shot with 590 nanometers as you
can see it’s quite colorful but next I have a picture with 680 nanometers it’s
still a little colorful but you can see it’s starting to lose its color finally
we have a picture shot infrared 780 nanometers the Hoya r72 filter by now
it’s getting really desaturated but once you get to 900 nanometers
you’re pretty much shooting complete black-and-white infrared it’s up to you
to choose which camera you want and which infrared camera conversion you’re going to be
using for your infrared photos now that we’ve gone other science out of the way
and you understand how light works about visible light and infrared let’s talk
about infrared photography now when a camera sensor is first being made it
doesn’t really know the difference between ultraviolet x-ray visible light
or infrared light so what the camera manufacturers do is that they actually
put kind of filters to block all the other lights so
your camera right now is actually has filters to block things like UV light
and infrared light and only let through visible light the problem though were
actually not really a problem for us is that it is not a hundred percent
effective so let’s say maybe like two percent of infrared light gets through
the filter that’s designed to block the infrared light so what we’re going to do
with our camera is we’re going to be putting a filter that blocks visible
light and because say two percent of infrared light still gets through you’re
going to be basically doing a long exposure to capture the infrared light
with your camera alright now that we’ve covered all the sciency stuff we can
actually start talking about infrared photography now believe it or not you
don’t actually need an infrared camera to take pictures you can actually buy a
filter for example the Hoya r72 filter that stands for 720 nanometers future
and you can actually screw that on on any camera and you can take infrared
photos now this is the Hoya r72 filter R for infrared 72 for 720 nanometers
this means it’s going to block any light under 720 nanometers and let anything
above through so what this does is it’s going to block the visible light and
it’s going to that only infrared light through to the camera if you remember
your camera sensor cannot block all the infra light but it tries to so what you
need to do is put this on your camera and use a tripod and do a long exposure
to capture enough infrared light to get an infrared picture you can do this with
any camera it doesn’t matter as long as you can do long exposures you know
people always ask me which camera do I use with the Hoya r72 filter the answer
is it doesn’t really matter I can even do it with my phone I have phone
infrared photography videos using this filter and the reason I don’t need a
filter with the phone is because phone voters that block infrared light are not
as strong as the ones in DSLRs so if you like you can buy the Hoya r72 filter you
can buy it on Google you can buy it on Amazon put it on your camera and you’re
gonna be doing long exposures in the daytime but at least you’ll be shooting
infrared so this is the cheapest method to shoot infrared photos using the
camera you have now with the Hoya r72 filter but you’re going to be needing a
tripod for long exposures they’re pretty easy to find they cost around 70 dollars
so if you’re just starting infrared photography I would suggest buying this
because it’s like the cheapest alternative plus you can use it on any
camera now people always ask me which camera I use for my infrared photos with
the Hoya r72 filter and the answer is you can use any camera you can even use
your phone the way the Hoya r72 filter works is it blocks all visible light and
it only lets infrared light through so anything under seven hundred and twenty
nanometers does not get through and anything above 720 nanometers goes
through one more thing that I want to talk about regarding the Hoya r72 filter
and shooting with a regular camera is that you can only shoot 720 nanometers
with an unmodified camera I’ve had people tell me that they bought like a
590 nanometers filter and they try to put on the regular camera but the
pictures came out all red that’s because it’s impossible to use
those kind of filters on a regular camera if you see your future for 590
nanometers it’s not for a regular camera it’s for a full-spectrum camera so those
filters only work on full-spectrum cameras and I just want to repeat it’s
impossible to use a 590 nanometers filter on a regular camera if you’re
using a regular camera the only infrared filters you can use
are 720 and 900 nanometers so just wanted to
clarify that before we go on now at some point if you are interested in pursuing
infrared you might want to upgrade to an infrared camera if you remember I said
there’s a different options there’s the modified in for a camera or
a full-spectrum camera so now I’m going to talk about getting a modified
infrared camera because that’s what I had this is my Canon m2 I got this on
ebay and it’s a 590 nanometer infrared camera now it’s between visible light
and infrared so that’s why the pictures are so colorful when you get a modified
infrared camera it’s at a fixed wavelength so – 590 I can’t really shoot
other wavelengths if I wanted well actually I haven’t really tried
I think it’s theoretically possible to use the Hoya r72 filter with this
camera and get much darker images but the point I want to say is if you get a
modified infrared camera that shoots at 720 nanometers you’re not going to be
able to shoot at 590 nanometers so if you get one that’s 590 nanometers you
might be able to shoot 720 if you have the Hoya r22 filter on it anyways people
always ask which infrared camera I use and I just want to make it I just want
to point out that it doesn’t really matter just because I use the Canon m2
does not mean you need to get the Canon m2 to shoot him for it photos the reason
I got the Canon m2 is because it was a cheapest one on ebay and at the end of
the video I’m going to talk about how to get these cameras but I just wanted to
point out that you can get any camera modified to shoot infrared photography
as long and I recommend using one that shoots raw and that you can change the
lens but once again just because I have the Canon m2 does not mean that you need
to get the canon name – it’s not the camera that takes the picture in this
case it’s actually the wavelength so it’s a 590 nanometers wavelength that
you want if you want the more colorful infrared pictures not necessarily
because it’s shot on a canon m2 now the good things about shooting with the
modified infrared camera is that you don’t need a tripod so you’re basically
going to be shooting the camera like a normal camera but you’re not going to be
getting visible light colors you’re only going to be getting the infrared colors
that you got the camera with so if you got a 590 camera you’re going to be
shooting more colorful pictures if you got a 720 it’s going to be a little bit
