The second on-camera filter I use is the Neutral Density filter. This helps control exposure on a bright day or when there is too much light reaching the sensor and you want to achieve a slow shutter speed. This was recently the case when I was in Las Vegas. Shooting night shots is a bit tricky because sometimes there is too much light coming from all the Neon glow around you. To help slow down the shutter speed I popped on my ND filter and was able to capture this image:
With this image, there were about 20 other people standing around flashing their bulbs at the fountain. That, along with light from the street and the fountain itself created a challenge with getting the shutter to slow down enough to capture the fountain and the golden light that was actually illuminating the area. Adding an ND filter cut down the amount of surrounding light and I was able to capture this image, keeping the mood and colors of the night intact.
Some photographers like to keep a UV Filter on their lenses at all times to help protect their lenses from dirt, scratches and damage. This one is a matter of personal preference. I don't use one as I feel it effects the outcome of the photograph but I know lots of photographers who never shoot without one and their images are still fantastic.
Here's where the real fun is! There are a gazillion photoshop filters out there and each one can create a unique look on your photograph. The following four images are all the same with the exception of having a filter added to the end result:
Here is the original, with no filter added:This one has a Contrast Filter, upping the contrast between the highlights, shadows and colors: By using the Contrast Filter, you can create a more even, professional look on your photo.
In this image, we can see how the Vintage Filter muted the colors and added a yellow tint, making it look like an aged photograph.
By using a Fog Filter and adjusting the Opacity, you can create a "dreamy" image, one that appears to have a soft focus.
These filters are plug-ins for Photoshop and there are many sites out there that offer free filter plug-ins as well as demos of filter software. Here are a couple:
If you decide that Filters are for you, then it is definitely worth the purchase of a software that really gives you fantastic creative options, such as:
Mystical Tint Tone and Color 2.0 which has 60 filters creating over 300 preset looks:
I hope you all enjoyed this tidbit on using Filters! Now, go get creative! :-)