My Precious

You Too Can Shoot Infrared Film!

Holga Infrared Set Up
Holga Infrared #10
IR in the Park
Onward, Charge!
IReflect on a Trout Stream
The Road to IR Lightenment


(1) Holga 120N Camera

(1) 46->52mm Step Up Ring

(1) Hoya 52mm RM-72 Infrared Filter

(1) roll of black tape

(1) tripod

(while it lasts!) Ekfe IR820 Infrared 120mm Film rolls

(optional) 52mm Snap On Lens Cap


1) Screw it! The step up ring screws directly into the plastic surrounding the lens as you can see in the main photo above. Not only will you be able to use the 52mm Hoya Infrared filter now, you will also be able to use any 52mm filter on your Holga after you screw on this step up ring. I also bought a new 52mm lens cap and leave the step up ring on my Holga 120N all the time. I would imagine that with enough screwing on and off with the step up ring, you will wear out the plastic surrounding the lens.

2) Up load! Unlike many other infrared films, the Efke brand is very easy to handle. I load the film in very subdued light, but there is no need to load it in complete darkness.

3) Tape 'er up! As much as I love light leaks, infrared film costs way too much for me to allow it to be completely ruined. Only when I shoot IR do I tape up my Holga. I tape up the seams and cover the red film window in the back of the camera with black tape. After each exposure, I peel back the tape to peer into the window so I know how far to advance the film. Then I put the tape back and cover the red window.

4) Mount it! A tripod is a necessity since we will need to use exposure times one second or greater. I don't know about you, but after 3 Starbucks Doubleshots, I can't keep my hands still for 1/50 of a second, nevermind a whole second or more.

5) Composition, composition, composition!Infrared film makes the sky black and vegetation (to varying degrees) bright white. Look at my image Coventry. Where is the image the brightest? The darkest? The whole point of infrared film is to take advantage of infrared light. Make sure you capture vegetation or other surfaces that best reflect infrared light.

6) Fire away! The trickiest part of infrared photography is exposure times. I use 1 second in bright sun, 4 seconds in the shade, and 8, 16, or 32 seconds in deeper shade.

7) Fire again! I bracket my IR photos and you should too. Because infrared exposure times are not an exact science, I will try at least two different exposure times for each scene. I mark down how long each exposure was and try to learn from it for the next time.

8) Questions? I am always happy to chat with other plastic camera aficionados and novices. Drop me a line at Have a fun time shooting!

9) Go forth and multiply! What are you doing still reading this? My instructions are done. Get outside and start shooting!

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36 responses

  • Penny Nannini

    Penny Nannini   gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    fabulous! My vote!!!

  • Penny Nannini

    Penny Nannini   said (9 Jul 2009):

    hey where do I vote?

  • Kate Woolley

    Kate Woolley gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    great info... thanks!

  • Melissa Thompson

    Melissa Thompson (Deleted) said (9 Jul 2009):

    Thanks! I've been wanting to try infrared in my holga. Great article.

  • Melissa Thompson

    Melissa Thompson (Deleted) gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    Nice work!

  • Catherine Hadler

    Catherine Hadler gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    great story Paul, with Fantastic images - inspirational

  • J. Harris Blacklist

    J. Harris Blacklist gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    This is awesome Paul... Your work has moved me to buy toys!!! Gonna try them all...

  • J. Harris Blacklist

    J. Harris Blacklist said (9 Jul 2009):

    I don't mean this is a that sense!

  • stouf

    stouf (Deleted) said (9 Jul 2009):

    Thanks a lot for that !!!

  • Megan Green

    Megan Green said (9 Jul 2009):

    Excellent, thanks! (I wonder what infrared would look like in my new work area...)

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    I think I remember when you wrote about getting this camera. Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    Hey, I want to vote! Great essay and your images are fantastic.

  • Devin Hayes

    Devin Hayes gave props (9 Jul 2009):

    Woohoo!! excellent write up!

  • Chris A. Fraser

    Chris A. Fraser said (9 Jul 2009):

    I haven't shot IR in ages..... time to go buy some more film!!! LOVE IT!!!!

  • Ken Weimar

    Ken Weimar gave props (10 Jul 2009):

    Have always loved real Infrared and Holgas. Never had the stones to try them together!

  • markus zundel

    markus zundel gave props (10 Jul 2009):

    brilliant essay

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (11 Jul 2009):

    Great reading and super shots...

  • ashton gosnell

    ashton gosnell gave props (12 Jul 2009):

    beautiful photographs!!

  • Silvia Dias

    Silvia Dias gave props (13 Jul 2009):

    Such an amazing effect!

  • Travis Bennett

    Travis Bennett gave props (14 Jul 2009):

    Nice. I'll have to give this a try.

  • Howard Grill

    Howard Grill gave props (16 Jul 2009):

    Great Article!

  • Stéphane Heinz

    Stéphane Heinz gave props (18 Jul 2009):

    Fantastic shots! And I was looking for a step up ring for my Holga as I have some IR 120 film to shoot, hanks for the links! :))

  • Penny Nannini

    Penny Nannini   gave props (18 Jul 2009):

    Yay! I'm back to vote too!

  • Will Depo

    Will Depo gave props (20 Jul 2009):

    A great story

  • Diane Peterson

    Diane Peterson gave props (20 Jul 2009):

    paul you are the master! I hot glued my step up ring on cause already lost one and the lens cap! not doing that again!

  • J. Harris Blacklist

    J. Harris Blacklist gave props (26 Jul 2009):

    Back to vote and re-read again...;-]

  • Jeff Clark

    Jeff Clark gave props (29 Jul 2009):

    Excellent story Paul and congrats again on the feature!

  • Penny Nannini

    Penny Nannini   gave props (29 Jul 2009):

    congratulations on being in the blog!

  • Paul Lavallee

    Paul Lavallee said (29 Jul 2009):

    Thanks Penny & everyone else! And I would like to remind everyone trying this to TAPE UP YOUR SEAMS! I didn't follow my own advice last week when I was out shooting another roll of IR and didn't tape shut the film door of the Holga. I accidently bumped into the camera, and THE FILM DOOR FELL OFF!!! Grrrrrrrrr, I must have ruined at least 4 of the 12 images...

  • Mattia Vacca

    Mattia Vacca gave props (4 Aug 2009):

    Excellent!!! My vote!!

  • blue mitchell

    blue mitchell (Deleted) said (25 Aug 2009):

    P, I'm about to get this set up finally - thanks for the inspiration my friend!

  • blue mitchell

    blue mitchell (Deleted) said (25 Aug 2009):

    hey Paul your link to the film is inactive now...any other good links?

  • Mig

    Mig said (26 Aug 2009):

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Stef LePape

    Stef LePape gave props (28 Apr 2010): I have to read to learn!...having looked at what you accomplished with the IR...I suppose its worth putting the ole frames on and read.

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes said (22 Aug 2010):

    Love the shots, great achievement!

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