Unlike color images, which can satisfy as JPEGs right out of the camera, digital infrared images almost always benefit from post-capture adjustments that bring out their unusual qualities. After all, infrared is “beyond visible,” so there is no right or wrong approach, unlike color photography.
To produce compelling images, this post-processing should be done with an open mind for artistic possibilities.
Infrared by its nature has no real color or brightness; unlike regular color photography, the human eye offers no guidance as to how infrared should be rendered. On the photo- graphic continuum, visible-light color photography maps most closely to reality, then visible-light black-and-white photography, then infrared and ultra- violet photography, which capture invisible light and have no perceptual reference points in the human visual system. If that premise is too disconcerting, then the best choice might be to stick with conventional visible-light photography.
Part I of this series covered the capturing of digital images in the field— correct exposure, white balance, lens selection, and various other issues. This follow-on article covers what to do with those image files once created. By reading this article, you’ll get a good idea of the variety of applicable techniques (for detailed information, see the diglloyd Guide to Digital Infrared Photography at diglloyd.com).