40 Incredible Near-Infrared Photos

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One of the most charming contrasting color effects you can get in photography is by using infrared. An easy way to understand near-infrared light is to think of it as the color of the rainbow next to red, a color that is invisible to the human eye. But near-infrared is not the same as thermal imaging.

Because everyday objects reflect infrared in proportions that differ sharply from that of visible light, the tonal relationships are wildly unexpected. Such near-infrared techniques used in photography give subjects an exotic, antique look. Green vegetation becomes white, whereas human skin becomes pale and ghostly. The resulting images look alien.

Digital cameras use CCD and other similar sensors to capture infrared images. Although all digital cameras available on the market are sensitive to infrared light, they are equipped with infrared-blocking filters. The main reason for this is that consumer cameras are designed to capture visible light. But sometimes these filters are used together, giving very interesting in-camera effects like false color, wood effects etc.

To start with infrared photography, all you need to have is

  1. A digital camera that is sensitive to infrared light.
  2. A visible-light blocking filter (e.g. a Wratten 89B filter)
  3. Image-editing software, such as Photoshop.

Near-infrared images straight out of the camera do not always look good and are usually not as dramatic and beautiful as normally captured images. Hence, a lot of post-processing is done to enhance these images. Some techniques used in post-processing are equalization, focus shift, small aperture, light leaks, digital false color, halo, etc.

Below, we present a selection of over 40 beautiful infrared images. Some of these images have undergone heavy post-processing, and all of these examples display the names of the photographers, along with links to their websites.

Also take a look at our previous photography articles:

The Beauty Of Infrared Photography

Mark Grealish

Infrared Photo

Omar Junior

Infrared Photo

NASA
“The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared”.

Infrared Photo

Jernej Verbovsek

Infrared Photo

G2-Studio Photography

Infrared Photo

Orange Bread

Infrared Photo

Naomi Frost

Infrared Photo

Corrado Borean

Infrared Photo

Daniella T

Infrared Photo

Cavagna Ottavio

Infrared Photo

Bruna Marchioro

Infrared Photo

Infrared Photo

NASA
“Huge Hi-Res Photo of ‘Infrared Andromeda’ with 1 trillion stars”

Infrared Photo

Roie Galitz
This photo is titled “The Fisherman”.

Infrared Photo

the dreaming tree

Infrared Photo

Steve Castle

Infrared Photo

Musin Yohan

Infrared Photo

18mm

Infrared Photo

Almazroa

Infrared Photo

NASA
“An infrared image of Saturn’s northern region shows a luminous aurora with the planet’s mottled rings below.”

Infrared Photo

Daniella T.

Infrared Photo

Frank Brauner

Infrared Photo

Infrared Photo

Guto

Infrared Photo

Infrared-IR

Infrared Photo

Scott Pruett

Infrared Photo

Otit

Infrared Photo

Infrared Photo

Gilad

Infrared Photo

Romulo Lubachesky

Infrared Photo

Infrared Photo

Infrared Photo

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Licht

Infrared Photo

Infrared Photo

Dave Deluria

Infrared Photo

Last Click

Naomi Frost

Infrared Photo

ec808x

Infrared Photo

Trazy

Infrared Photo

Sources and Resources

(al)

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Vailancio Rodrigues is a web ninja who bakes semantic muffins. Apart from that he is also interested in Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, Photography and knows little bit of Physics due to his college education . He is from Goa - a beautiful tropical paradise in India.

  1. 1

    Just beautiful! Its a cool technique and tons of fun to look at. Good stuff!

    ~Jason

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  2. 2

    These look great! Love the shots. Thanks for the collection!

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  3. 3

    cant believe this is all done without ps. i love the pic from danielle with the wolf on the right. sm you inspired me today, thank you

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  4. 4

    Nice collection.

    @Tom – Not all is done without Photoshop, though, some are, and photos can turn out very nice without it.

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  5. 5

    (((~_~))) | Rishee

    January 11, 2009 10:16 pm

    WOw!……..gr8 Collections……..Loved all :-)

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  6. 6

    Some of those are pretty nice shots. Thanx for the collection.

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  7. 7

    Wowwwwwww

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  8. 8
  9. 9

    good sharing

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  10. 10

    Wow, that´s a good day start!!!!

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  11. 11

    Amazing Collection Vailancio… Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. 12

    As a web desiger with a passion for photography I love SM’s occasional dip into the imaging world – great stuff, and thank you!

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  13. 13

    Really nice shots….

    Might have to haev a play and see if I can get anything as interesting and individual as these. Great article SM.

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  14. 14
  15. 15

    Just beautiful! Those people sure put some work in it.

