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Photography Filters and Why You Should Buy Some

Photography filters are an often forgotten piece of equipment, but they can be very useful and are worth having in your kit bag. This article will give you some tips on how to use them and what they can be used for.

The first thing to think of when buying a filter is the size of your lens. Not the size of the lens mount, but the other end of your lens. On a lens you will normally find three numbers. One denotes the focal length of your lens. The second is the aperture range and the third, which comes after an icon like this ∅, is the size you need for any filters. Make sure you check all of your lenses as you may have to buy different sizes if you are going to be using screw on filters, as oppose to a filter kit. A filter kit normally costs a bit more but once you have the kit for your camera you can use the filters on different lens sizes.

Anything that you put in front of your camera lens will always have some effect on the quality of your image so I would definitely recommend buying good quality glass filters. As well as affecting the image quality, putting a filter on your lens may affect the amount of light coming through to your sensor. In fact a lot of photographers buy filters specifically made to let less light through.

Here is a list of popular filters:



UV Filters

In my opinion you should always have a UV filter on your lens. Having this filter on your lens will protect what is often the most expensive piece of your equipment. You should avoid touching the glass of your lens whenever possible but if you have a UV filter on your lens you can easily clean that when you need to. Another benefit of having a UV filter on your lens is that it will give some protection against lens from dust and sand etc. A UV filter will cut out some of the ultraviolet light, which is most useful if you are using a film camera. Digital cameras work a little differently so you would mainly need it for the protection of your lens.

Polarising filter

Polarising filters are great for getting rid of haze and reflections. Landscape photographers often use polarising filters to get bluer more dramatic skies and more saturated colors and to get rid of reflections on water and glass. Polarising filters come in circular (you twist them around) and linear and I would recommend the circular type for a digital camera.

Neutral density filter

This is the filter to use on a really bright sunny day when you need to use a larger aperture for a specific shot. Neutral density filters work by blocking out the light (from a little to a lot depending on the filter) so that you have to change your camera exposure to compensate. A lot of photographers will use them if they want to take a portrait shot outside and it is very bright. Using this filter then means that you can open up your aperture to blur out the background for a more pleasing result. These filters are also a way of getting a longer exposure for a shot. The photographers that take pictures of the sea looking like a soft calm lake, often use these filters to get the longer exposure needed for the shot.

ND graduated filters
This filter is the same as the one above but the dark area of the filter only takes up part of the filter. This is great for skies that are too bright. This way less light comes in for the sky part of the shot and your skies end up darker and more dramatic. Using a filter like this at sunset will keep the color of the sky vivid and add more depth to the clouds. These filters come in different strength so make sure you know what conditions you need it for before buying to make a better choice. You can also buy graduated filters in different color choices.
Filters can be a lot of fun and open up a new world of creative choices. Experiment and enjoy!


ND graduated filters

This filter is the same as the one above but the dark area of the filter only takes up part of the filter. This is great for skies that are too bright. This way less light comes in for the sky part of the shot and your skies end up darker and more dramatic. Using a filter like this at sunset will keep the color of the sky vivid and add more depth to the clouds. These filters come in different strength so make sure you know what conditions you need it for before buying to make a better choice. You can also buy graduated filters in different color choices.

Filters can be a lot of fun and open up a new world of creative choices.

Experiment and enjoy!




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