Using Photoshop Tips
Infrared Photography Effects

Infrared Photography was first achieved using special film that captured light wavelengths that are just outside the visible spectrum.

This creates a very eerie image and when used with a Landscape image produces an effect where skies are black and grass and other green items glow white.

In portraiture, the skin tones are light and almost angelic like and the eyes are jet black.

I like to use the infrared photography effect with some of my urban images too, especially where there is a lot of sky or very strong bold lines.

Although Photoshop cannot produce an exact copy of an infrared image taken using special film it can be used to create a very similar effect.

For this example I have chosen two very different urban images to illustrate the infrared effect.

The Starting Images

Infrared Photography - picture by Kate Tilmouth Infrared Photography - Picture by Kate Tilmouth

The first image has both a lot of sky and also some strong lines of the cranes that will add to the eerie effect. The second image has little actual sky but a lot of sky reflection and lots of bold strong dark lines.

The Infrared Photoshop Effect

Infrared Photography - Channel mixer
  1. Open your image in Photoshop
  2. Go to Image>Adjustments>Channel Mixer
  3. Tick the Monochrome button at the bottom of the menu
  4. Drag the blue slider to around -100 (this will turn the sky dark)

If your image has lots of green in it:

  1. Slide the Red slider to around +30
  2. Boost the green slider up to get the desired level of glowing white

If your image has little green in it:

  1. Slide the red slider to around +150
  2. Adjust the green slider to balance the effect

When you have achieved the desired effect Press OK

Infrared Photography - Diffuse Glow

Now its time to apply a little glow to the image to add to the ghostly feel.

  1. Go to Filter>Distort>Diffuse Glow
  2. Enter 0 for Graininess
  3. 1 for Glow Amount
  4. 9 for Clear Amount
  5. Click OK

As you can see in the final images, the infrared effect has created very different images from the originals. Although not often an effect used in urban photography I like to use it from time to time just to add impact and atmosphere.

Infrared photography - Picture by Kate Tilmouth Infrared Photography - picture by Kate Tilmouth