    Michael
    Menedżer

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  16. 16

    I love the last photo. (trazy)

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  17. 17

    So great post , Really Sweeties Pictures Smashing Magazine , Thanks , love it

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  18. 18

    It’s a pity you only include one B&W pictures. Many times the results are far better than color infrared.

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  19. 19

    Thats a great collection, I love the image by Corrado Borean, it’s looks like an amazing place too! Thanks SM!

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  20. 20

    Good selection of pictures. Thanks!

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  21. 21

    Awesome – awesome – awesome!

    Thanks!

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  22. 22

    Excellent, try this similar one on LONG EXPOSURES:

    20 Long Exposure photographs that won’t fail to inspire

    Thanks all, love the site

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  24. 24

    I’ve seen ‘Gilad’s work before, though I never fully understood how this technique worked.

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  25. 25

    Some very nice pictures in here, I’d love to try that technique out myself… It’s a shame these filters are so expensive.

    Anyway, I still have to mention that I think some of these pictures are ONLY done with post-processing and don’t have anything to do with actually using IR filters. For example: the works of Jernej Verbovsek, G2-Studio Photography or Corrado Borean dont really seem like IR-fotography. Cause first of all, using a IR-filter you need a way longer time of exposure than for a normal photo to allow enough infrared light to get through. Thus it might be difficult to take a picture that captures any moving subjects (like a duck, a waving surface of water, people…) Secondly, leaves and grass reflect infrared light almost to 100%, which is how this great effect of white trees in front of dark skies is created. So anything with dark leaves or forcibly short exposure time might just be a photoshop fake. Not that I’d think of that as bad… I’ve tried that myself, and you get pretty good results for less money. I’m just mentioning this for general enlightenment.;)
    (Of course there are filters that don’t strictly filter out every light wave frequency except IR, and you could get “in between” results with them, but i guess what’s been done here is really just photoshopping of normal pictures.)

    BTW: For anyone who wants to try out IR-photography: Before running to your local photoequipment dealer, make sure that your camera is actually IR sensitive (because this varies considerably among normal digital cameras). This can easily be done by taking a long-time-exposure photo of a IR remote device (like most standard tv remote devices) in a dark room while constantly pressing a button on the device. If you see the little IR bulb glow on the photo, you’re free to run off to the photo shop…;)

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  26. 26

    Hi there,

    I created this site Digital Infrared Photos a few ago, if you want to get more info about infrared photography.
    Actually I was happy to see that I have completely different photos on my site except maybe 1.

    Thank you SM for another great compilation !

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  27. 27

    @Bryce Driesenga so, i need a tutorial for those effects or something to read – for understanding techniques and maybe used plugins. but great pics

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  28. 28

    @shasta The IR filters aren’t that expensive if you get them from ebay. I was lucky enough to get mine for about $35 (Hoya R72)

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  29. 29

    Those are beautiful. All I can say is WOW!

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  30. 30

    magnifique !

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  31. 31

    wow perfect photos :O

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  32. 32

    Beautiful…

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  33. 33

    wow … nice photos !!! O_O

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  34. 34

    Plenty of nice images but i doubt half of them were actually shot like they are shown here. I.e. with IR light and using blocking filters for other wavelengths. The rest is Photoshop and other tools at work. So please don’t call it photography when it isn’t. Also I suppose a number of the photos are from stock image libraries and or combinations with these.

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    • 35

      Just because a photo has been photo-shopped does not mean that it isn’t photography. If they took the pic with a camera- that makes it clear enough for me what it is. Are you going to say that a cropped photo isn’t photography? It sounds clear that you are just hatin’ on some of the most beautiful pics I have ever seen. Some people are just more creative with the resources available. You should try it.

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  35. 36

    Wow arent we full of new year cheer. Relax man and enjoy some lovely “imagery” regardless of how it came to be.

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  36. 37

    Awesome!!!!!

    Specially

    Daniella T, Cavagna Ottavio, Bruna Marchioro, Frank Brauner, Giladm, Romulo Lubachesky

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  37. 38

    I’m totally stunned. Haven’t thought it could be soooo beautiful!!!

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  38. 39

    I think Stuart is right!!! Enjoy PICS

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  39. 40

    amazing!

    Where is that triangle, UFO spaceship thing located?
    http://88.198.60.17/images/infrared-photography/irr.jpg

    It reminds me of the logo of this company http://www.spafu.nl/

    Does it have any symbolic meaning?

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  40. 41

    @shasta – you can have normal exposure time if you modify your DSLR camera. All you have to do is to remove an IR filter from the sensor. This filter filters out the infrared light spectrum and this is the reason of very long exposure time.

