Rob Shea Photography Infrared photography tutorials, tools, and tips

Which Infrared Profile Should I Use?

Question

For the profiles in the Infrared Profile Pack, does it matter which profile I choose, Infrared Temp -50 or Infrared Temp -100?
Which profile?

Answer

You should select whichever profile allows you to set a good white balance. A good white balance is one where you are able to point the white balance picker to a neutral subject and the resulting Temp value falls between 2,000 kelvins and 50,000 kelvins. If the Temp value lands exactly on 2,000 kelvins or 50,000 kelvins, then switch to the other profile.

After white balancing on a neutral subject, if the Temp value is exactly 2,000 kelvins or 50,000 kelvins, this profile will not produce a good white balance. Switch to the other profile.
After white balancing on a neutral subject, if the Temp value is exactly 2,000 kelvins or 50,000 kelvins, this profile will not produce a good white balance. Switch to the other profile.

After white balancing on a neutral subject, if the Temp value falls between 2,000 kelvins and 50,000 kelvins, this profile will produce a good white balance.
After white balancing on a neutral subject, if the Temp value falls between 2,000 kelvins and 50,000 kelvins, this profile will produce a good white balance.

Details

The color temperature of infrared light is below 2,000 kelvins, which is outside of the range of the Temp scale in Lightroom and Camera Raw. The purpose of the Infrared Temp profiles in the Infrared Profile Pack is to shift the color temperatures values in the Temp slider towards the infrared range. The exact amount of shift required will vary depending on the filter you are using and your camera sensor.

I’ve tested profiles with a Temp adjustment of -25 and -75 to see that that level of granularity was required. Those additional profiles don’t offer any benefit over the -50 and -100 profiles. The -50 and -100 profiles cover nearly all of the cases I have tested. There is only one case I’ve observed where they did not work.1 As a result, the Infrared Profile Pack only includes profiles for -50 and -100, since that should provide enough color temperature shift for all high-pass filters.

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  1. The Kolari Pocket IR Chrome, a multi-band bypass filter, produces slightly blue images and is close to being able to white balance within the default Temp range. A profile with a temp shift of +25 allows for a perfect white balance with the IR Chrome filter. 

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