Do You Use Photo Filters?

A beautiful sunrise over the ocean in Destin, Florida with the sandy beach in the foreground

Destin, Florida - ND4x filter, shutter speed 2 seconds, f22, ISO 64

Do You Use Photo Filters?

I had quite a few beach photos from a while back that I hadn't gotten around to editing yet. I was looking through them yesterday.

The above photo reminded me that a couple of people have asked me lately if I use a lot of different photo filters when I'm shooting, so I went ahead and edited the photo so I could use it for this post. 

Do I use a lot of photo filters?

The short answer is "No, not really."

But, of course, when do I ever write a really short post?

No. I don't use a lot of fancy photo filters, though they're tempting. I've seen some amazing effects from photo filters.

Good filters are expensive, though, and I'd rather spend my money on lenses.  

I do put protective UV filters on all my lenses. They protect the lenses from getting scratched.  

A UV filter affects your photo ever so slightly because it does put an extra bit of glass over the lens. I'd still rather use the filter because it protects my lens from sand, salt, dust, etc.

A UV filter is not essential and some photographers would argue that you're putting a cheap piece of glass over your expensive lens, so you're not getting as good a photo.

I'm out on the beach, I'm in the gritty, dirty city...I'll stick with the filter for now., I feel like I should run a test to see if I can tell the difference in my photos when I do and don't have the UV filter on! 

There is one filter I really love...

Neutral Density (ND) Filters

It's a neutral density (ND) filter. 

What does that mean? It's a gray filter, and it doesn't affect the contrast, color, or sharpness of the photo. It affects how much light reaches the camera's sensor.

An ND filter darkens the scene so you can use a longer shutter speed without blowing out the highlights

I used an ND filter to shoot the beach in the cover photo. 

The sun was coming up, and the area near the sun was BRIGHT, or as I'd say in photographer lingo, it was HOT. 

I wanted to use a long shutter speed so I could capture the ocean's movement and get a silky, soft effect on the water. 

If I left the shutter speed open a couple of seconds to capture the movement in the water, the scene was way too bright. 

I stopped down to f22, and it was still too bright, even with the ISO extra low at 64. 

I pulled out my ND4x filter and that solved the problem. 

With the ND4x, my camera sensor receives 25% less light (equivalent to 2 f stops). 

Once I put the ND filter on, I was able to leave my shutter open for 2 seconds without blowing my highlights. I would have liked an even darker ND filter for this situation so I could have opened my aperture up a bit, but all I have is the 4x, and I was happy with the result. 

Part of my issue right now is that I'm working with two camera bodies - my trusty Nikon D610, and a used LUMIX G85 I picked up recently. 

Once you get more than one camera and several different types of lenses, it gets crazy expensive getting filters for all the different lenses because you need different size filters., I'm not big into photo filters. If money was no object, I'd probably try out a few. I'm always learning so much about my camera and the technical aspects of photography, that keeps me busy enough. 

Someday, I'll try adding in some photo filters!

I hope this week treats you well!

See you between the raindrops!


Like beach scenes? You can find more on my site!