more less saturated if you got like a 680 kind of a mix between both and you
got like a 900 nanometer it’s going to be pretty much black-and-white so choose
wisely how you want your fix for fixed
wavelength on your infrared camera I must also point out that these are not
the cheapest cameras to get I mean it’s quite expensive to get one modified and
it’s also expensive to buy a new camera that’s already been modified so I’ll
talk about all that at the end of the video if you’re interested for now let’s
talk about full-spectrum cameras okay so there is a third option not only can you
use your regular camera with the r72 filter or a modified infrared camera
with a fixed wavelength you can also get a full-spectrum camera to shoot infrared
pictures now originally this was an infrared camera modified to 590 and just
this past summer I actually had it modified to be a full-spectrum camera
what this means is that I can shoot UV light pictures I can shoot visible light
photos and I can shoot infrared photos because the sensor lets in all of that
if I want to take an infrared photo I’m going to be putting a filter on this for
a fixed wavelength so these are the filters I use for this full-spectrum
camera it blocks anything under the wavelength that I set it to
I bought the 590 nanometer filters that means it’s going to block anything under
590 and only let anything above 590 through if I want I could actually put a
visible light filter that allows only visible light and it blocks all infrared
light through so I can actually take normal pictures with this full-spectrum
camera so yes that is one of the bonuses of getting a full spectrum camera is
that you can shoot you can switch between taking normal pictures and
taking infrared pictures but the real the downside of all this is that these
filters are not cheap not only are you paying for a modified full-spectrum
camera conversion but you’re also having to buy various filters to kind of
emulate the filters that the sensor is usually come with so if you want to take
normal pictures you have to buy a filter that blocks all infrared light if you
want to take infrared photos you gotta buy filters that block visible light and
so on so it’s really up to you what you want to buy so yeah we talked about
shooting with a regular camera shooting with an infrared camera and shooting
with a full-spectrum camera and really let’s just recap the pros and cons of
each first of all if you’re shooting with a regular camera you’re limited to
shooting with the Hoya r72 filter you can’t use other filters with it maybe
900 nanometers but you’re going to be doing long exposures that means you need
to use a tripod and you’re also going to be having to do quite a bit of
post-production to get that infrared look the good thing about it is that
it’s the cheapest option especially if you’re just getting into infrared
photography and I recommend most people start with the Hoya
arsenal to filter and not just dive straight into infrared because then they
might find out that it’s not really their kind of thing and they you spend a
lot of money on it next up is the infrared camera now the great thing
about it is that you don’t need to use long shutter speeds you can just take
pictures however you’d like basically like a regular camera
so it no tripod there isn’t really much of a downside except that you just stuck
with a focal length that you choose and it’s also kind of expensive not only if
you want to get the camera converted or if you buy it on the internet it’s not
going to be cheap lastly we have a full-spectrum camera which is pretty
much almost the same as a infrared camera but the problem is was not really
a problem but you’re going to be spending a lot more money on filters if
you want to shoot visible lights if you want to shoot different wavelengths of
infrared light but if you’re willing to spend that much money by all means go
ahead and you actually you don’t one of the pros of full-spectrum camera is that
you don’t need to post process as much when you’re post-processing when you
shoot with a Hoya R72 filter and when you shoot with a infrared camera
you actually have to do much more post-processing and with a full-spectrum
camera it’s pretty much straight into Lightroom and edit the way you took it
it also is great for shooting infrared video like it’s actually a full-spectrum
video it’s more harder to process infrared video so I will do a video
about that in the future now the question I get the most is where can i
buy these cameras where actually most people ask me where can i buy your
camera and once again I work one point out my camera is not important what’s
important is the wavelength so I actually got my camera on eBay I know
it’s gonna surprise a lot of people but actually a lot of people buy infrared
cameras only to find out they’re not into infrared so then they sell them for
cheaper on eBay so step one go to ebay and search for infrared camera it’s
quite simple now my suggestion is to buy a camera that shoots raw and that you
can change the lenses which one you want is really up to you but actually there’s
a lot of point-and-shoot infrared converting cameras on eBay you can get
one for as cheap as $70 or I think I’ve seen them as low as $50 so if you’re
looking for a cheaper alternative I’d go that way but really it’s up to you this
anything goes for a full-spectrum camera you can find them on eBay just as easily
as you can find an infrared photo camera as for the filters you’re going to be
having to search on Amazon or pretty much anywhere on the internet but mostly
Amazon carries the arts and it to filter and so does eBay remember if you see a
future that’s 590 nanometers it doesn’t work on a regular camera that only works
on a full-spectrum camera all right if you’re shooting with a regular camera
you’re pretty much limited to the Hoya Arseniy two filter that’s just the way
it is I think you can use the Hoya arseling to filter on an infrared camera
that shoots 590 but you cannot shoot 590 if you have an infrared camera that’s
set at 720 unfortunately now there’s another option outside of buying these
cameras already modified their services such as Lifepixel or Kolarivision
there’s actually many more the only downside to these is that I think it’s
kind of expensive to get them modified and you also have to mail in your camera
wait awhile and then they’ll made it back so in my opinion you can just buy
them already modified on eBay and as for me I actually I was in Hong
Kong at the time so I just got it modified to full-spectrum camera while I
was in Hong Kong for cheaper but yeah I hope this video helped out some people
interested in infrared photography and please be sure to give me a like or
leave a comments and share this video with anyone interested in infrared
photography because they will really help me out and if you haven’t already
please subscribe in case you forgot I do have tutorials on other infrared related
stuff so please check the playlist down below and I’ll see you around

