do you use filters on your SLR camera? These affordable add-ons are a great way to spark creativity and explore all that your camera can shoot. Diffused light multi-frame effects, filters and artistic lenses will complete your photo kit.
In film days only, filters were needed to help correct light or increase contrast. Today, Photoshop offers those same benefits (and more) to digital shooters. However, there are still some things filters can do better and easier than you can in post-production. They also protect your expensive lenses.
Read on to find out some of your options for fun filters and artistic lenses.
Easy filters for maximum effect
Multi-screen star effects
A cross filter has an etched grid that disperses light entering the lens. These filters give a starry, magical ambiance to sunny scenes or nighttime exposures. The shape of the resulting stars as seen in the image depends on the tightness of the grid.
Soft focus filters
A defocus filter does exactly as the name suggests; it softens an image for a dreamlike quality. While this effect can be achieved with Photoshop, shooting with a filter lets you view the effect live for the best composition. These filters are available in varying densities to match the strength of the blurring effect. These filters are also called diffusing filters because they scatter light.
Circular polarizing filters
Polarizing filters are very useful, especially if you like street or landscape photography. Like a polarized lens in your sunglasses, the filter polarizes the light as it passes. This results in intensifying blue skies and improving cloud detail, a boon for landscape images. Street photographers use these polarized filters; also. Polarization allows you to shoot through glass without reflections getting in the way.
Neutral Density Filters
A neutral density (ND) filter is another important tool in your photography arsenal. These filters reduce the amount of light entering the lens by a certain amount, depending on the density of the filter. These are useful in situations where you want to widen the aperture or slow the shutter speed, but the lighting conditions are restrictive.
Some ND filters are only partial, such as a graduated ND filter. In this case, one half of the lens is shaded while the other is not. These are useful for sunsets or other scenes with very light and very dark shades.
Multi-frame filters are just plain fun, but the effects can also be very artistic. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all include multiple shots to produce a refraction effect in your shot. Your image appears in multiples, sometimes overlapping and merging. These filters are fun for photographers who want to push their composition skills. You will love the pop art results.
these close-up filters are self-explanatory: they provide extra magnification power. Macro lenses can be expensive, but a set of close-up lenses is very affordable. Most options come in sets with a variety of magnifications that can be used independently or stacked.
Original artistic lenses
A fisheye lens offers a very wide field of vision. It’s a favorite of homeowners trying to make their properties look more spacious, but you can use these lenses for artistic purposes. The slight distortion and wide view open the frame for creativity.
The Holga is a cult plastic toy camera that has thrilled photographers for decades with its plastic lens and variable results. Now DSLR users can also roll the dice with the Holga lens. This plastic lens is sold in formats to mount on your favorite cameras from Nikon to Canon. The results are enchanting.
Pinhole Photography is minimalism at its finest. With a tiny hole and a long exposure, the results can be magical. Try pinhole photography with your DSLR by attaching a special art lens and using your camera’s manual settings. Like all lenses and filters, the limit of what you can create is determined by your imagination.
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