Infrared Car Photography? Why Not.

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I’ve shot infrared photographs at car shows before but usually at events held on the grass where there with lots of trees to add to the whole IR effect. Inspired by my friend, Mark Toal, I decided to take my Panasonic Lumix G5 that had been converted to IR-only capture by LifePixel to the Cars & Coffee event in Parker, CO… and I had fun.

Parker’s Cars & Coffee runs from 9:00AM to Noon, which is when it’s peak infrared shooting time. The old rule of thumb for IR is that the worst time of day—high noon and thereabouts—is the best time to shoot IR. Shooting at other times creates some problems: Converted cameras (depending on the lens) can get flarey when the sun is not overhead and you also more prone to get shadows in the shot, both of which don’t enhance the image.



Panasonic doesn’t make a lens hood for the Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH lens but there are some available on Amazon at affordable prices and they are “better than nothing.”  I just shot using my old standard system when shooting with an IR converted camera. I shoot RAW+JPEG with the camera in Monochrome mode so I use the LCD screen, and the G5’s viewfinder, and a preview of what a finished IR image might look like after I’ve processed the RAW file.

The images that you see here were processed in the free Silver Efex Pro software, with me occasionally dipping into the also free Color Efex Pro and Vivenza.

You can try infrared photography for yourself at car shows and everywhere else by having one of your old cameras that’s sitting around gathering dust converted to IR-only operation.


My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is currently out-of-print but used copies are available from Amazon starting from $5.00. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies selling for four bucks.