Travel Photography in Infrared

by | Mar 7, 2018

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

The scope and style of travel photography is constantly changing. Once it was enough to just be somewhere interesting and make a nice photograph, then you needed to be able to deliver that image in color, and now you should also be able to capture an impression of that place. I’d like to add another tool to your travel toolkit— infrared photography.

There’s nothing new about black & white travel photography but adding an infrared capture option lets you capture some of your next travel images using invisible light.

When shooting IR images you need to forget everything you know about the best time of day to capture images. To give foliage that famed infrared glow you need to shoot at time of day when there’s more sun on the scene; this puts you shooting at mid-day which are the “golden hours” for infrared. If you need a rule of thumb, try this: The best time of day to shoot IR is when the worst time of day to shoot “normal” images. So instead of being stuck at noon with only boring, harsh lighting for making color photographs, shoot infrared!

The Jardín Botánico de Acapulco is a magical place to visit and even more so in infrared. This effect is a commonly produced by deciduous trees and grass because they reflect the sun’s infrared energy instead of absorbing it. The above image was photographed using a Canon EOS 50D that was converted to IR-only capture by LifePixel and the (now-discontinued) Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di-II SP LD Aspherical lens. Exposure was 1/45 sec at f/9.5 an ISO 400.

On a personal note: For my personal photography, I’ve found that Life Pixel does a great job with IR conversions and they have done many conversions for my Canon DSLRs and Panasonic Lumix G-series cameras. Right now they’re converting a Lumix GX1 using their Hyper Color conversion. Look for an update when I get the camera, have it converted and shoot some images with it.


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 $7.12 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. A combination of both books would make a great gift for your favorite photographer or yourself.