Landscape photography masterclass:

Everything you need to know about filters

Discover the essential filters for landscape photography that will take your outdoor scenic shots to the next level

Let’s look at the best filters for photography, which do come at an additional cost but are well worth the investment.

Filters are a landscape photographer’s best friend, as they help you achieve effects that aren’t possible in post-production. They also help you get the photograph as perfect as possible in-camera, which is always best practice.
There’s so many filters to look at, so here we’ll go through the most useful ones and what they do, including neutral density (ND), graduated NDs, polarizers, sunset filters and more. Putting any sort of glass in front of your lens will degrade image clarity, so it’s best to invest in a quality set of filters to minimize this.

01 Screw-in or square varieties

Filters come in two main types. Screw-in ones can be cheaper and smaller, as they screw directly into the front filter thread of your lens, but step-up rings can be used to fit them on other lenses. Square filters tend to be more expensive, as you also have to buy a filter holder system to go with them.

02 Keep your filters in top condition

Be sure to regularly clean filters of any dust, dirt or fingerprints, as these will impair image quality, causing softness, dust spots, or flare. It’s also worth investing in the best possible glass to keep any degradation in image quality to a minimum.

03 Protect your lens with a UV filter

Modern digital camera sensors typically already have a UV filter, so a screw-in UV filter is unlikely to have a strong effect. We find screw-in UV filters handy to protect the front element of your lens as a scratched filter is cheaper to replace than a front element!

04 Block the eyepiece on DSLR cameras

When shooting long exposures sunlight can creep in through the optical viewfinder on DSLR cameras, causing flare to appear in your images. Canon’s DSLR cameras come with an eyepiece cover on the camera strap that you can slot in place to prevent this. 

05 Use a long exposure calculator

Calculate exposure times with neutral density filters more easily with an exposure calculator, like the Lee Stopper Exposure Guide app. It tells you the exposure to dial in with a Lee Little, Big or Super Stopper in place (6-, 10- or 15-stops respectively).


Author Profile

Scott Baber
Scott Baber
Senior Managing editor

Manages incoming enquiries and advertising. Based in London and very sporty. Worked news and sports desks in local paper after graduating.


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