How to Use a Circular Polarising Filter for Photography

Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Use a Circular Polarising Filter for Photography

Filters change the type of light or the way light enters the lens of a camera. Photographers cannot replicate the unique effects of a polarising filter through computer editing like they can with other filters. Because of the unique properties, photographers need to learn how to properly use the filter to create maximum effectiveness. By deciding when to use the filter, finding the right size, and making the proper camera adjustments, photographers can reduce glare and improve colour saturation with a circular polarising filter.


Decide when to use a circular polarising filter

Circular polarising filters change the way that cameras see light. As a result, these filters reduce glare and reflections as well as improve colour saturation to make the images really pop. This makes them a good choice to use when shooting water, sky, colours in natural daylight, and glass, or other reflective surfaces. Circular polarising filters are a popular choice over linear because they do not confuse the autofocus and metering systems in modern cameras, allowing photographers to get an accurate reading.


Choose the right circular polarising filter size

When selecting a circular polarising filter, it is important for photographers to choose one that fits on their lens. Circular polarising filters screw onto the threads at the end of the lens to create a tight fit and prevent light from entering the lens through the sides. The end of the barrel lists the size so that shoppers can easily find the right match. Different brands have different sizes. For example, Nikkor and Pentax 18-55mm kit lenses have a filter thread of 52mm while Canon's 18-55mm kit lenses have a filter thread of 58mm. Thus, the different lenses could not use the same lens filter sizes.


Adjust the filter and the camera settings

Polarising lenses have a dark colour, much like sunglasses. As such, they reduce the amount of light that can enter the lens. As a result, photographers must increase exposure time. By adjusting the filter as well as the camera settings, photographers can create the desired effect. Additionally, they should be mindful of the placement of the sun to achieve the best results.

Be conscious of the sun and lighting

Photographers should avoid using circular polarising filters in low lighting or overcast conditions. This greatly reduces the amount of light that enters the lens and diminishes picture quality greatly. Additionally, photographers should avoid shooting directly into the sun. For the greatest impact, the sun should sit at 90 degrees from the lens. This means that the sun should always be at the photographer's side.

Get the desired effect with the filter

Photographers can adjust the filter effect by rotating the front element of the filter. They can increase and decrease the effect of the filter depending on which direction and how far they turn it. When preparing a shot, photographers should adjust the filter until they achieve the desired effect.

Change the camera settings

As stated earlier, polarising filters effect how much light enters the lens. This means that photographers need to adjust the camera settings in order to compensate for use of the lens. In order to prevent the camera from counteracting the effects of the lens, photographers should adjust the white balance to "daylight" and also apply negative exposure compensation. Additionally, photographers may need to compensate by using a slower shutter speed.


Keep the camera steady

The last element to keep in mind when using a circular polarising filter is that the slower shutter speed and longer exposure time means that images are more susceptible to camera shake. When possible, photographers should use a tripod to compensate for this difference and to keep the images crisp and clear.


Understand the limitations of a circular polarising filter

An issue that photographers should keep in mind when using a polarising filter is that it has its limitations. These filters require photographers to point the camera at a certain angle for maximum effect. They require two to three more stops of light than normal, as well as make it difficult to visualise a shot through the viewfinder. Photographers must keep them perfectly clean so as not to diminish picture quality.


How to buy circular polarising filters on eBay

Shop for cameras, lenses, and filters from the large selection available on eBay. Use the search features to locate the filters that you need based on keywords. Specify a brand or size to find those that work with your lens. Sort the listings by price to find those that fit within your budget. Before making a final selection, carefully review the item description and examine any photos. By learning the proper way to use circular polarising filters, shoppers can create stunning effects with their photographs.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides