An inspirational book that explains in depth infrared photography, processing and using either a converted IR camera or filters. Highly recommended for any person with an interest in IR or monochrome photography.
What is Infrared Photography?
Infrared (IR) photography is bold, surreal, and otherworldly. Unlike traditional photography, it captures light not visible to the human eye. While commonly used with landscape photography, you can pair IR with any genre of photography.
As the name suggests, Color Doesn’t Exist: A Practical Guide to Infrared Photography is your practical guide to the world of infrared photography. Even for experienced photographers, infrared photography can present many challenges. The path to great images is filled with twists, turns, roadblocks, and dead ends. I have traveled down this path and would like to be your navigator.
This book is focused on learning. It makes a complex topic open and accessible to any photographer. Like my videos and articles, I strive to be straightforward, easy to understand, and comprehensive. I aim for you to get past the typical stumbling blocks of infrared photography and explore your creativity.
Pitfalls of Infrared Photography
IR photography was first popularized with infrared-sensitive film. Today, most IR photography is done with digital cameras. While digital cameras have made it easier to capture infrared images, there are still pitfalls. Lens hot spots, white balance, focus, increased diffraction, and color swapping make IR photography more challenging than visible light. Each of these topics is covered in depth.
Cameras & Lenses
Can I use any camera to capture infrared images? Which lens will produce hot spots when shooting infrared light?
Do I need to convert a camera for infrared photography? Which camera should I convert? Is converting a camera risky?
Which filter should I use? Which filters can I use with an unconverted camera? Which filters are best for vivid colors? Which filters are best for black-and-white infrared images?
How do I white balance infrared images? Do I need to white balance when shooting? Can I set a custom white balance on grass?
How do I focus infrared light? What settings will produce sharp images in infrared?
Do I need special profiles for my camera? Which raw editor should I use to edit infrared photos? Can I edit infrared images without a software subscription? How do I process infrared images?
Who is this book for?
Photographers of all skill levels will benefit from this volume. If you have never shot in IR, the Quick Start Guide will help you get started with your camera by adding just one filter. If you want to convert a camera, you’ll gain confidence in your choice. If you are learning infrared photography, read a chapter to expand your knowledge in a specific area. If you are an expert in infrared photography, this book makes a great reference guide.
Here is a list of the chapters included in the book.
Quick Start Guide
- What Is Infrared Light?
- Color Temperature
- Converted vs. Unconverted
- IR & UV Filters
- Visible Light Filters
- Filter Form Factors
- Filter Recommendations
- White Balance while Shooting
- Subject, Light & Color
- Monochrome Processing
- Profiles for White Balance
- White Balance while Editing
- Color Processing
- Lightroom Hue Mask
- Enhanced Profiles for Lightroom
- Color Balance & Color Grading
- Raw Editors
- Color Space
Live Stream Walk-Through
The best all around book on IR photography I could find.
Brilliantly laid out; right on the point, and concise with superb illustrations.
Easy to read and follow instructions. Clear and detailed instructions with illustrations that help understanding. Answered a lot of questions I had about IR processing and going into the why’s as well.
I loved the book, excellent and clear explanation of Infrared photography.
Excellent guide for both new people and experienced people in IR photography. Wealth of pertinent information.
Color Doesn’t Exist is an informative and pleasantly readable guide for the novice but certainly also the advanced (amateur) photographer who wants to study and start in infrared photography. It is also a comprehensive reference work. To anyone interested in infrared photography I can recommend the book.
This book is a must, especially if you’re starting out with infrared photography. He answers all the questions and gives you all the information you need to choose an IR conversion and take good pictures. He also explains in detail how to process all your images to get the look that you want and what you need to do to obtain the best results. If you haven’t converted your camera yet, I would suggest reading this book first. You will be so much more knowledgeable about infrared photography and make better choices.
No questions unanswered! Great book and all the tutorial videos - what can possibly go wrong?
Answers any question you could ask about infrared photography. The ultimate resource!
Everything you need to know from understanding what Infrared photography is, what equipment you need, through to taking and processing the images.
This book in Infrared photography is nothing short than a masterpiece. I couldn’t be happier. I cannot thank Rob enough for this initiative. This clearly achieved what most likely Rob had in his mind while undertaking this project, which I think is to encourage and attract a complete newbie like me to the magical world of infrared photography. Thank you so much Rob.
After many frustrating attempts, I was about to give up on IR photography when I came across Rob’s YT channel and book. In addition to the ‘usual’ information (camera conversion, filters, etc.), I found the physical basics necessary for a deeper understanding of the topic to be very helpful. The most valuable part of the book for me, however, deals in detail with the subject of image development, garnished with inspiring images (I had failed miserably on this part so far). I warmly recommend this book to IR beginners (like me).
