Photographic Filters – Which Ones Should You Use?


Affordable and easy to carry, photographic filters are an accessory that you should have in your camera bag. The type of filters you want depend on the type of photography you do. Here we’ll discuss the more common filters and their application.UV Filters – When I got my first SLR thirty five years ago, the man at the camera store told me to put a UV Haze filter on my lens to protect it. That advice is still true today. A UV filter will protect your expensive lenses from dust, water, greasy fingerprints, scratches, and other hazards. Oh, and it cuts down on the haze from ultra-violet radiation.

Polarizing Filters – Polarizing filters are commonly used to increase color saturation, especially with the blue sky. However, they’re also great for reducing or eliminating glare on water, glass, and other reflective surfaces. Circular polarizers are recommended for DSLR cameras, as linear polarizers have been known to confuse the light meter. Polarizers can also be used as a low-level neutral density filter (see below).Neutral Density Filters – Have you ever seen those photos of waterfalls, streams, or oceans, where the water has a silky look? The photographer used a very slow shutter speed to get that. Neutral density filters allow a slower shutter speed, even in bright light, by reducing the amount of light that makes it through the lens, without altering the color. Graduated neutral density filters are darker on top and gradually get lighter towards the bottom. This is especially useful when shooting landscapes where the sky is much brighter than the foreground. The filter evens out the exposure for the entire image.

Special Filters – Star filters, diffusers, and colored filters are among the variety of filters that produce special effects, and are appropriate for certain situations to create unique results.Because the photographic filter is the first element through which light passes before entering your lens, don’t skimp on quality. Well-made filters using high quality glass will serve you well for many years, while cheap filters might ruin your photos.