10 Photography Tips, this time we talk about Filters!

If you missed yesterdays blog post then you may have missed that over the next couple of weeks, every blog post will be a photography tip. These Photography Tips won’t be in any particular order, I am just going to thrown them up here on the blog as I see fit!

Tip #2: Use filters.

Now, I say this with a bit of trepidation because I see a lot of people using filters that they don’t need to use. Im not a big fan of skylight or UV filters. The manufacturer of the lens has gone to great lengths to avoid things like refraction and light coming through at the wrong angles and creating flare and other unwanted stuff [Insert technical jargon here]. The bloke in the shop wants to sell you stuff, he shows you a lens that has the front element smashed and tells you that could have been prevented with some cheap crappy and very overpriced clear filter. You go and throw some cheap ass glass filter on the front of your lens thinking you’re going to protect it and you may end up degrading the image quality. I’m not saying that you will, but it is possible.

Personally in 20 years of photography I have never damaged the front element of a lens. I wouldn’t say I’m the most careful photographer on the planet, and my lenses are still fine. They will sell you on fear, they’ll show you a lens that they’ve probably put a hammer through to sell you a filter for $150 thats basically just a piece of glass, so stay away from those clear ones.

Filters that I think are essential to photographers and where you should start.

Hoya_CPLGet yourself a circular polarising filter (CPL), it is a fantastic filter for landscape photography. It will make a very powder blue sky a nice deep rich blue, it will cut out reflections from water and other shiny things as well. So if you’re taking a picture of a waterfall put your circular polarizing filter on. It’ll get rid of reflections in the water and on the rocks and just get you a much nicer image. So a circular polarizing filter, sometimes called a CPL is a great addition and should really be your first filter!

Some other filters that you could invest in would be a graduated ND filters, ND stands for neutral density, meaning that they won’t alter the color of your image. What they will do is even out the exposure across your frame. Graduated ND filters are very good for landscape photographers because they will reduce the light from the sky to make it more even with the foreground, almost an essential part of a landscape photographers kit. I have a video on how I use an ND Grad filter HERE.

The other one that’s really cool is a standard ND “neutral density” filter. These filters reduce the exposure across the entire frame so you can have very long shutter speeds and get real misty water effects and blurry clouds. The popular ones are usually 8 or 10 stop filters, this refers to the amount of light they will stop coming through the lens.

Today’s iCandy – Turimetta Falls

If you’ve been following me for some time, you will know that my most favourite beach is Turimetta Beach on the northern beaches of Sydney. This photo was taken creatively using ND Graduated Filters. On my 14-24mm lens I only have graduated filters, sometimes I will use 2 filters together, installing one into the filter holder upside down to create a similar effect as if I had a standard ND with a graduated filter over the top. This helps to even out the exposure across the frame and allows me to slow down the shutter speed and capture the movement of the water.

Turimetta Falls


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