The book is a summary, you could call it the ‘Summa Infrarubra’ of our times: a well-edited, comprehensive summary of nearly everything you can find around the internet and other publications on Infrared Photography - with the added bonus of not having any bias due to commercial reasons (the author does not sell equipment). Having everything in one place, written down clearly in no more words than those necessary to convey the information is invaluable.
Fantastic explanation of basic facts and many practical downloads.
Rob Shea’s book Color Doesn’t Exist is an excellent introductory guide to the world of IR photography. It’s written in a simple, straight forward way that I appreciate as someone who is just getting into IR photography. The book gives you all the background you need to understand this art form, is illustrated with many examples of IR photography, and has lots of useful tips and recommendations for getting started. I highly recommend this book!
An excellent multimedia resource rather than just a book, it is comprehensive in explaining the art and science of infrared photography. For anyone remotely interested in infrared photography, this book would prove invaluable. A large part of the success of infrared photography is learning how to edit the SOOC images and here Rob has excelled in his easy to follow instructions, downloadable custom profiles and actions. Rob makes infrared photography look and feel easy. It’s a shame that he seems to have succeeded in taking the mystery out of infrared photography.
If you have a question about infrared photography, it’s almost certainly answered in this book. Rob’s YouTube videos and 1-2-1 tutorials have been invaluable in helping me progress in this field. Too often other videos and articles miss vital details, but that’s not the case here. From equipment chase and explanation all the way through to processing in various software packages, this book has everything and the pictures serve as huge inspiration to go and try something because you’re never quite sure what will come out initially and once processed. Thanks Rob, there’s a huge amount of work which wil be useful for a very long time!
This is the best book I have seen on infrared photography! While it has plenty of information on the theory and science behind infrared photography, where it really shines is on the practical aspects of taking and post-processing IR images. The author provides many links to videos and available downloads to help streamline the process, including custom profiles for over 200 cameras plus lookup tables and Photoshop actions. He covers other raw editors and their strengths and weaknesses in working with IR images. Highly recommended!
There is a fantastic blend of the science and art involved in infrared photography. The book will remain a reference that I return to over and over in the future and is well worth the price.
I first found Rob when I became interested in IR photography. I started with IR filters on regular cameras and his insights helped me. I have since purchase a Fujifilm X-T1 IR and his videos have opened my eyes about what is possible in IR. I have his book saved on my desktop and use it regularly. If you are interested in getting into IR photography, there is no better asset than Rob’s book.
A great book, written in a simple way
A long-awaited, really in-depth book that really builds upon the earlier [free eBook - Getting Started with Your Converted Infrared or Full-Spectrum Camera]. Very helpful as I move beyond the basics of white balance correction and channel swapping.
Perfect, very concise and easy to follow and understand. A hard copy belongs on my bookshelf!
I am new to IR photography and fascinated with it. Rob’s book has been incredibly helpful in pointing the way forward and giving me an understanding of IR photography both in theory as well as in practice. It is well organized and easy to understand. If you have any interest in learning more about IR photography this book is a must.
A truly comprehensive book which approaches infrared photography from a variety of modes of shooting (modified or unmodified cameras, etc.). The images are beautiful and inspiring. A great read for novices or pros!
Most anyone can take an IR picture but Rob shows and teaches the art and subtlety of IR photography.
Rob’s book covers the whole gambit of infrared photography. It discusses the equipment, the settings and different approaches to this genre, as well as the editing/processing of images. It is the ‘go to’ guide for me. There is surprisingly little in terms of authoritative guide books on this subject and those that are available are not, in my view, as easy to digest. The fact that he has links in the book to associated aspects, from which lenses work best for IR, or how to create your own profiles, through to actions to streamline your workflow and much more, simply adds to the value and assistance that this book provides. When you combine this with his ongoing and ever expanding helpful videos, it’s difficult to think of anyone who is better placed to offer help and advice on this unique photographic genre. Definitely worth the asking price IMHO.
This book is well thought out in structure and contains a wealth of knowledge. As someone who has only just started out in Infrared photography I’ve realised two key points. 1) There is a huge range of variables in this genre and 2) the books on the topic seem quite poor until I found this book. An excellent companion in my new journey of discovery.
Well detailed information and photos.
I am a long time infrared shooter and still find it so helpful to have a inspiring and informative book on its wonders!
Very concise overview of if photography. Well written and easy to follow instructions. Thanks Rob.
Great book with lots of useful information and easy to follow.
This is really an excellent text that is well written and clearly explains the theory and practice of IR photography.
A great resource for beginners all the way to those experienced in IR photography.
A truly excellent resource!
As someone who has had the good luck of following Rob Shea’s YouTube channel and blog since they were started it comes as no surprise that his book Color Doesn’t Exist: A Practical Guide to Infrared Photography is an excellent and comprehensive resource for anyone interested in infrared photography. The information in the book is well chosen, and presented in a well-organized and friendly way, as is the case in the videos and blog articles. Also, the book is beautifully laid out and produced, with many outstanding photographs.
