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If you want to know the best camera filters for photographers, you’ve come to the right place.
Because in this article, I’m going to share with you the five filters that’ll instantly improve your photos.
I’m also going to explain who should consider each type of filter, and what the filters can do for your photography.
So if you’re ready to discover the magic of camera filters, then let’s get started!
There are many different filters that you can use, and I won’t mention them all. For instance, many people like to use a UV filter to protect the glass on the front of their lens. This is a functional use, and this article seeks to look at the creative use of lens filters. In other words, I’d like to discuss camera filters that can directly enhance your photography.
With all this covered, let’s take a look at the five best camera filters you can use to enhance your photos!
The circular polarizer is a great filter.
In fact, it’s an absolute must-have for many photographers.
A circular polarizer is primarily used for landscape photography, but it can be helpful when shooting outdoor portrait scenes and street scenes, as well.
This filter works by only allowing certain light waves into the camera, and it has several effects on your photos:
So if you like to shoot landscapes or any other subjects that produce reflections, then I highly recommend you pick up a circular polarizer.
Neutral density filters block the light in varying amounts depending on the filter’s strength. ND filter strength ranges from ND2 to ND1000 and beyond (where ND2 reduces light by one stop, and ND1000 reduces light by 10 stops).
Neutral density filters are mainly used for portrait work and landscape work (with the stronger ND filters used in landscape photography).
Let’s take a look at the different types of ND filters and why you might want to use them:
Graduated neutral density filters are pretty much only used by landscape photographers. They darken the sky during sunrise and sunset in order to balance out the exposure of the sky in relation to the foreground.
(Without a GND filter, you’ll often overexpose the sky or underexpose the foreground when shooting sunrise or sunset scenes.)
While it’s possible to replicate the effects of a graduated neutral density filter via HDR techniques, some photographers prefer to create their photos from a single image and often use GND filters in the field.
For one, a graduated neutral density filter lets you make your capture all at once, which can be very satisfying. And getting the shot in a single exposure certainly makes post-processing easier.
If you’re looking to buy a GND filter, check out the square options; they give you the ability to adjust where the horizon line is.
Let’s look at a couple of graduated neutral density filter traits:
Note that the quality of the GND filters will be better the more you spend. Cheaper varieties may introduce a color cast to your image and are therefore not entirely neutral. If you have the money to spend, I highly recommend the Lee filter system.
Graduated color filters work just like graduated neutral density filters – but instead of reducing light, they add color. In general, these filters are used to enhance the color in the sky.
For instance, you can use a graduated color filter to make a sunset sky even more dramatic by making the sky orange or red.
Other graduated color filters add sepia to the top half of your photo. And more experimental photographers add one color to the bottom of the image and another color to the top by stacking two filters together.
Overall, graduated color filters are a great way to have plenty of creative fun (though you do need to apply them in the right situations).
Do you want to create a dreamscape, with foliage that looks like it’s from a snowstorm?
Then you need to learn how to make infrared photos. And one of the most accessible ways to do this is with an infrared camera filter.
When you buy an infrared filter, it will appear black; that’s because the human eye can’t see the infrared spectrum of light.
Even with a filter, you’ll need a camera that can perform well with this filter attached, and some cameras are better than others.
You see, most cameras block infrared light from reaching the sensor to some extent, and the stronger the block, the less effective an infrared filter will be.
So should you choose to use this kind of filter, expect your exposure times to range from 30 seconds up to 4 minutes, depending on your ISO and aperture settings.
A popular filter for infrared photography is Hoya’s R72 Infrared Filter.
A camera filter can easily enhance your photos – by saturating colors, darkening skies, creating infrared effects, and much more.
Fortunately, camera filters aren’t hugely expensive, and they’re very easy to master! So make sure you pick up a filter or two.
Now over to you:
Have you used any of these filters? Is there another filter that you use in your photography? And as always, we’d love to see examples of your filtered photos in the comments section!