A polarising filter is useful for enhancing scenes that include blue skies, cottony white clouds, or big stretches of water. They add pizzazz to your photograph that simply can’t be replicated in Photoshop! A circular polarising filter can have a huge impact on your composition and creativity, here’s how they work.
What does a polarising filter look like?
Don’t forget to take note of the dimeter of your lens before purchasing your polarising filter! You’ll need to screw it into the front of your lens, so it’s important that it’s a suitable size, whether you’re shooting on a DSLR or a mirrorless camera.
There’s various brands and qualities of filters available to photographers, we’d recommend researching brands including Hoya, B+W, LEE and Formatt-Hitech. In comparison to a UV filter, polarisers are not cheap filers and they may become more expensive the bigger the lens diameter you require
Where can a polarising filter make the biggest impact?
Photoshop can go a long way in adding depth and enhancing your photographs, however, they simply can’t match the unique effects that a polarising filter brings to your kit set-up.
Reducing glare – First and foremost, a polarising filter is specially adapted glass that, when turned at an angle to a light source, will reduce glare from reflected surfaces. This is useful not only when shooting large expanses of water but also through shop windows and shiny objects, like brand-new cars.
Water – A polarising filter will make transparent surfaces such as water appear more transparent. Images where the photographer has exposed the contents within a lake are captured with a polarizer! You may also experience a chance of colour within the water itself whilst using the filter, too.
Sky – The colour of beautiful blue sky can also drastically change whilst using a polarising filter! By simply rotating your filter you’ll notice a clear blue sky change from a light pale blue colour to a vibrant and deep blue colour. A polarising filter can also cut out a lot of the misty haze that is often present in urban shots.
As our eyes can’t actually see the difference between normal light and polarised light, its effect can be difficult to predict. You’ll simply have to try it to see whether it’s going to enhance the scene you’re capturing!
Should you buy a polarising filter?
There are many items you can get away without having, but if you predominately shoot landscapes or architecture, there’s no denying that you need a polarising filter to help bring to life your lavish scenes.
For purely protective purposes, a UV filter is most cost-effective and appropriate for the job. Keep in mind that with a polarising filter you will need to compensate with a longer shutter speed, higher ISO, or larger aperture as it does limit the amount of light coming in through your sensor.
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