In infrared photography, the film or image sensor used is sensitive to infrared light. The part of thespectrum used is referred to as near-infrared to distinguish it from far-infrared, which is the domain ofthermal imaging. Wavelengths used for photography range from about 700 nm to about 900 nm. Usually an "infrared filter" is used; this lets infrared (IR) light pass through to the camera, but blocks all or most of the visible light spectrum (the filter thus looks black or deep red).
When these filters are used together with infrared-sensitive film or sensors, very interesting "in-camera effects" can be obtained; false-color or black-and-white images with a dreamlike or sometimes lurid appearance known as the "Wood Effect," an effect mainly caused by foliage (such as tree leaves and grass) strongly reflecting in the same way visible light is reflected from snow. There is a small contribution from chlorophyll fluorescence, but this is marginal and is not the real cause of the brightness seen in infrared photographs. The effect is named after the infrared photography pioneerRobert W. Wood, and not after the material wood, which does not strongly reflect infrared.
The other attributes of infrared photographs include very dark skies and penetration of atmospheric haze, caused by reduced Rayleigh scattering and Mie scattering, respectively, compared to visible light. The dark skies, in turn, result in less infrared light in shadows and dark reflections of those skies from water, and clouds will stand out strongly. These wavelengths also penetrate a few millimeters into skin and give a milky look to portraits, although eyes often look black.