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See the ‘World In Infrared’ With Your Own DIY Conversion

By Hanssie on September 16th 2014

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Infrared photography offers a way to see the world differently. Infrared is beyond the visible spectrum of us humans, so to see what the world around us looks like via infrared light, we must use special equipment.

You can always buy an infrared camera, but what’s the fun in that? Why buy one if you can make one? That was the thought of Steven Saphore and Destruction of Cats when they created this tutorial for converting a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i). Cover-960

The tutorial has a step by step guide on how to take that Rebel apart and tinker with it to transform it into an infrared camera. That’s a bit scary for me, but I do have an old Canon Rebel lying around collecting dust, so who knows, maybe on a rainy day…


Saphore traveled the world with this modified camera to practice his street photography and created an entire project called, “World in Infrared.” Beginning in Atlanta, his IR-hacked camera has captured an eerie, invisible world – 3 different countries and counting to be exact.

The result is a radical shift in perspective on how we view everyday life: Sunglasses are rendered transparent. Black clothes appear white. The noon-time sky becomes darker than night. Vegetation glows like snow. Places you’ve visited 1000 times before suddenly become alien landscapes waiting to be explored. Needless to say, the world is a different place in infrared.

The project is being frequently updated on Facebook and Steven is also in the process of creating an interactive world map showing the places and photos that the project has been. If you’re brave enough (yes, that was a challenge), get that old toolkit out and do some Rebel surgery. In the meantime, check out the images from Steven’s camera:

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar

    Nice article.

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    great images

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  3. Phil Bautista

    I had a 1Ds converted professionally. Filter and labor for a little over 200 bucks. I’m still working on my skills in post though.

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    • mugur ic

      Hi Phil. Can you tell how it was your 1Ds “converted professionally” ?

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    • Phil Bautista

      The guy fixes cameras for a living. He knows how to convert a regular camera to infrared (this basically involves taking out the AA filter in front of the sensor and replacing it with an infrared filter, or something like that). I bought an infrared filter for a 1Ds sensor on ebay for a little over a hundred bucks and had the guy convert my camera (this is a near permanent conversion) for under a hundred.

      I read up on how to do it myself but I’m not tech savvy enough to handle the job.

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  4. Dre Rolle

    I see myself failing miserably at this conversion…but I’ll try it anyway. I love seeing things in a different way.

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  5. Peter McWade

    I want to do this in UV, no IR.

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  6. mugur ic

    This is a great idea – the IR photography

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  7. mugur ic

    Only on Canon ?

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  8. Konrad Sarnowski

    I’m really interested in post-processing workflow here ;)

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  9. Steven Pellegrino

    The photos are wonderful! Recently I was at an art fair and saw some black & white photos that were shot in infrared and it inspired me to put a filter on my camera and experiment. I’m not sure I would take it to this level, but I really am impressed with these photos!

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  10. Mark Iuzzolino

    I have an old Canon 20d I’ve been wanting to do this with.

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  11. Chuck Eggen

    Takes DIY to a new level. You have to really love IR to do this.

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