Photographing Cars in Infrared

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

All photographs are about lighting but infrared photography is all about capturing images with invisible light, which is why comparisons to traditional photography can be difficult. If you want to create a dramatic image, few things beat a beautiful sunrise photographed in vibrant colors. The same scene photographed in infrared may be disappointing unless there’s some IR reflective subject matter—aka foliage—to add interest. That’s because the “Wood Effect” (bright to white reproduction of the chlorophyll layer of deciduous plants) appears strongest at low sun levels in black-and-white IR images.

Here’s an interesting fact about infrared photography: If the lighting looks great for standard photographs, such as a beautiful sunrise and sunset, it’s probably not going to work all that well for infrared photography. Don’t take my word for it; you need to experiment because you never know for sure what the results will be when working in infrared until you try. There are no ‘official’ subjects for digital IR photography. Summer landscapes with leafy deciduous trees, lots of grass, and puffy clouds often make a great infrared picture. But don’t confine yourself to landscapes.

Some of the artists in my book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” like to photograph people in IR but I like to shoot cars and made the above picture of two classic Jaguars (above) in infrared with a camera converted by LifePixel. To insure sharp focus I set the manual focus 16mm lens using the hyperfocal distance. Any subject is fair game if you want to produce digital infrared images, My  advice is to experiment to discover what works. You may be surprised at the variety of subject matter you can find for your IR photographs.

IR.bookLife Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they have done all of conversions for my Canon DSLRs as well as Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras.


Copies of my book, “The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography,” are available from Amazon for $37.65 but used copies are just $13.71 as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available used from Amazon for $4.00. Copies of both make a nice gift for a friend or yourself.