Rad A. Drew Photography: Making Beloved Infrared Images with Our Beloved iPhones!

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Making Beloved Infrared Images with Our Beloved iPhones!


iPhone 12 Pro Max
© Rad A. Drew

The Journey to IPhone Infrared

Infrared photography first captured my imagination in college many moons ago. I fell in love with this depiction of the world around me and was drawn into these snowy white fantasies.

Infrared became a lot easier in the digital age. Modifying a digital camera by removing the camera's IR blocking filter and installing the filter of choice (e.g., 720nm, 830n, etc.), gives us a camera dedicated to infrared. Modern digital processing helps to get those bright whites and rich blacks, and we can even add that soft ethereal glow so characteristic of early film IR.

iPhone 12 Pro Max
© Rad A. Drew

For the past seven years or so I’ve made images first with a LUMIX DMC LX7 point-and-shoot, and later with a Fuji X-T1, both converted to 720nm infrared.

Chasing the Dream

While I love shooting with my “big” cameras, I’ve had a love affair with the iPhone since getting my first, an iPhone 4, in 2010. I love the iPhone’s portability and, with today’s iPhones, I’m not sacrificing much in the way of image quality. 

iPhone 12 Pro Max
© Rad A. Drew

For several years, I’ve dreamed of making IR images with my iPhone.

Last year with the help of friends, that dream became a reality! In the beginning there was a lot of trial and error, and a few screaming pixels, but today, with all we’ve learned, well, the proof is in the pudding. 

iPhone 12 Pro Max
© Rad A. Drew

Clearly, the phone’s technology is quite different than a traditional camera. There’s no modification of the hardware, no removing of the IR blocking filter. 

Instead everything is done using select camera apps, designated settings, an infrared filter, RAW files, and processing techniques. As Dewitt says, there’s a lot of jiggery-pokery! But for the determined, patient photographer, the results are worth it.

To create my beloved infrared images with my beloved iPhone has been pure joy and so much fun! And it’s been great to see so many other mobile photographers become excited with this approach to IR.

Facebook Group and Member Gallery

Last year with support and encouragement from friends Dewitt Jones and Jack Davis, I created a Facebook group for other mobile IR enthusiasts. Today there are nearly 550 members and counting! You’re welcome to join us to learn more and be inspired. 

Here are some of my favorite images created by photographers in the group. I've included a link so you can see each photographer's work.

I’m inspired by the variety and unique expression seen in these images. 

Thanks to everyone in the group for sharing your images, knowledge, and enthusiasm for iPhone infrared!

© Jackie Klieger, 

© Joe Bumgardner,  

© Gary Litwin, 

© Jack Davis, 

© Dewitt Jones, 

© Jerry Hug

© David Stearn, 

© John Wrather

© Judy Diver

 © Irene Marchuk Oleksiuk, Instagram.com/honor_life

© April Cowan Robinson,