Ep 73 Filters: The essential guide to on camera filters


Are filters still relevant these days? When so much can be done to images in post-production, what filters do you really need?

Gina and Valerie discuss why you still need filters, which ones are ideal for your photograph, and surprising ways that you can use them. You’ll also discover what you can do to MacGyver handy filters in any situation.

#ginachallenge #filtered

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Show notes

Useful links

Via Dan Barker

Listener questions

Jessica Booten asks:
How do you use a tripod when shooting portraits without feeling klutzy?
The answer is in the episode.

Kari Doyle asks:
Hey. My apologies if you have mentioned this in your podcast. I’m a bit late to the party and trying to catch up. (Love it by the way). But how do you get good lens flare?
The answer is in the episode.

Shout out

To Rahim Mastafa

Rahim Assassin Creed 1
Above from Rahim: Been having some more fun with Photoshop from my #‎AssassinCreedshoot. Burn, baby, burn!


Rahim Assassin Creed 2
Above from Rahim: Going explosive for this latest edit from my #AssassinsCreed shoot. BOOM!!


Filters: The Essential guide to on camera filters

What is a camera filter?

  • A camera filter is optical glass, plastic or anything that goes in front of the camera lens to change the way light enters the camera
  • Most photographers are sold a UV filter when they buy their first DSLR. It’s like the paint protection when you buy a new car. The best thing to do with your UV filter is to throw it away. You don’t need cheap glass in front of your expensive lens. If you want to protect your lens, use a lens hood and a lens cap

Pre digital era:

  • Coloured filters to compensate for different lighting conditions
  • 81A to slightly warm images
  • Red filters for BW film when shooting people with bad skin
  • Softening filter for older models
  • Rubbing dust onto a filter to create softening effect
  • Various filters compensated for colour shifts, e.g. convert tungsten to daylight when shooting on set

Now many of the filter actions are obsolete because software like Photoshop and Lightroom do such an amazing job.

Are there any filters still worth using these days and how can they improve my photography?

Landscape essentials:

  • ND
  • Polariser
  • Reverse ND
  • Grad filters

Portrait essentials:

  • Variable or fixed ND filter
  • A neutral density filter will give you a darker exposure while shooting at a lower f-stop or slower shutter speed

Shooting bright sun outdoors my reading is F22 @ 1/200th sec

  • No shade
  • Midday sun
  • Need fill flash

Shoot at f22 and background is sharp


Add an ND filter to the camera. The exposure remains exactly the same. The light has not changed but the light entering the camera has now been affected by the filter

Change the aperture setting according to the filter being used:

3 stop ND open up by 3 stops f22 becomes f8
6 stop ND open up by 6 stops f22 becomes f2.8

NB 6 stops becomes difficult to focus always set up shot and prefocus before adding your filter.

This scenario also works with studio strobes where it can be difficult to shoot at f1.2 using studio lighting.

Is it best to buy the screw in ones or the square ones?

What about size?

What about cost? Why do some cost $100’s and others $5? What’s the difference?

  • Quality of glass or plastic
  • Coating/protection
  • Size of filter
  • Make/construction
  • Disposable filters used by film crews

Can you DIY filters?

  • 10 stop ND welding glass
  • Vaseline over UV filter
  • Plastic bag
  • Stocking
  • Lace over lens
  • Dust on UV filter

#ginachallenge #filtered

0 Response
  1. Rick H


    The pod cast on the Filter usage is very informative and shed “light”, no pun intended, on applications for various filters. I have always had difficulty with ND and appreciate the comprehensive explanation for outdoor and studio work. These basic tips offered make have assisted with quite a few “a ha” moments.


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