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Basic Black and White IR Photography How-To's

Have you ever wanted to try out black and white infrared photography but don't know where to begin? Look no further; here's a tipster to get you on the right track!

Photo by mylatehope

Infrared (IR) photography falls under the more advanced level of photography. Looking alone at its many definitions offered by various sources online is enough to intimidate and confuse a beginner wanting to try it out for the first time. Luckily, we were able to stumble upon a YouTube video by photographer Scott Wittenburg, which offers some basic IR photography tips. Perhaps the easiest way to define IR photography is to compare it with regular photography, which we all already know well. While the latter “relies on visible exposure,” the former “relies on heat in the form of infrared rays.” On the other hand, photos taken on infrared film is easy enough to recognize: high-contrast images with, in the case of outdoor shots, dark skies and white foliage.

Infrared photography tips by Scott Wittenburg via YouTube
  • To get you started, you will of course need some black and white infrared film and the right infrared filter. Although what looks great differs from one person to another, Wittenburg opined that an 87C filter works best because it is opaque, thereby allowing only the infrared rays in.
  • When it comes to getting the right exposure, Wittenburg says to “start with the ISO rating suggested by the film’s manufacturer for the specific filter you are using. Then bracket generously – that is, deliberately under- and overexpose on either side of your exposure rating by a half to one full stop increments.”
  • Wittenburg further suggests that when shooting outdoors, you must remember to bring a tripod for slow exposures and to shoot where there is much green foliage. “Shooting infrared without green foliage is quite disappointing,” he says, “since the most dramatic effect of IR film is the way green foliage becomes white.”
  • Lastly, IR film development is quite tricky as most of them requires special development times and must be unloaded, as in loading, in total darkness. Unless you know of a lab that can develop such, you’ll need to do it on your own.

All information in this article were sourced from Scott Wittenburg on YouTube. Additional information were also found on Wikipedia, Vivid Light, Freestyle Photographic Supplies, and Photo Notes.

written by chooolss

5 comments

  1. herbert-4

    herbert-4

    An R72 or #87 (not C) filter is more suitable for current IR (Efke or Rollei) films, that have response cut off around 800-820nm. A RG830 or #87C don't really start passing photons until ~800nm and are better suited to Kodak High Speed Infrared (cut off ~950nm) or a DSLR with hot filter removed. See here: http://www.lomograph(…)evision-1-1 Good shooting everyone!

    3 months ago · report as spam
  2. chooolss

    chooolss

    @herbert-4 thank you for sharing this info with us!

    3 months ago · report as spam
  3. garyf

    garyf

    I have been experimenting with infrared for a few years now. The best results I have achieved (the most dramatic infrared effect) was with Agfa 400S film, using an IR720 filter.
    3 months ago · report as spam
  4. servus_salyut

    servus_salyut

    Hi @garyf
    Do you mean that special AGFA ASP 400s (traffic surveillance film) sold in bulk rolls?
    That would be great because i have a whole roll of that film here :-)
    greetings

    Great article btw!

    2 months ago · report as spam
  5. hqreul

    I was curious as to whether anyone had any thoughts on using the Efke IR820 film for solar photography? I know using IR film is totally out for any night sky shots, but I was hoping to piggyback my camera to my telescope (which will have a solar filter on it..SAFETY FIRST!) and shoot the sun. But if this film isn't recommended for that I don't want to waste time or money on it! I've tried looking for stuff on this online and there is NOTHING for IR solar photography.
    about 1 month ago · report as spam

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