The Essential Guide to Filters for Digital Cameras

filters in photography

If you are among the class of digital photographers that are thinking that filters are old-fashioned, you are wrong! Filters are still very much important especially when it comes to landscape photography. You can use filters to enhance your photos instantly without further needs of post-editing. It doesn't end there, with filters; you can have certain effects in your photograph that you cannot achieve with post-edition. Filters literally help you to achieve a lot of desired effects right from the location.

Moreover, the use of filters reduces your over-reliance on Photoshop and other photo editing tools. You can literally transform your images with filters without much hassle. One of the best advantages of filter is that you can use them in a wide range of situations in order to achieve the very best out of the model/scene that you want to capture.

In the next few paragraphs, I will cover the various types of filters and how you can use them to enhance your digital photography. You will also be able to learn different occasions were each type of filter is best used.

Types of Filters and Where they Work Best

ØPolarizing Filters

Polarizing Filters

Polarizing filters is one of the best tools any landscape photographer can have. This type of filter works by filtering out glare or the reflected light non-metallic surfaces. The effect of polarizing filter is more noticeable when you are photographing glass and water.

For instance, when you shoot water with polarizing filter, the polarizer will make it possible for your camera to see what is beneath the surface. Additionally, this filter will boost contrast and increase color saturation. This will make your sky to become bluer and the surrounding foliage greener.

Types of Polarizing Filters

There are two types of polarizing filters and they include:



The linear polarizing filters are used traditionally in film photography while circular filters are more common in digital photography.

These polarizers work by allowing light from a certain direction in order to remove glare from your photographs. There is a lot you can learn about polarizing filters that are not covered in this work.

ØNeutral Density Filters

Neutral density filter

Another important filter for landscape photography is the neutral-density filter. This type of filter is used in order to reduce the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. You will find these filters very beneficial when you want to use a slower shutter speed in bright conditions so you can be able to capture movement in running water or in clouds.

Additionally, if you are shooting seascapes, you can use ND filters to smooth out rough seas or to photography the light-trails of traffic in a very busy city. When you use ND filters in this condition, it will help you to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor and also gives you chance to reduce your shutter speed without ruining the exposure. Moreover, if you are shooting in a very bright conditions, ND filters allows you to use much higher aperture settings than you would have used to blur the background of your model or main subject and make the subject to stand out.

ØUV Filters

UV Filters

These filters are like their name sound, although we can't see UV light but the light still affects our photograph which means that UV filter can come to your rescue. In most cases, UV light appears in your photograph as a haze. In most cases, those who suffer from this problem are film shooters. You should be careful when using these filters; they have the likelihood of increasing lens flare when you are shooting directly to the sun.

How to Choose the Right Filter

When you want to buy filter, you need to first do an in-depth research. Ask professional landscape photographers their opinion about the best type of filter for you.

There are some good filters out there. An example of such quality filters is Hoya. The kit size of filters is usually 52-58mm in diameter. Check the diameter first before making your order to ensure it is what you have in mind and that it will fit with your camera lens. Note that you will have to pay more as you choose filters with wider diameter.

Filter is a tool you must have if you are a landscape photographer. If you like shooting landscapes, get ND filter; they are really useful in this occasion. On the other hand, you will need to buy a polarizing filter if you like shooting outdoors in the sun.

Where to Get Good Filters

You can find good filters in online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and other marketplace. If you can't afford new ones, look out for second hands filters from professional photographers.

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