Get cre­ative with lens fil­ters

Digital Photo (UK) - - HOW TO SHOOT -

If you re­ally want to make your city pic­tures stand out from the crowd, then you need to use a lens fil­ter. These are plates of glass or resin that at­tach to the front of your lens ei­ther via the screw thread if they’re cir­cu­lar, or with an at­tach­able fil­ter holder if they’re square, and mod­ify the light as it en­ters your cam­era. The two types of fil­ter most suited to en­hanc­ing ur­ban shots are ND (Neu­tral Den­sity) fil­ters and Po­lariser fil­ters.

ND fil­ters are dark­ened plates of glass that re­duce the amount of light en­ter­ing the cam­era, and work just like a pair of sun­glasses. They’re avail­able in dif­fer­ent strengths (‘stops’) and prices start at around £30. Be­cause they let less light through to the sen­sor, it means you need to use a longer shut­ter speed for a bal­anced ex­po­sure.

With a ND fil­ter it’s easy to shoot with a shut­ter speed of 30 sec­onds or longer dur­ing bright day­light. This means you can blur move­ment in the shot so clouds be­come in­trigu­ing smudges.

The big­gest ben­e­fit for city shoot­ing is that any mov­ing peo­ple will be ren­dered invisible in your im­age.

A Po­lariser fil­ter (from £40) screws onto the thread on your lens and works by cut­ting out re­flected light. They’re great for boost­ing sky de­tail to en­hance the drama, and also al­low you to con­trol re­flec­tions from glass and wa­ter so you can get re­ally cre­ative with your city shots.

Fil­ters sit in front of your lens to mod­ify the light pass­ing through. Shoot­ing with a Neu­tral Den­sity fil­ter lets you cap­ture 30sec ex­po­sures dur­ing the day to blur out pass­ing pedes­tri­ans.

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