Three Reasons I Like Infrared Photography

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I once received an e-mail from a reader asking, “Why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?

My answer to her had more to do with how  photographers go through three distinct phases when honing their image making skills:

  • The First Stage occurs immediately after they get their first “good” camera and discover the photography’s potential as a medium for expression and a great way to have fun. During this time, novice shooters explore their world with a high level of enthusiasm and every new batch of images contains photographs that look much better than they could ever imagined. Unfortunately, this blissful period doesn’t last long and is replaced with…
  • Stage Two: During this period the shooter’s level of enthusiasm is still high but is diminished when reviewing his or her newest images only to discover they are much worse than they had expected. It is the “shoot more and enjoying it less” phase.
  • Stage Three occurs when the photographer improves their skills by studying, attending workshops but most importantly by practicing. In this phase, images seen in their camera’s viewfinder is exactly the same thing as they expected. No surprises. While reaching this phase can be fulfilling, some of the magic is gone and sometimes, photographers slip back into Phase 2 becoming discouraged. The real danger is that the photographer keeps shooting the same images over and over again.

If you would like to experience some of the same thrill of discovery that occurred during the first phase of your photographic education, my suggestion is that you never stop exploring. Try some new things. Maybe it’s infrared photography, as shown in the examples above, because when you give IR photography a try you’re back in Phase 1 and every image is a surprise, more often than not, a pleasant one. Whatever you do try something outside your normal comfort zone.

The above photograph was made with a Nikon D3100 and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens (at 55mm) with a Singh-Ray iRay 830 filter. It was lightly sepia toned using PhotoKit 2.0.


My book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is out-of-print but new copies are available from Amazon for $30.22 with used copies selling for $7.89 as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies selling for three bucks and like the IR book would make a great gift for your favorite photographer or yourself.