Filters are camera accessories that not only protect your D-SLR or compact system lens, but also block particular qualities of ambient light to help you take better pictures. With a filter the right size for your lens, your images can have better contrast and colors that pop.
These popular filters can reduce or eliminate the ultraviolet light that reaches your camera’s image sensor. A UV filter gets rid of the bluish haze in outdoor landscape photos that include snow, water, or the sky. By cutting the haze, a UV filter can make distant objects appear sharper, especially in black and white images.
A polarizer is a filter that lets in only light that is oriented in a particular direction. The effect, when it comes to photography, is to enhance the color and contrast of an image, especially outdoors. A polarized filter can also reduce white glare. Polarizers come with linear or circular patterns for different situations.
A skylight filter, unlike a UV or polarized filter, has a pinkish tint (UV filters and polarizers are neutral in color). However, a skylight filter does reduce the blue haze of the sky in a manner similar to a UV model. A skylight filter’s faint pink cast also makes natural light appear warmer, bringing out red and orange colors.
Occasionally you may want to take a picture showing the blur of an athlete in motion, or perhaps a close-up shot of a bride’s wedding ring with everything behind it out of focus. Long exposure (leaving the shutter open a longer time) can help, but you’ll want to use a neutral density filter to reduce the amount of light coming into the lens.