Chapter 3 – Film Infrared Photography – Film choices

While film may not be the most common use of capturing infrared photographs nowadays there are still many people who use it solely. Even if you don’t use film, it’s important to have some knowledge of how it is used.

In this section, you will learn about how to choose film for infrared photography and other key areas.

Film choices

When capturing in infrared, film choice is crucial to the final photograph. The main factor in film choice is depth of infrared sensitivity. IR film only captures visible light and near infrared light – to go any further you need specialist equipment for a technique called ‘thermography’. You can find out more about infrared film sensitivity in the ‘film sensitivity’ section below.

A further point to consider with infrared film is that many have effects on the image associated with them. In many films, halation (glow) is seen in highlights – this may not be desirable to the photographer. This is due to the absence of an anti-halation layer on the film.

Because IR film captures both visible and infrared light, it’s important to use a filter to block out the visible light and only allow IR light to pass through. You can read more about these filters in the ‘Filter choices’ section further on.

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