The book is very suitable as an introduction to infrared photography, as it covers everything a beginner needs to know. However, the book is much more than an up to date and complete recap of standard information on infrared photography, as it also covers Rob’s unique contribution to the development of color infrared image processing, a method that allows all steps to happen inside Adobe Lightroom, without taking a trip to Photoshop. This is not just a huge convenience; it also very significantly improves the ability to control colors in a way that leads to aesthetically pleasing results. To be honest, it is a game changer that you are not likely to find explained elsewhere at this point in time, as it is Rob’s recent invention.
Also, the book is a valuable complement to the currently more than 80 videos on Rob’s YouTube channel. Partly because it presents the whole subject in a well-structured way, partly because sometimes it is simply easier to locate a specific piece of information in a book than among a lot of videos. And once you locate it in the book, there will often be a reference to a video that goes into details.
In summary, I highly recommend the book.
This is a very well thought out and easy to read book. Rob has a unique talent for explaining sometimes complex information in a very understandable way. This book is an especially valuable resource if you are just starting out in infrared and Rob answers a lot of critical questions regarding camera choice, filters, lenses, and more backed up with great illustrations and real life photos. This is a great tool in my resource library and I refer to it often. Rob’s extensive knowledge on infrared photography makes it easier and faster to get up and running in this fun and creative form of photography. There is also a ton of advanced information in this book for those who want to dig deeper and work on some of the more technical aspects of IR. Lots and lots of very usable information here.
Comprehensive, concise. Invaluable, comprehensive information that explains the science of infrared. Identifies the powerful tools available in Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, and Photoshop in such a way that I feel resolved to master them.
A more comprehensive and cogent exploration of IR photography than Rob Shea’s COLOR DOESN’T EXIST just…doesn’t exist.
Great book. Clear, lucid and explains IR photography in an easily understood manner. Highly recommended book.
Wow! I have been shooting Infrared for 3 years now and am on my second converted camera. I was looking for a reference guide that would bring together all the knowledge of infrared photography. Rob, thank you for producing this fantastic guide and manual for Infrared entusiasts.
As you had stated in your preface, ‘The path to great images is filled with twists, turns, roadblocks, and dead ends. I have traveled down this path, and I would like to be your navigator.’ Congratulations, you have made this path to awesome IR photography much straighter and very logical.
Thank you and I look forward to more videos and books.
When will the book be available?
The Print and eBook editions are available now! Order Now
Are you considering offering both the Print and eBook editions at a single price?
The Print and eBook editions are available at a discount when purchased together. For those who have already purchased the eBook edition and are interested in the Print edition, I have emailed you a discount code so that you can get the same discount.
Will the book be available in languages other than English?
I’ve received requests for translations of the book. Translation can be complex and challenging, but I’m open to exploring the potential. I would love to make this book available in multiple languages.
Why is international shipping so expensive?
These are the best discount international rates available from the major carriers. Shipping prices are actual costs; they are not marked up. The cost to ship internationally is higher than I would like. Large volume shippers have options not available to independent publishers.
Is the eBook be available in Kindle, epub, or PDF format?
The eBook edition is in PDF format. It can be challenging for book readers to display a quality experience for instructional content with images. The PDF format ensures a consistent presentation and looks good on monitors, laptops, and tablets. The layout is similar to the Print edition.
Do I need to download the eBook each time I want to read it?
This is not required. Once downloaded by your browser, the eBook PDF file is located in the Downloads folder on your computer. You can move this file to the location of your choice to view it without downloading.
What is the best way to view the eBook?
The best way to view the eBook is with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Acrobat offers multiple viewing options, bookmarks for each chapter, and full-text search. Check out this video for tips on displaying the book as a two-page spread.
How do I download the eBook?
If you ordered the eBook edition only, your email receipt has a Download button. If you ordered both the Print and eBook editions, an email with the download link will be sent within 1 business day. Depending on your browser and any PDF viewer plug-ins installed, the file may open instead of downloading. The Adobe Acrobat browser plug-in offers a “Download this file” button in the upper-right corner, which can be used to download the file. If you cannot download the file, reply to the email receipt, and I can send you a direct download link.
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Question not covered here?
About the Author
Rob Shea has created over 100 YouTube videos specific to infrared photography, including detailed tutorials, photo shooting and editing guides, tips, tricks, raw editor reviews, and product reviews. He offers free downloads to help process infrared images and has developed new techniques to simplify the complex editing workflow for color infrared images in Adobe Lightroom. He received awards in Kolari Vision’s 2020 and 2022 Life in Another Light photo contests.
He enjoys shooting infrared landscapes while hiking and traveling. His work explores the many styles of infrared photography, researching technical challenges and sharing these learnings via YouTube and his blog.