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How to Get Started with Infrared Photography

Welcome to the world of infrared photography! Choosing a conversion can be quite daunting, we are here to help simplify and explain the process.

Step One – Choosing a Camera

The first step of the process is deciding which camera to convert. Many times, choosing an old camera you don’t use anymore can be a great way to go and can bring new life to old equipment. If we don’t support your camera, or if your camera is not the best for IR, it is worth converting a new one, or ordering a custom order camera from us here.

You can read more about Choosing a Camera for the pros and cons of various camera systems. You can also read our Brand Comparisons to see a general guide to how different brands perform for color infrared, and also How DSLRs and Compacts handle color.

Step Two- Choosing a Filter

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The next important decision is to choose which filter is right for you. We have written an article, Choosing a IR Filter with samples from the different filter choices, as well as tips and considerations for using and shooting with the various filter options. If you want the option of using multiple filters, you can read our article on the Full Spectrum conversion to see if that is a good choice for you.

Step Three – Ordering a Conversion

You can order an infrared conversion here.

Step Four – Mailing the Camera


After you order a conversion, you will be redirected to a page with our shipping address and instructions. If you’re based in the US, consider our custom, prepaid USPS mail-in box

Step Five – Setting up your Camera

After you receive your camera, there are few things to setup to take the best photos. The first thing you should do is measure a custom white balance with your camera, even with the B+W filters. Every camera sets a white balance differently, please refer to your camera manual for the steps on how to do this. For the 720nm and higher filters, you should measure the white balance using green grass or foliage as the target. For the 590nm and 665nm filters, you should measure the white balance using a gray card or sheet of white paper. This is best done on location prior to shooting. If using a point and shoot or mirrorless camera, you are done! You can get out and start shooting. If you are using a DSLR, you should also check your exposure. The camera meters visible light, which may be inaccurate depending on lighting and IR filter type, so you should take a few test shots outdoors to determine if you need to dial in a EV compensation. A rough guide to how much the different IR filters will need to be compensated can be found here. With a DSLR, you should also check your various lenses for focus accuracy to see if there is a focus shift between them. If you have a DSLR that supports microadjustment, you should take the time to calibrate the focus for each lens you will use.

Step Six – Process your photos

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You can find several guides for processing your photos in our tutorials section, we have tutorials for all of the different filter options, as well as how to perform a channel swap in different programs. Try our false color action suite plugin for photoshop, it can simplify the processing very nicely.

Step Seven – Share your experience

Now that you’ve taken some great photos, we’d love to see them! Share your photos on our user uploaded gallery, or use our hashtag #kolarivision when you upload your photos to Instagram! If you converted a camera we have not previously reviewed, let the world know how it performs! We are always looking to expand our reviews section. If you were happy with our service and products, please take a minute to let the world know, we work hard to bring you quality content and products, your word of mouth helps keep that possible.

Related articles:

Choosing a CameraChoosing a filterWhen to go Full SpectrumOrdering, Already Converted CamerasTutorials

5 Responses

  1. Last year I had a Nikon D80 converted by your company to 590nm and Iam very happy with the results. Iam new to IR photography and in the last few times out I have used grass as the area for custom WB. After reading several of your articles I should have been using a gray card for 590nm. Shooting landscape by the lake my colors seem wrong using the green. My question is could I use an Expo Disc for getting proper white balance for the shot , or use a grey card?

    1. I use an expo disk on my full spectrum converted EOS R with whatever filter I am using at the time including 590nm

      Need ensure the incident light is managed correctly as usual.

      That being said it works a treat


  2. I have a question. This may seem kind of basic but I’m new to this so hopefully my question will help some other people. When you’re measuring the white balance do you do that with the filter on the camera? I have a fully converted camera and the full set of filters.

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