Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Should you go with infrared photography for your wedding?


Nuts and Bolts of Infrared Photography

The attractive, faint glow in infrared photos is caused by infrared radiation, a very tiny spectrum of light. Infrared film is able to capture what the human eye can't see; essentially, it picks up "invisible" light. Infrared film identifies radiant heat, and this heat, mainly a result of the chlorophyll in healthy plants, is what gives foliage and grass a captivating glow in photos.

Infrared photography is especially dazzling in outdoor photography, preferably at a time of day when there's an abundance of sunlight. Landscapes with dense foliage, lush expanses of grass and trees thick with leaves showcase infrared's dreamy glimmer, giving the background of a photograph a surreal quality. Other outdoor features, such as a stream or lake, can photograph beautifully, too. Light bouncing off ripples in the water makes an awe-inspiring backdrop for a wedding portrait!

But infrared film makes the clouds and sky appear darker than they are in reality, and man-made structures, such as bridges and barns, will photograph dimly as well. If there's a source of light available (the sun or a flash), these structures and naturally dense elements like rocks, logs and tree trunks will also give off a slight glow.

A wedding portrait that combines a backdrop of contrasting elements -- say, a grassy field with a nearby stream and covered bridge -- results in a captivating composition. The various ways light reflects off of each element gives a photograph a mystical quality that can't be captured with any other type of film.