How to create a blue sky with your infrared image

This article is a guest post from Deborah Sandidge, view her website and more information about her Infrared book at the end of the article.

How to create a blue sky with your infrared image

Shooting in infrared can transform a scene into something magical and otherworldly! A creative way to alter the look of an infrared image is to create the blue sky effect by “channel swapping” colors. This is very easy to do with the Channel Mixer in Photoshop. Images created with converted cameras using the enhanced (665nm) or super color (590nm) infrared filters work beautifully for this technique. Certain standard R72 type infrared images such as the one above work too. Here’s how you do it.

digital infrared photography

Step 1: Choose the Channel Mixer from the Adjustment Panel.

Step 2: Adjust the source channels, moving the red channel slider from 100% to 0, and increase the blue channel slider from 0 to 100%. (You can type in the values).

Step 3: Change the output channel to blue, and increase the red source channel to 100%.

Step 4: Change the blue source channel to from 100% to 0% to exchange the blue channel for the red.

Save this as a preset so you never have to go through these steps again! Click on the small preset options box next to the preset drop down menu “Save Channel Mixer Preset” (at the top of the channel mixer). I saved my settings as “Blue Sky” for easy reference and a one click adjustment.

You can use a Hue Saturation adjustment layer to enhance the color of your blue sky. Choose the Blue or Cyan Channel and adjust the Hue slider to the desired shade of blue. Make great pictures! ~ Deb

Deborah Sandidge teaches Digital Infrared Photography at
For more information on infrared converted cameras and lens choices, contact You can use code DEB for free ground shipping or shipping of your choice.
Deb’s book is available at bookstores such as Barnes & Nobles or online at

If you would like to learn more about digital infrared photography check out her article Intro to Digital Infrared Photography

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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1 Comment

  1. This is a really useful and timely tutorial. I am just finding my way with IR photography and this is a great tip. I will also take a closer look at Deb Sandidge’s book, thank you for sharing.


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