Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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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.

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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

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 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.

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So RAR is probably the best option - then just process the image later with whichever specifications you want. Thanks for the insight. –  Nate 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.

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