Tag Archives: intro to photography

50 shades of grey

On today’s blog I would like to talk to you about filters. So for all of you who read the title and thought this was a raunchy sex type post, sorry! Filters for photography have been around forever, over the years techniques have changed a little but the fundamentals of being a creative photographer are still the same. Stepping out into the creative world of filters can be addicting, it is also known to cause lack of sleep, disappearance of extra funds in your bank account, many wasted hours processing photos and the need to travel for that next shot once your hooked. So lets go over some filters that are available for photographers today. First we have a UV or protective filter.3111_filtry-all2 Then we have Polarizer that helps cut down the harsh sun. We also have ND filters that cut out light to create longer exposure times. And of course the old faithful color filters. So let’s talk a little more about these types of filters and what they really do.

Haze filters or UV filters seem to be a great seller for most photography businesses. The average person will buy one of these filters when buying a new lens for the protective value that it adds to the glass of the lens. It also will cut down the glare on water or harsh light in landscapes. So as much as people think they are doing something good for there images they really are degrading some of the image quality. When a lens is designed it is made to what technicians feel is optimal quality, adding that one more piece of glass can have that much effect on your image. Sometimes these filters will add more flare from direct sun or in the nighttime they can add star bursts from specific light sources. This also depends on the type of lens that you install this filter on as well.maxresdefault So the real trade off you have to think about is, do I need to protect my lens? Or will I gamble and remove it so I get a better picture? I will tell you this much that a 20-30 dollar filter is a lot cheaper then to repair or replace a lens, so you decided.

Next we should talk about those polarizer filters and what they can do for you. Polarizers are designed to cut out some of that harsh light so you can get more depth in your clouds and give it that rich blue sky.polarizer-filter-example Or they can also cut down some light to give you a more real look of water, removing the glare and adding deep tones. Some polarizers filters can also be circular, meaning that you can rotate the filter to adjust it properly on your horizon. But be careful when using these filters because if it’s a strong one and you don’t have it aligned properly to your landscape you will have a funny looking line across your image. Best way to tell is to aim it up towards the sky and adjust the filter so you can see the defined line. Another problem people have with these filters is they do not work when facing the sun. You must be facing 90 degrees from the sun. So the easiest way to remember this is to face the sun and what ever direction your shoulders are turned will be the best light for your filter.

filter-in-holderOk so ND filters are a very popular filter on the market right now. When you are looking into buying one I would suggest doing some research in regards to the color cast that can be created by them. So the idea of a ND filter is to cut out the light and trick the camera into thinking it’s darker outside then it really is. What this does is it allows you to get a slower shutter speed to create a long exposure. Some examples would be that soft silty looking water from rivers or waterfalls. Or another example would be that streaked look of the sky that you see in nighttime long exposures. Or one of my favorites would be the look of some rides at the fall fair in the nighttime.fair crop ND or Neutral Density can be fairly expensive and usually require a proprietary holders for that specific type of filter to mount onto your lens. The holder can again increase the total cost of owning one of these setups. Some people would rather purchase a regular screw on type filter instead of the holder style. One thing I should mention is that the lip on a screw on filter should be slim if you are shooting with a wide angle lens or you will catch the lip in your photos.

Many people still ask me if they should get color filters for there DSLR so this is what I tell them.rodenstock-filtry-1000x750 The usual color filters for BW film are not very useful in digital world as these can easily result overexposure in one channel and leave the other channels underexposed and noisy. Putting a strong color filter in front of your lens means that you are using your digital camera inefficiently, as for example in case of red/blue filter, you’re using just 25% of your available pixels and 50% in case of green. However people who shoot black and white photography and do not use editing software these filters can still be of use. Black and White is a balance of dark blacks and white whites so to use a filter to make a channel stronger can result in a more impacting contrast in a photo. For those of you that have editing software this can all be done at your fingertips without filters.

If you would like to learn more about how to use some of these filters please join me on one of my composition workshops. The workshops we will be using filters on will be 50 Point sunrise, Night photography into a sunrise, Golden hour workshop, Fall colors in Paris and the Fall fair. We will work together using your filters to make sure you bring home the pictures you desire.
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