We present experimental data showing a significant dependence of light absorption on temperature in photorefractive LiNbO3:Fe crystals. The results are successfully explained by assuming that the widths of the Fe2+ absorption bands in the visible and in the infrared spectral region depend on temperature. The findings are of relevance for thermal fixing of holograms. Furthermore, a temperature-induced increase of the infrared absorption is promising for improved infrared recording. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.