Common Uses of Filters in Photography

Feb 16, 2023

The word “filters” has a different meaning to many photographers, it depends on what your level of involvement is. Are you a professional, getting started or just do photography as a hobby? Did you know that way before Photoshop and Lightroom were even invented, professionals used small discs of glass to create filtered affects with their pictures.

As an example you can use filters to blur, sharpen or even block sunrays. Most of the time filters are used to correct problems or defects, by enhancing it and thus making it look a whole lot better.

To further explain what i mean, let’s take an example. Let’s say you wanted to take a picture of the waterfalls at Niagara Falls. Right at the base of the waterfall you would see water rising in a cloud shape. From this you could use a filter in this scenario to create the cloud affect only.

One fact that is undeniable is that your camera can’t always see or capture what you want it to. Another example being, if you wanted to take pictures of rain drops rather than the cloud you would take the picture at a higher resolution, and this is where your filter would make a huge difference, because this gives your camera a helping hand in seeing what you are seeing.

There’s many other filters that can be used, like a UV protector which can guard against the harshness of the sun. However, I’d highly recommend a polarizer. The polarizer has many uses in photography. For one its used when you are taking a shot in direct sunlight or another source of light, it’s like wearing sunglasses on your camera. Whenever i am taking landscape photography i never leave home without one. Here’s some other reasons why you should in a polarizer :

  • Allows you to exclude light reflecting from the surface.
  • Excludes reflected light that’s not wanted.
  • You control which light reflections you want to keep.
  • Brings definition to your photos.
  • Use slower shutter speeds.
  • Shoot through glass that would otherwise show reflections.
  • Protects your lens from impacts and the elements.

Some filters can actually help you create more depth on a particular focal point. A great example of this would be to use a fog/mist filter. This filter allows for a flare or a glow of light into your photos. How about creating a star affect, especially the ones when you are filtering light through trees. In this case using a star effect filter would allow the light to pass through a series of thin lines which are etched right into the filter which then ensures that any light flowing through it would create a star effect.

There’s many other filters, the list is almost endless in today’s technology. Some others that i think are worth of a mention are colour correcting lenses. I like taking pictures of blue skies. So when I can see that the sky is just far too blue for my picture, i can choose a filter that can take the brightness down a notch or two.

Last but not least is underwater colours for underwater photography. Underwater the colour spectrum doesnt really have a great range. A lot of photos will look red even though they are not in reality. It’s really easy to being the original colours back when you use colour correction filters.

Using filters in photography not only allows you to create special effects in a photograph, but it can also enhance your shots by adding colour or decreasing the natural effects of light. Photography does have many types of equipment that requires skill and knowledge, but that’s where the fun begins especially when just starting out or making it into a full-time profession.

Having filters helps us create perfect photos, and increases the enjoyment. What are other filter affects have you tried that you would also recommend. You can leave a comment below.

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  • nyc Explanation, Great work mate.
    Dec 02, 2022