I recently had the opportunity to play with an infrared-converted camera, thanks to the folks over at, and had a lot of fun photographing my dog at an expansive dog park just outside of Portland, Oregon. I ended up with some really great images, and wanted to share my start-to-finish processing steps with one of the photos to show some of the basics on how to process infrared images. Infrared images just don’t look so great directly out-of-camera, and there are some things you’ll want to “fix” before ending up with a final product. Here is my process (click on each photo to view larger):

1. I open the image I want to work on in Lightroom. The image looks washed out and muddy, so it definitely needs some work.

2. The first thing I want to do is crop it down to place my dog, Kodak, more towards the corner of the frame, and also to remove some of the foreground area.

3. Then, I make some changes using the Basic panel in Lightroom.

4. Now it’s ready to go into Photoshop for some more processing. I use the keyboard shortcut CMD/CTRL+E to edit the image in Photoshop CC. Then, inside of the Adjustments panel I add a Channel Mixer adjustment. I change the “Output Channel” to “Red”, set Red to 0 and Blue to +100.

5. Then, still inside of the same Channel Mixer adjustment, I select the “Blue” Output Channel, set Red to +95 and Blue to -3.

6. My color is fixed in the image, but I want to add a small amount of stylization to my dog. So I add a new Color Fill layer using the icon in the Layers panel, select a brownish-orange color (similar to my dog), and click OK.

7. Then, I change the Blending Mode of this layer to “Color”, invert the mask so that it is no longer showing, and use the Brush tool to paint color back over my dog’s fur. When I’m finished, I save the image and close the file.

8. The image opens up back in Lightroom, where I will do a few more adjustments to finish it off.

9. To finish this file, I make some more adjustments in the Basic panel to add color and contrast to the photograph.

lavender-square-150pxNicole S. Young is a professional photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of several print books and eBooks, and runs her own online store for photographers, the “Nicolesy Store“.

You can read more of Nicole’s articles HERE, and view her work and website HERE.

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Well done. I like it!

  2. Love the pictures! I am new to ir photography and am struggling with the processing of the picture. My question is this, is IR photography suited only to bright sunny summer days with lots of green vegetation?
    I have been taking pictures during the winter months and am unable to get any great contrasts of white and dark blues as seen in ir photos. Is it a lack of strong sunlight and leafy subjects? My photos are red but never change to Brown when decreasing the temperature and tint in Lightroom. Instead I always have this purple, violet color once my wb has been altered in LR. It’s been three weeks since I received my hoya 72 filter and I spend hours researching sites to find a solution to my problems. Any advice you could give me would be appreciated. Thanks.

  3. […] Processing an Infrared Image using Lightroom and Photoshop […]


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About Nicole S. Young

Photographer, author, entrepreneur. I love photographing food and landscapes, and have written several how-to books on Photography, post-processing, and creative inspiration. You can find more about me on my blog, online store, as well as on Google+ and Twitter.


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