Infrared Photography

Bridge over troubled water at Belvoir Park Forest, Belfast, Northern Ireland

“Real vision is the ability to see the invisible” – Jonathan Swift

Clouds over Blackwater Refuge, Eastern Shore, Maryland fine-art infrared black and white photography by Jacqueline LaRocca
Clouds over Blackwater Refuge, Eastern Shore, Maryland

What is Fine Art Infrared Photography?

Beyond Visible Spectrum

Capturing light that falls beyond the visible spectrum, infrared photography offers a glimpse into the invisible world. While the human eye can detect wavelengths between 400 nm to 700 nm, infrared light extends from 700 nm to 1200 nm. The inception of infrared photography dates back to the early 20th century with the introduction of infrared film. In World War II, aerial photography extensively employed this film. However, during the 1960s, landscape photographers began to use it to capture surreal images of trees and foliage. Today, while infrared film is still available, it is not as widely used as it once was.

The Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC, infrared black and white photo
The Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC

Two Ways to Capture

Two methods can capture infrared photography: using infrared film or modifying a digital camera to capture infrared light. The resulting images exhibit unique effects that have aesthetic appeal.

“Wood Effect”

Named after Robert W. Wood, who is considered the father of infrared photography, the “Wood Effect” stands out as perhaps the most striking feature of infrared photography. In this effect, leaves reflect light, causing them to appear bright white and ethereal. Additionally, infrared photography produces surreal color landscapes and high-contrast black and white photographs.

Kylemore Abbey, Galway, Ireland, infrared
Kylemore Abbey, Galway, Ireland

Infrared photography has a long and interesting history. Initially, the military used it for aerial reconnaissance during World War I, and later it was used in the detection of hidden objects.

Infrared Film

Robert W. Wood initiated the concept of utilizing infrared film for artistic purposes during the 1930s when he started experimenting with it. His infrared film photographs of foliage featured an ethereal and dream-like quality that caught the attention of numerous artists and photographers. Wood’s innovative approach to infrared photography inspired other photographers, including Minor White and Ansel Adams, to also experiment with this technique.

Tilghman Island Willow Trees, Eastern Shore, Maryland , infrared
Tilghman Island Willow Trees, Eastern Shore, Maryland

Modified Digital Cameras

Today, digital cameras that have been modified to capture infrared light are more commonly used for infrared photography. These cameras have their infrared-blocking filter removed, allowing them to capture infrared light. The resulting images display a unique color palette, where greens appear white, and the skies can have a deep blue or purple hue. Infrared photography can be used in a variety of genres, including landscape, portrait, and even street photography. In landscape photography, infrared images can create a mystical quality, while in portrait photography, it can create an otherworldly look.

Reflection of Greenwood Plantation, Louisiana, fine art photography
Reflection of Greenwood Plantation, Louisiana



Infrared photography, which captures a portion of the light spectrum that is invisible to the human eye, produces fascinating photographic effects. Its history dates back to the early 20th century, and it has a diverse and rich past. Although infrared film is still available, many photographers today modify digital cameras to capture infrared light. Infrared photography is versatile and applicable in various genres, producing stunning images that showcase a unique and ethereal quality. In conclusion, infrared photography is a compelling and interesting technique that photographers can use to create distinctive and mesmerizing works of art.

My Introduction to Black and White Fine Art Infrared Photography

Almost two decades ago, Sir Simon Marsden, a British photographer specializing in infrared photography, mesmerized me with his ethereal and dramatic images. His work inspired me to embark on a long and challenging journey to master this technique.

Unable to find any infrared photography classes at the time, I had to teach myself. Through extensive reading, research, and endless practice, I finally acquired the skills to produce these surreal images.

In 2008, I purchased my first converted digital camera designed specifically for infrared photography. Since then, I have upgraded to a second camera, enabling me to continue exploring the wonder of infrared.

Infrared photography allows me to capture dramatic and high-contrast black and white images that I am passionate about. These images convey a sense of otherworldliness that I find captivating, and I hope you will too.

Infrared Color

Infrared color photography is a fascinating technique that captures images using infrared light. This type of photography can create unique and surreal effects by revealing details not visible to the human eye.

Firstly, it is important to understand that infrared light has longer wavelengths than visible light. Infrared color photography uses a special type of film or a digital camera sensor that can detect infrared light.

Moreover, this technique requires some adjustments to the camera settings to achieve the desired results. For example, a special filter is used to block out visible light and only allow infrared light to pass through.

Additionally, it is important to consider the effects of infrared light on colors. Infrared light can cause some colors to appear differently, such as making green foliage appear white or pink. This can create a dreamy and surreal effect that is popular in infrared photography.

Furthermore, infrared color photography is not limited to still images. It can also be used to create stunning videos and time-lapse sequences.

In conclusion, infrared color photography is a unique and creative technique that can produce beautiful and otherworldly images. With the right equipment and adjustments, anyone can try their hand at this fascinating form of photography.

You may also like my other website Haunted Traveler Photography