Photographic Filters: Are They Still Relevant

photographic filters - tiffen photographic filter

Many believe that photographic filters are still relevant. Even in the age of digital photography when photos can be manipulated via software such as Photoshop.  Using filters can also allow you to take enhanced pictures  using a flash. The importance of photographic filters cannot be overemphasized. Keep in mind that filters are essential camera accessories mainly because these modify the recorded images on the spot – as the shot is being taken, to be exact – thus requiring little to no software-based manipulation. With the criticisms regarding the abuse of the likes of Photoshop to get perfect shots of the subjects and objects in the photos, such a quality is, indeed, desirable.

Yes, truly, camera filters are still relevant! To gain a better understanding of their relevance and importance in digital photography, it is best to understand their numerous functions. Keep in mind, furthermore, that the effects of filters on the final photos can vary from subtle to significant so much so that the images will be nearly impossible to achieve without these accessories.

Photographic Filters - Lens Protection

Clear photographic filters are used mainly for protection of the lens against possible accidents. These filters are transparent with little to no filtering properties against incoming light from both natural and artificial sources.

Photographers obviously use clear filters to extend the lifetime of their lenses and to improve their functions. For example, it is easier to clean a filter than a lens, which can be easily scratched, and it is also cheaper to replace a damaged filter than a broken lens, not to mention that a filter completes the weather-proofing measures of certain cameras.

Photographic Filters Lessen Ultraviolet Light

Filters are also used to lessen the haziness caused by ultraviolet light from sources like the sun. It should also be noted that digital cameras particularly the sensors are highly sensitive to ultraviolet light so the use of photographic filters also adds another layer of protection to the equipment.

The general rule is that the stronger the filter (i.e., UV17 or Haze-2A), the more effective it is in lessening haze and purple fringing in the digital camera. This is the reason why strong ultraviolet filters are used in daylight-type films for photos taken in the shade – the filters warm the colors, so to speak.

Play with Colors and Contrasts

Filters also provide plenty of opportunities to play around with colors, in a manner of speaking, so as to enhance the impact of the final photos. For example, in color conversion, the appropriate filters compensate for the effects of natural and/or artificial lighting on the less-than-compatible film stocks’ rated color temperature.

And then there is also the fact that photographic filters are used for contrast enhancements in both colored and black-and-white photos. Examples include:

• An orange filter will “darken” the blue sky, thus, dramatically increasing the contrast between the sky and white clouds

• A deep green filter also “darkens” the blue sky and “lightens” the green foliage for a dramatic contrast

• A blue filter shows a sunny blue sky as overcast with little to no contrast between the clouds and the sky

Think about it: Changing between several photographic filters can change the colors and contrasts and, subsequently, the impact of the same subject or object, all without digital manipulation – and that’s why filters are still relevant!

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