Rad A. Drew Photography: Infrared on the IPhone!

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Infrared on the IPhone!

iPhone 11 Pro Max, Camera +2, Processed on the desktop using Luminar 4 with Topaz DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, and finished with Silver Efex Pro 2, all invoked as plugins to Luminar 4

Welcome to Infrared on the iPhone!

Many of us have enjoyed making infrared images with converted "big" cameras for years, but only in the past few months have we begun making wonderful IR Images using the iPhone. 

We are, basically, pioneers of this new infrared technique with mobile devices, and are learning more each day about how to improve IR with the iPhone.

To facilitate learning, sharing and inspiration, Jack Davis, Dewitt Jones, and I, created a Facebook group as a place to share and learn more about making infrared images with our iPhones. 

You can join this open group by clicking here: www.facebook.com/groups/iphoneinfrared/.

We hope you'll join us!

The space is reserved for IR images made with mobile phones. When you post, please share the following:

  • Camera app used
  • Camera Settings 
  • Editing apps

Share away! We've had a lot of fun making IR images with our iPhones and are eager to see what you create!

To Get You Started!

The process that includes hardware, camera apps, and processing apps on the iPhone, will work on iPhones as far back as the 7 +. (It may work on earlier phones, too, but I haven't tried it.)

Of course each new iPhone has new features and more sophisticated technology, so results are variable with each phone. 

As of November, 2020, I've seen the best results with the iPhone 11 Pro with either the Camera +2 app, or the Night Mode on the 11 Pro Max.

The process essentially works like this: 

You set your iPhone up to photograph through an infrared filter, shoot with different camera apps, and process with various apps (mobile or desktop) for different results. 

The cameras that have yielded the best results are the native camera in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the Camera+2 app. The Lightroom Pro Camera that comes with Lightroom for mobile has also yielded good results.

Admittedly, we are pioneers in this, as it's not being done very much. All I've (we’ve) learned so far has been learned through the help of a few friends and a lot of experimentation.

Here are a few tips:

  • You'll need a case for your iPhone that will accommodate a filter mount and IR filter. The best case I've found is from Moment. Keep in mind that as you change phones, you will need to get a new case to fit that phone.
  • You'll need a filter mount that attaches to the case that will hold an IR filter. If you use the 37mm IR filter, get the 37mm filter mount from Moment. If you use the 52mm IR filter, you'll need to get the 52mm filter mount from Moon Dog Labs. (I recommend the 52mm IR filter and the Moon Dog Labs filter mount. Here’s a link to the Moon Dog Labs 52 mm Filter Mount (https://moondoglabs.com/products/multi-camera-filter-mount?ref=RadDrewPhotographyLLC). More below.)
  • You'll need a 720nm IR filter. I've used both the 37mm and a 52mm. I highly recommend the 52mm filter size because it covers all of the lenses on the iPhone and so eliminates the need to move the filter from one lens to the other. 
  • If you already have IR filters, you may be able to get step-up rings from Moment that will allow you to use them with your iPhone, saving you the expense of additional IR filters.

Suggested apps for processing IR on the iPhone after making the image are LightroomSnapSeed, and the iOS Editor introduced with iOS 13. 

If you're not familiar with processing in SnapSeed or Lightroom on your phone, you can view these free videos on Rad's YouTube Channel.

We’ve also begun to process the raw IR files using desktop software including Luminar 4, Topaz Studio 2, Bridge, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Silver Efex Pro 2. 

Working with RAW files and using Topaz noise reduction (AI Clear or DeNoise AI) and sharpening tools yields a less noisy and sharper result, and finishing with Silver Efex Pro 2 is often the icing on the cake as some of the presets and editing options are amazing!

Note: As an affiliate for Luminar 4 and Topaz Labs tools, I'm able to offer you a discount and earn a small commission for myself. If you are interested in my discount codes, you can find them by following these links:

Webinar Available

A recording of my recent webinar, Making Infrared Photos on Your iPhone, and a pdf of informational slides are available for $49.99. 

This includes access to the video for 60 days and a pdf of info slides. The video includes details about shooting with each camera, and provides links to sources for all of the accessories, including a discount code for IR filters from Spencer's Camera.

You may purchase the webinar video via the PayPal link at the bottom of the page. Please allow 24 hours to receive the links and materials, as this is not an automated process. 

Thank you!

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