VSCO’s new pink and blue “infrared” filters

It can be associated with trendy teenagers, but VSCO is also one of the most respected smartphone publishing platforms available, with a serious photography pedigree – the company started in 2011 creating Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions that mimic classic film stocks. These days, however, it’s also about the VSCO app.

In addition to its impressive list of app-based editing features and functions, including effects created from actual film scans, VSCO has released two new sets of “infrared” filters that create blue and pink hues. dream.

What is infrared (IR) photography?

As the name suggests infrared photography capture wavelengths of infrared light that are not visible to the naked eye. Capturing this IR light with traditional film requires the use of special film and a filter. For digital photography, it’s basically modifying your camera to remove the IR blocker in front of the sensor (most digital cameras are already IR sensitive). There are services that will do this for you, but for most people it’s probably best to leave your camera’s IR filter in place.

IR photos have a unique look because most subjects in a scene reflect IR light differently than visible light – you just can’t see it. Greenery and foliage, for example, strongly reflect infrared light, making them appear as if they are glowing. Portraits look soft, almost radiant, as infrared light penetrates a few millimeters into subjects’ skin before bouncing back, and skies become incredibly dark as less infrared light is scattered into the atmosphere than visible light.

It’s trippy, and because infrared light doesn’t really have color as we would know, shooting infrared light also creates false colors in your images. Kodak Ektachrome Professional Infrared the film reproduced infrared in red, red in green and green in blue, for example. And while digital photography allows greater control over color rendition, IR shooting with a digital camera still tends to result in some unusual tones.

VSCO’s new IR filters

From left to right, VSCO’s original IR filters include IR1, for landscapes, IR2 for portraits, and IR3 for a B&W infrared effect. Harry Guinness

VSCO’s “infrared” filters attempt to mimic the look associated with infrared photography without, you know, taking a picture of anything in the infrared spectrum. The new ones build on the brand’s more traditional and existing products. IR filters: “IR1” for landscapes, “IR2” for portraits and “IR3” for B&W photos.

Compared to these three, the new filters are a bit more nuanced. They include “IR4” for pink-toned landscapes, “IR5” for pink-toned portraits, “IR6” for blue-toned landscapes, and “IR7” for blue-toned portraits. Let’s take a closer look at each.

‘IR4’ Infrared Landscape Pink

VSCO IR4 filter
Left: original photo; Right: with IR4 applied. Harry Guinness

The IR4 desaturates the image and pushes everything, especially the green tones, towards pink. It is not nearly as saturated as the IR1 filter. But that’s the point.

Portrait Infrared Rose ‘IR5’

VSCO IR5 filter
Left: original photo; Right: with IR5 applied. Harry Guinness

The IR5 desaturates the image and pushes everything, especially green tones, towards pink while preserving skin tones.

‘IR6’ Infrared Blue Landscape

VSCO IR6 Filter
Left: original photo; Right: with IR6 applied. Harry Guinness

The IR6 desaturates the image and pushes everything towards a cold blue.

‘IR7’ Infrared Blue Portrait

VSCO IR7 filter
Left: original photo; Right: with IR7 applied. Harry Guinness

And IR7 desaturates the image and pushes everything towards a cool blue while preserving skin tones.

First impressions

Honestly, I’m pretty impressed with VSCO’s take on IR photos. Colors see awesome and about as accurate as any IR emulation filter can realistically be.

The one area where everything falls short is the sky: they just don’t have the darkness and richness of real IR photography and, really, there’s no way to reliably emulate that with a filtered. You just need to make a few tweaks with some of VSCO’s other tools if you want to nail authenticity.

Yet VSCO continues to establish itself as one of the best mobile publishers. And these new filters are a nice extension to their already extensive editing suite.

How to Get VSCO Infrared Filters

The VSCO app is available for free at AppleiOS and android. However, to use the new IR filters, you must sign up for a VSCO subscription. It costs $19.99/year.

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