Post-Processing Infrared Photographs in Photoshop
I have recently become interested in Infrared Photography and I had a bit of trouble finding good ways to post-process my IR photos. So, here is my method to editing those starkly ‘red/magenta’ photographs!
This is the before/after shot:
Infrared photography is a special technique in which you use an Infrared Filter, which you attach over your lens like any other lens filter – then take an exposure using a fairly long shutter speed (dependent on light source). The IR-Filter blocks all other light and allows only Infrared light to pass through onto your sensor/film. The photograph you end up with has a very red/magenta Hue, which now presents us with the task of post-processing the photograph to create an interesting representation of our world in Infrared light.
Please be aware that not all cameras are ideal for infrared photography, mainly due to the strong IR filters already within the camera designed to protect the cameras sensor. To test whether your camera is ideal or not, simply grab a remote control with an IR transmitter (most TV remotes), and switch to your live view mode. Aiming the remote at your camera while pressing the buttons, you should notice the “purple” colour of the remote transmitter light. The intensity will vary for every camera, however put simply the greater amount of light that you see the better your camera is for Infrared photography.
I’ve done this Photoshop :
- Firstly open your raw IR photograph in Photoshop
- If you use the raw editing interface it is very easy to reduce the red – this should open automatically when opening your raw file through Photoshop
In Camera Raw 5.0/6.0:
- Choose custom White Balance, and set the Temperature to 2000
- Adjust the Tint to full green -150, if needed:
- Adjust the Saturation (Bottom) – I have reduced mine by -56
- You can do minor adjustments in Camera Raw, or just leave and open up the image
- I also recommend looking at the HSL/Grayscale (fourth tab) options for further refinement, adjusting the Hue especially!
- At this point I had done most of my editing and was reasonably happy with the result! You might as well!
2. Channel Mixer (recommended)
- Now, we need to change the colours Red and Blue by colour swapping:
- Go, Image –> Adjustments –> Channel Mixer
- Swap Red to Blue: 0%, 0%, 100%
- Swap Blue to Red: 100%, 0%, 0%
2.b. Inversion Layer
A simpler method is to duplicate the original, then invert the duplicate, and set to color blend:
- Duplicate Layer,
- Invert layer, go Image –> Adjustments –> Invert (Cmd/Ctrl + I)
- And set to Color blend mode:
3. Hue Shift
- Now colouring your photograph with a simply Hue Shift:
- Go, Image –> Adjustments –> Hue (Cmd/Ctrl + U)
- And slide to your desired colour:
- Now, use levels to correct the whites, go Image –> Adjustments –> Levels (Cmd/Ctrl + L)
- Either clicking Auto Levels will work or using the white point sampler on grass, leaves will do the job:
That’s it :)! If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!
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