by ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq

Submit your Photo
Hall of Fame

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I started out photographing in infrared I wasn't setting a specific White Balance (I let the camera set on automatic). Then I started learning more about how people take infrared shots, and that they were setting their White Balance to "reds" either by taking a picture with the Infrared Filter on, or by taking a picture of a shade of red.

Which is better?

  • Setting the White-Balance to the scene close up with the filter on?
  • Setting the White-Balance to the scene?
  • Setting the White-Balance to a shade of red?
  • Use the automatic white-balance? (Or another 'default' mode)

And why would I chose one option over the other? Will choosing a White Balance differ with different Infrared filters?

I've experimented a little bit but I'd rather know a little more about both Infrared photography and the use of White Balance.

share|improve this question
No need to be sorry about anything, the question is researched and detailed and I for one am curious about the answers. – Francesco Sep 1 '12 at 17:37
up vote 4 down vote accepted

With infrared I would strongly advise shooting RAW and setting white balance in post. When I started shooting infrared I found the standard lightroom adjustments didn't have enough latitude to white balance infrared so I had to create a custom camera profile. The point is that the colour shift you get is extreme and I would trust the camera to be able to accomplish it, nor would I want the white balance baked into the file in case I wanted to change it later.

If you really want to set WB in camera then I would put the filter on and shoot a white sheet of paper under natural light set a custom WB from that.

share|improve this answer
So RAR is probably the best option - then just process the image later with whichever specifications you want. Thanks for the insight. – Nate-Wilkins Sep 1 '12 at 23:15

What type of camera do you use to shoot infrared? I ask for I have a IR only converted older Nikon D-70 which was converted by Life Pixel and I do a custom white balance by metering off of something green, grass for example,and with Nikon the display will read Gd, for good, or Ngd, for no good. Otherwise I agree with a previous answer that gave an example of a reference shot, a piece of white paper perhaps will be of some help and no doubt, shoot RAW. Other than that my personal experience is in shooting IR film and having a camera body converted to deep red by removal of a filter over the camera's sensor.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.