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Processing Infrared Photos in Camera Raw and Photoshop

Levels layer infrared

2. Raw Processing of Infrared Photos

Raw processing is mostly similar to how you would normally process any image. The main difference is selecting a new profile (the one we just created with the DNG profile editor) and adjusting the white balance.

Let’s open a new infrared photo and go through the processing steps:

1. Open the infrared image in Camera Raw and go to the “Camera Calibration” tab:
Processing Infrared Photos in Adobe Camera Raw

2. Under “Camera Profile”, click the dropdown menu and select the profile you created earlier with the DNG editor:
Camera Raw infrared profile
You will notice that the colors are now less hot and easier on the eyes.

3. Now adjust the white balance Temperature and Tint to get a neutral look. Edit the image as you would process any other photo. I prefer to crop my portrait photos to a less narrow, 4:3 or 5:7 aspect ratio:
Camera Raw infrared processing

4. Use the spot removal tool to get rid of any dust spots:
Infrared spot removal Camera Raw

5. Infrared shots are a little flat. Bump up the contrast and clarity a little to give the image some depth:
Adobe Camera Raw infrared post processing

6. Add a few curve adjustments:
Infrared Raw processing tone curve

7. Set the sharpness and noise reduction. Then click “Open Object” to open the photo in Photoshop:
Infrared Raw sharpening noise reduction

You can also reduce the saturation a little for a more monochrome look.

Finally, we will open the photo in Photoshop CC and add some adjustments to bring out the image’s true colors.

5 thoughts on “Processing Infrared Photos in Camera Raw and Photoshop

  1. This is an excellent tutorial. Now I can use the correct white balance and post processing for infrared. I have a converted Nikon D80 with a 590nm filter. I hope you can have some tutorials for this 590nm conversion.

  2. Thank you Ahmed for your precise and very clear explanation of how to
    convert infrared images to colour.

    Your tutorial was by far the best one I have studied,and it has been a success for me,though I still have a little difficulty separating the dominant blue of the sky from the other parts of the image and introducing other colours.Perhaps it is down to inexperience.

    Kind regards

    Douglas

  3. It needs to be noted that on Photoshop CC, the process is a little different. The .dcp file should be manually placed in the [UserName]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Camera Raw/Settings/Adobe/Profiles/ (macOS). After restarting Photoshop, the profile should be in the 1st tab of Camera Raw, in Profile > Browse Profiles > Profiles and should appear automatically in Camera RAW’s first tab from then on.

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