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  41. 42

    Great! *__________*

    Brokendollie.com

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  42. 43

    so beautiful!

    1
  43. 44

    This sucks.

    just kidding. its great.

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  44. 45

    Awesome pictures!!

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  45. 46

    Can it still be called photography? Most of them not. I dont like them at all. Sorry

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  46. 47

    Desolate Metropolis Photography has some great infrared examples

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  47. 48

    Jonathan Steele aka UlteriorArt.com

    January 15, 2009 5:09 am

    Wonderful.

    Especially liked the ones that were frosty white.

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  48. 49

    You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a good IR filter:
    http://www.photofilter.com/hoyair.html#R72

    You can also have your camera converted to focus on the IR portion of the spectrum and avoid using the opaque filters. Check out the list to see if it is possible to convert your camera model.
    http://www.lifepixel.com/IR.htm

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  49. 50

    Jake-DesignerFied

    January 17, 2009 12:45 am

    Wow, Omar Junior is my favorite!! Great post!

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  50. 51

    Here’s the thing. If those pictures were not made with the technique described, then they don’t belong here. It doesn’t matter if they’re beautiful or not. It just means that the description is inaccurate if you chose to include those.

    And a true IR photo is still PHOTOgraphy, since IR is light (photo) and you’re making an image (graph). In fact, you can get IR film and use it like any other film. Photoshop is another thing still.

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  51. 52

    Here’s my favorite digital infrared picture that I’ve taken:

    Field of Fire

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  52. 53

    G.R.E.A.T !

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  53. 54

    Wow! I want to learn this. Had read about IR on film in 1999 and thought it was for night vision like pics in near darkness and or using a infrared light source.

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  54. 55
  55. 56

    Breath taking!!!!

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  56. 57

    Somebody informed me my image was here.

    Thanks for appreciating my attempt at IR.

    I used a Hoya R72 on a Nikon D80 using a 17-55 DX lens. I then used the simple processing technique in lifepixel.com.

    Just remember, the hotter the scene (literally), the more vibrant your image is with more contrast and better depth.

    Thanks for appreciating.

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  57. 58

    Wayfaring Wanderer

    January 22, 2009 3:44 pm

    That beach scene is so surreal. You see many infrared photos, but I have never seen anything quite like that…..Amazing!

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  58. 59

    beautiful..there aren’t words which could describe these photos..

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  59. 60

    How about this Janis “Absolutely stunning especially the winter scenes”

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  60. 61

    These are some beautiful photos, though some of them are not IR at all, i read someones comment about black and white IR, and its true they come out alot better.
    I still consider myself amatuer for sure, but ive been told that i have some good work on here. http://bwasserphotos.blogspot.com
    Though some of them i admit are garbage.

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  61. 62

    What it’s all about!

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  62. 63
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  64. 65

    Wow..!!!!!!!! Mind blowing…
    Really amazing… !!!!!!!!!!!

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  65. 66

    Beautiful set of IR images. Fantastic work from some very talented individuals. There is a LOT of post processing involved with these photos, but that in no way reflects negatively on the artists or their work. Quite the contrary. It is very obvious that they have all captured these scenes in the IR spectrum of light using various value IR pass filters, and yes, most have probably come from cameras that have been modified to remove the internal IR blocking filter. It is next to impossible to post process a photo taken in visible light and come up with results like these. The light captured is just very different.

    Take a look at my tutorials and Featured Photographers on my site http://www.irbuzz.blogspot.com for some ideas about what it takes to shoot IR.

    Regards, -=- Jerry -=-

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  66. 67

    I like all picture have a lovely beautifull and lucky weekend

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  67. 68

    ….ok, 40 nearly infrared and nearly incredible photographs showcased here at nearly “SmashingMagazine” :) :P …. a nearly great site to browse !! :)

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  68. 69

    This just rocks my world!
    I’m an IR fan and photographer, so this is great inspiration.

    http://www.KramerKreations.com

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  69. 70

    Wow, its amazing..! I love photography and IR too..you give me an inspiration for photo angel and IR Style! Great

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  70. 71

    all of this sucks i am so much better at this then you are

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  71. 72

    These are amazing!

    It would be interesting to see how they looked before being Photoshopped.

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  72. 73

    HYPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  73. 74

    Fantastic! Now I have to explore doing this sort of Photography too.

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  74. 75

    Awesome article…..i like the technique and wanted to try it……

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  75. 76

    I thought you might be interested in posting a link to this Infrared Timelapse movie created using a Canon 5D Mark II.

    http://blog.andrewshurtleff.com/multimedia-archive/

    Thank you for your time.

    Andrew Shurtleff

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