3 Lens Filters You Should Bring To EVERY Photoshoot
These simple tools create dramatic effects in your photography
Lens Filters. Do you need them? Which ones? Are they worth the money?
Depending which photographer you ask, you’ll get different answers.
BUT one thing you’ll find: Most experienced pros use lens filters in some way or another to enhance their imagery.
Whether it’s to add more dreamy hellation to night portraits, remove the reflections off of harsh mid day scenery, or simply block out enough light to lower their shutter speed to add some motion blur – There are a million ways to use filters to add a unique twist to your images.
In this video, Mitch Lally shares the “BIG THREE” camera lens filters he (and MANY) other pro photographers never leave home without.
Here Are Links To Check Out The Recommended Photography Lens Filter Types.
You’ll want to make sure you match the diameter of your lens (written on the inside of the lens) with the size of the filter.
Personally, I like to buy the cheaper ones to test out how I like them first
YES the super expensive filters are great and certainly better quality, but don’t feel the need to hit those out of the gate.
You can decide whether you like the filter, whether you want a stronger or weaker one etc with a cheaper version first.
Or go all in and buy the best right away – You do you!
The following are amazon affiliate links which help support the site. If you find your filters elsewhere that’s all good too!
MUST HAVE LENS FILTER #1 – VARIABLE ND FILTER
A variable ND filter is basically adjustable sunglasses for your camera. Sometimes, you might want to have a long shutter speed in the middle of the day to give your photos motion blur (Think cool racing car photos or waterfall photos with dreamy watery blur instead of perfectly frozen and sharp)
To use it, you just screw it onto the end of your lens, then twist it right or left to make it darker or brighter.
As an added bonus, having a filter on your camera also adds a little extra protection from rocks, scratches, drops etc.
A $75 filter is MUCH cheaper to replace than a $1000+ lens!
To get the right size, make sure the filter you buy is the same size as your lens – it says the measurement on the inside of the lens front. The most common size is 67mm or 77mm in general.
CIRCULAR POLARIZING FILTER
Have you ever used polarizing glasses? If you have, you know how they work: They reduce the amount of reflections from the sun – making what you see more clear and reducing glare.
So how does a circular polarizing filter work? Circular polarizing filters for your lenses work exactly the same as polarizing glasses! The only difference is that where your glasses are polarized 100% all the time to reduce reflections coming from one direction, a circular polarizer lets you adjust how the polarizer is working by changing the alignment of the two glass elements you twist to the right or left.
It sounds complicated, but it’s actually not. A circular polarizing filter gets rid of harsh glare in your photos, especially when you’re shooting in bad lighting situations!
BLACKMIST 1/8 STRENGTH FILTER
If there were a lens filter for instant vintage dreamy vibes – This would be it.
Black mist filters add hellation (a fancy word for hazy glows) around light sources, and reduce contrast & sharpness in your images.
Why would you WANT to reduce sharpness & contrast?
One simple reason: Style & vibe.
Today’s digital cameras and lenses can be so sharp, they actually feel TOO sharp. Think about the difference between a creamy polaroid photo and something shot with your iphone… The polaroid has a certain romantic nostalgia to it.
Mist filters come in all sorts of different strengths and varieties, but they all do something similar – they add vibe.
They are PARTICULARLY awesome when shooting in low light / sunset type conditions, where you can get absolutely dreamy flares & photos that feel less like digital reproductions and more like artistic, painterly compositions.
Ask any major photographer out there, and chances are about 90% of them will have & use these 3 filters all the time.
Using camera lens filters is about the easiest way to instantly change the way your images feel, and add a fresh boost of creativity to your work as a photographer.
Have questions? Leave them in the comments below! Which filter is YOUR favorite?
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