Eliminate boring photos and taking pictures that all look the same. Knowing how camera lens filters can enhance your images, photography, and lead to more interesting photos.
eosdoc.com gathered and explain below the basics on camera filters, how they are used, and how to choose the right lens filters for your camera or next photo shoot.
What Are Photography Filters
Camera lens filters are transparent or translucent glass or gelatin pieces that attach to the front of a lens. They protect the camera lens, alter the light characteristics passing through the lens, or add special light or color effects enhancing an image’s content.
Are Camera Lens Filters Necessary?
Since digital photography is all about the quality and intensity of light, lens filters are often necessary to modify the light before it passes through the lens. Many photographers believe that some of the built-in tools found in Lightroom, Photoshop, and other editing programs can simulate filter behavior, making photography filters seem redundant in the digital age.
Note: Camera lens filters still have many uses in digital photography and should be a permanent component of every photographer’s equipment and camera bag. These can include polarizing filters that reduce glare and improve saturation, or simple UV/haze filters that block ultraviolet rays and provide extra protection for the camera lens.
What is the Most Commonly Used Filter in Film Photography?
The most commonly used filters in photography are UV filters. A UV protection lens filter attaches to the front of a camera lens, reducing the ultraviolet light that passes into a camera. This is especially crucial when shooting film photography. Film stock is highly sensitive to UV light and can cause severe abnormalities like discoloration in photos.
What Types of Filters are Used in Film Photography?
The following filters will help you adjust light, color, and size to get you closer to capturing the perfect image:
UV and Skylight Filters – The difference between a UV and skylight filter is subtle but notable: UV filters have no color cast. Skylight filters have a faint orangish-pink color cast. So UV filters are simply clear glass. A skylight filter is simply a UV filter dyed with a faint warm color tinge.
Polarizing Filters – Use polarizing lenses to reduce or eliminate glare. Light reflecting off horizontal surfaces like the road, bodies of water, or snow is horizontally polarized. A polarizing filter oriented vertically will filter out the glare while still allowing sufficient light through. A polarizing filter on your camera helps reduce shiny reflections.
Neutral Density Filters – (ND) Neutral Density filters reduce the intensity of all wavelengths of light equally from entering the camera, in measured amounts. This allows the photographer to exercise more control in selecting shutter speed and aperture combinations in multiple conditions.
Graduated Neutral Density Filter – Graduated neutral density filters permit you to capture high-quality images in scenes where brightness varies. An example of this is a photograph of a beach scene with a bright blue sky. If you shoot the foreground, the sky may be too light, and if you shoot the sky, the background will be too dark.
Color Correction Filters – These filters are used to make adjustments to the red, blue, or green light characteristics. Applications include correcting color balance, light source variations, and other color effects.
Close-Up Filters – In photography, a close-up lens is a simple secondary lens used to enable macro photography without requiring a specialized primary camera lens. They work like reading glasses or a magnifying glass, allowing a primary lens to focus more closely.
Special Effects Filters – Special effect filters, unlike polarizers and neutral density filters, aren’t there to perfect what we see but to add or modify what’s already there. Filters like cross-star, soft, fog, multi-vision, infrared, radial zoom, clear center, and others are excellent options to amp up the creativity in your photos.
How To Buy the Right Camera Lens Filter
Before running to your local camera shop to spend your resources on an array of photography filters, consider the following to help you determine what you actually need:
- Use Neutral Density (ND) filters for smoother or more balanced landscape shots
- Get clearer shots in the sun and protect your lens with a UV or skylight filter
- Use a polarizing filter to improve saturation and reduce reflections
- Select the right lens filter diameter (to properly pair with your equipment)
- Choose a filter that’s quick and easy to change
Run tests with all new equipment using various camera settings and lighting conditions. The more knowledge you possess about your equipment capabilities will allow you to be exponentially more creative with your photography.
Filters Used in Film Photography
In this article, you discovered vital information and basics about camera lens filters, how they are used, what filter types are most common, and how to select the right filters for your photography equipment and project.
Knowing how to use the right photography filters will help you capture stunning and creative images where other photographers fail without them.
Ignoring the need for camera filters will leave your photography looking amateur – at best and unappealing to prospective clients.