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Over the past three months, I have several enquiries on how I go about post processing my NIR (near infrared) 720nm images. This gives me the idea of putting it up here; as 'my story'.

The program I am using is an old version of Photoshop (Photoshop 7) but it should more or less be similar to the newer incarnations.

Kindly note that the steps applied below are not exhaustive; photography in itself is an ART. And with regards to NIR (near infrared), you either like them or loathe them.

I sincerely hope that this 'story' would be helpful to at least those who are starting out in this area of photography.

Warm regards from Singapore.


30 September 2012

* PS * Do not click on 'view photo' as I did not upload these sample images to 500px.


Original Image

This is the original photograph.


step #2

As a beginner myself, putting an IR filter in front of the lens is the way to go. I chose the 720nm wavelength because it allows "a small amount of colour leakage"; ie. the infrared is not the traditional high contrast B&W (true) infrared images.

With the filter on, do a custom white balance on some (sun)brightly-lit greenery; some leaves, patches of grass, etc.

It is important to use a tripod as the exposure can and probably would run into seconds (typically 1-5 seconds, ISO100, mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun).

Secondly, it is important to prefocus because the 720nm filter is very dark; literally "no" visible light passes through. * Live view would probably overcome this; I have yet to try *

The image captured with the 720nm filter in place would look something like this (sepia tone sky colour).

Check the RGB histogram; ensure that the RED channel is not over-exposed.

# Kindly note that not all DSLRs will be able to capture an in-camera white balance. As a rule of thumb, the older generations of DSLRs are more IR-friendly.


step #3

It is now time to post process.

Do the usual basic "Auto Levels" to add some spice to the image.

Now. Here comes the gizmos.

Open the “Channel Mixer” and swap the red and blue channels. IE, in the RED output channel, slide the ‘Red Source Channel lever’ from 100% to 0% and the ‘Blue Source Channel lever’ from 0% to 100%.

The sky after this step will take on a greenish tint.


step #4

Likewise, in the BLUE output channel, slide the ‘Blue Source Channel lever’ from 100% to 0% and the ‘RED source channel lever' from 0% to 100%.


Final 720 nm Image

All that is left now is some fine tuning. For some reason (see image ref. workflow #4), some of the foliage in my “converted NIR” has taken on a reddish/yellowish tint; probably due to an imperfect exposure on my part. I like my foliage to be snow white. I overcame this by reducing the ‘Saturation of the RED and YELLOW’ to an acceptable level.

Do some final fine tuning with levels and curves, or whatever suits your taste and ...... BINGO!

We have a NIR 720mm photograph!

* Check out the high resolution photograph at:

A BIG THANK YOU for spending some time reading 'my first story'.

Warm regards from the 'Tiny RED DOT'.

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Pete Chang  almost 4 years ago

great stuff, I seen some IR of landscapes, in black and whites.. they pretty awesome... have you tried them in black n whites ? making one color pop seems more like a color splash picture...

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Eddie Cheng  almost 4 years ago

Greetings Pete,
Thank you very much for dropping by. Yes. I have tried some Black & White NIR but not straight off filters [I did in on film many years ago though]. You can check out of of them on my FB Page
Best wishes, my friend.

Tarek Zaigouche  over 4 years ago

Great tuto! I will definitely give it a try soon! thanks a lot!

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Eddie Cheng  over 4 years ago

Greetings Tarek,
Hope you will like this realm of photography!

DasKameraAuge2 (inactive)  almost 5 years ago

This is very interesting, never heard of NIR before, though.

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Eddie Cheng  almost 5 years ago

Greetings Alexander.
Thanks for dropping by. IR is another interesting area of photography. Worth a try!

Danny schurgers  over 5 years ago

eddie thanks for the great tutorial i been trying to do some nir and with succes thanks to this very helpfull

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Danny. You are most welcome. I am happy to see that NIR work of yours. Very good composition and great processing.
I wish you and your family a Happy New Year ahead!

Sam C  over 5 years ago

Thanks for the great tutorial Eddie! This is a realm I have been wanting to try, but hesitated for some reason or another. When I do try it, I will come back to your post here. Very helpful and interesting! Best Regards, Sam

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Sam. Thank you very much too for spending some time here. And you are most welcome. Have a great life ahead! Warm regards, eddie

Edward Yu  over 5 years ago

Very good tutorial. Have been wondering for sometimes as to how it's being done. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Hope you do somemore of these in the future. Will be trying this out after I get an IR filter . Any suggestion or is the 720nn fine for a beginner. Thanks again. Have a nice weekend.

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Edward. The 720nm (wavelength) is the ideal is you are looking for a "clean look ~ white foliage and blue skies and water". And Hoya or Kenko are two affordable filter brands. Some prefer a shorter wavelength cut-off (e.g. 650-690nm) where some "red/orange" hues will pass through. As I am not good myself in post processing, I chose the simpler route (720nm). Thanks for dropping by, Edward. Hope to see your attempts on IR one day. Best wishes to you and your family. Have a great weekend.

Chris Wang  over 5 years ago

Great tutorial. This photo is one of my favorites. It is well composed with great light. The post-processing makes it a very special one among my collections. Thanks for the details and I will probably try when I have a chance. Many thanks for the sharing, Eddie. Have a good weekend.

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Chris. Thank you for dropping by and spending some time reading "my story". "Infrared Photography" works very well in an environment of "strong oblique sunlight, some clouds in the sky (unfortunately missing in my example), green foliage and water. Given that the State of Victoria has these in abundance, I am sure you could do very well in this area. I do hope the above will come in handy some day. Glad to share. Have a great weekend!

Avish naik  over 5 years ago

great tutorial, thanks for sharing.

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Avish. Thank you very much for taking off some precious time to read through the above. Hope it will come in handy should you want to explore NIR. Have a great weekend ahead.

Ashley Sowter  over 5 years ago

Thanks Eddie. I've bookmakred this for future reference. Well explained.

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Ashley. Happy to know that your daughter likes this version of "NIR". Best wishes to you and your love ones.

greg sagayadoro  over 5 years ago

Nice work, Eddie , great tutorial, creativity is posible not impossible,let your mind run free :)

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Eddie Cheng  over 5 years ago

Greetings Greg. Thank you for dropping by. And thank you too for the encouragement. Have a great weekend.