IR Processing

Accessible Photography

A) I shoot a digital camera converted to IR and also use Adobe Lightroom to do my editing and basic image optimizing. It’s simple to adjust all of your images at once in Lightroom. First, make the desired overall optimizations to a single image in the Develop mode, select all the desired images to which you want to apply the same changes and then click on Sync. I caution you not to make fine detail adjustments in this manner, as each image may be slightly different and should be handled individually in Photoshop. The optimizations that I accomplish in Lightroom or the Adobe RAW converter include a complete removal of any red cast by sliding the Saturation control all the way to the left. I also adjust the exposure, Black slider and Contrast slider, as well as setting the Clarity slider to approximately 60+.

The red cast you mention isn’t a problem because we get rid of it in Lightroom or the RAW converter by desaturating the image. To minimize this at the time of capture, set a custom white balance using a grassy area as the basis. The grass will be rendered white, so red will be minimized in the final images.

Bringing back the old IR look with its haze and grain can be accomplished in Photoshop with some trial and error. The main tools will be an added layer with blur and the addition of grain.

This digital IR rendition of waterfalls in Alaska was processed in Lightroom and brought into Photoshop where I added a Gaussian Blur layer reduced to 60%; I then went to Filters > Artistic and added Film Grain. Some tweaking to taste is necessary.

One of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers and a leader in the field of digital imaging and photographic education, Lepp is the author of many books and the field editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine. One of Canon’s original Explorers of Light, Lepp finds inspiration in advancing technology that fuels creative innovation and expression of his life-long fascination with the natural world.