Adjusting White Balance in IR Photos

This tutorial will show you how you can change the color in an infrared photo like this:

Infrared Photo

into this:

Infrared Photo

Step1: Channel Swap
After you open your image, open your channel mixer pallete (image>adjustments>channel mixer) and do this:

output channel red
source channel red 100% —> 0%
source channel blue 0% —> 100%

output channel blue
source channel red 0% —> 100%
source channel blue 100% —> 0%

Infrared Photo

You should have something like this:

Infrared Photo

Step 2: Level Adjustments
Now open your level adjustment pallete (image>adjustments>levels). Choose the red channel and move the slider to the left as below:

Infrared Photo

..and now choose the green channel and move the slider to the left as below:

Infrared Photo

Your image should now look like this:

Infrared Photo

Step3: Curve Adjustments
In this step we’re going to adjust the white balance with curve adjustments by go to image/adjustments/curves, then choose the grey tone as below

Infrared Photo

Now we must find the 50% grey tone in our image. Please choose carefully to get the right overall tone for your image.

Infrared Photo

You should have better color tone like this

Infrared Photo

Step 4: USM, Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation adjustments
Just playing around with these adjustments for the best result.

Here’s mine

Infrared Photo

Submitted by: Bayu Aditya |
Originally posted: 19.01.06

See also: Photoshop Tutorials

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Comment by Benjamin Sernji
2007-10-03 08:28:27

good tutorial, but you cant use for al Photos…. ;-(

Comment by Setnar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-01-24 12:23:29

Very good explanation, still get green as green! how to fix? thanks

Comment by tragixz
2009-04-06 07:37:32


Comment by ryzan
2009-06-19 06:44:05

in step 2 , what the value should i use in red input and output level and in green input and output level…thanks

Comment by Michael Subscribed to comments via email
2009-12-25 22:30:04

WOW, thanks!

Comment by Feri Adisumarta Subscribed to comments via email
2010-01-14 22:30:22

Makasih banyak Bro …

Comment by hansen Subscribed to comments via email
2010-03-28 21:03:39

CWB yang dipake biar daun bisa putih pake apa nih pak?

Comment by Steve Troletti
2010-04-30 09:22:01

Nice job, very well explained and simple. Reading the comments I think people need to understand that slight variances in filters (Not all 720NM Filters work alike) and the variances in the cameras hot filter (If not converted) will allow different ratios of visible light to get exposed and give a result different than you’ve accomplished. This tutorial should allow someone new to IR to get the best looking image with the camera/filter combination they are using.

Comment by Auluz Subscribed to comments via email
2011-05-12 12:10:35

I took some pictures with a Canon 50D 70-200mm f5.6 15s Optek R72 filter.
The pictures came out red and blue channels when I changed the picture went red by red.
Can anyone help me?


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