What do polarising filters do?
QI’m interested in advancing my photography skills by using lens filters to create different effects. I’ve heard of polarisers but I’m not sure if this is what I am after. What do they do and should I get one? Helen Scaife
Matty says Using lens filters is a superb way of expanding your creativity, and polarisers can create effects that can’t be replicated in Photoshop. Once attached to the front of a lens they boost colour saturation and reduce reflections, making them great for a wide range of subjects including landscapes, coastal scenes and city shots.
There are two types of polariser available, circular and linear, but the circular variety is the only one of use to photographers. They screw into the front of your lens and filter out sunlight reflected at certain angles. Cutting out this light often makes for much better images. The effect is controlled by rotating the front element of the filter, and its strength is relative to the angle of the sun compared to your camera.
With a polarising filter you can make water appear more clear, the sky look more blue and clouds more defined by reducing glare. Vegetation also appears more green and verdant, and you can even shoot through glass without worrying about reflections. This makes these lenses invaluable pieces of kit capable of transforming your photography.