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3 Filters This Photographer Brings to Every Shoot

Filters can feel like unimportant and superfluous purchases at times, but they have the power to make a big difference. Some are necessities to get the shot you have in mind and others are stylistic choices. Here are three one photographer uses constantly.

I have used filters on my lenses from the first day I started after I was instructed to use one to protect the front element of my lens. However, over time I found need for them above and beyond the basics. The first filter I bought was a graduate neutral density filter to counter the contrast of sunrises and sunsets. However, the second time I needed one was far more niche.

I had photographed a car just for fun, and as a beginner often does, I was met with a result I wasn't happy with. The reflections on the windows were highly distracting, but I shrugged it off. When I got my first press pass to photograph a motorsport event, this was a problem I wanted to solve and so I bought a CPL filter to cut the reflections out. This filter ended up being one of my staples and I have used it in all different brands of photography, from commercial to landscape.

What filters are always in your camera bag and why? Share your staple picks in the comment section below.

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2 Comments
Jon Kellett's picture

Always have a CPL, hardly ever used it. In fact, I don't think I've used it in years! Mostly using a 200-600 with 95mm filter size for wildlife, so CPL not needed.

Often think about buying a 100mm lens filter system and a collection of filters, then remember that I don't shoot landscapes enough to justify it.

I do use 720nm and 690nm filters (mostly the 690) on my full spectrum camera. Will probably buy a UV-pass filter this month, too.

Haven't used a UV protection filter since perhaps 2008(?). Used to carry one for when shooting ocean waves, but now I do that with care/distance and the filter would annoy me.

Alexander Maier's picture

I use clear filters on my lenses for reporting photography to prevent the front glas of the lens for being damaged. In architecture photography I often use CPL and ND filters. The sample photo is from a private shoot. The front is glass. Only with a CPL filter I was able to get the objects in the courtyard on the picture. ND filter I use to extract people or traffic in my pictures. On the second picture you see some "ghost" cars. This was intentional to break up the picture.