21 Replies to “Infrared and Full Spectrum Photography – A Complete Guide

  1. βœ… Websites

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  2. I use the Hoya 72. Pretty nice to work with but is always a long exposure and is not always easy to choose the amount of light. Anyway thx for your video. You clarified some aspects that websites in general don’t .

  3. That's so interesting never delved into this side of photography. Really beautiful images. Thanks so much for sharing the info, cheers!

  4. I have never done this, but its definitely something I would be interested in trying, its a cool look!

  5. Nice video, there are a lot of misconceptions about infrared photography.I wonder if a nice $500 infrared/full spectrum camera model could sell well…

  6. Thank you for the video! A lot of insight, truly a complete guide i have not found with other tutorial

  7. Great tutorial, it really clarify a lot of things. Now I understand the lack of color in my IR photos. Please keep doing this kind of work I really enjoy it and motivates me to go out and take some photos.

  8. Really nice video Noealz, it's a good topic that isn't talked about much. We've just started our own photography YouTube channel and we just wanted to make connections with like-minded creatives. Not asking for you to check out all our videos but if you have a few minutes to check us out then we'll be so grateful. Have a great day πŸ™‚ Looking forward to your next vid.

  9. Cool infrared shots! I have an infrared filter because I wanted to do some infrareds but I did not use it so often, even if I like it. Need to do a bit more πŸ™‚

  10. sorry,if i want shoot in infrared light(580 nm) then can i shoot also in the nexts spectrum? 680,780,900?
    for making this i need a modified camera(just that wavelenght) or full spectrum?

    and for full spectrum i need the all filters right?

    sorry i’m not english.

  11. Nice presentation that covers a lot. One point is that with an unmodified dslr you can use R72 – R87 and anything in between. I believe the R72 cuts out 50% at 720 nm so it does allow more through at the top end of the visible spectrum which can be used to generate more color in post processing, but the even bigger advantage is that it produces a much brighter live view image for use in composition and focusing than does, say a filter at 870 nm. Great info on picking up an already modified camera. I am going to look into that for sure. Thanks for the great video !

  12. Thanks, it's really interesting! Also I am maybe missing something, but what's the meaning of colored pictures with infrared camera as it is not in the visible range? Black and white pictures do make sense to me as it is representative to a specific wavelength but why some pictures are pink saturated?

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