polarizing filters

Created by matthew.langley on Nov. 14, 2014, 1:54 p.m.
  • I thought might be of interest to discuss polarizing filters.

    I've recently started using them and in the cases where I use them the results have been extraordinary. I use them mostly for "tabletop" type shooting and also for photographing artwork. Often the issue is glare and over/undersaturation of the image. Polarizing filters can increase color saturation and decrease reflections — and are impossible to be replicated using digital tools.

    What I'm finding is that color saturation goes through the roof - in a good way, and I'm able to control certain odd lighting situations.

    I know some people used them with landscape shots. I'd be interested to see what you are doing with them.

    I can especially see where shooting props and prop replicas could benefit from a polarizer versus the traditional very shallow depth of field approach.

  • @matthew.langley: Yeah, polarizing filters are great. I used to have a set on an old Canon i used to own. You can shoot into a car window and twist and turn the filter until the glare on the window goes away.

    You can turn them when pointing towards water and waves and you can get a different viewpoint on those (cutting through the sun glare of water).

    And the sky stuff is great, especially on a bright sunny day.

    I used to take them out to the beach a lot with that canon when I was getting my chops with video. If I had a camera assistant here at Tested, it's probably the first thing I'd start messing around with again.

  • @JoeyF then you deserve an assistant - just to be able to start messing around with shit. I mean testing it. I mean jesus other peoples wives are getting podcasts around here… (which I enjoy - I am a kidder, you know like joke?)

  • Keep in mind too, that there are Circular Polarisers and Linear Polarisers as well. If your stacking them keep in mind the type of filter you are using. Some filters will interfere with the polarisation effect, leading to odd waves and stuff. So you will want to put your Polariser in front of the filter stack. If your using high end glass or Optically pure resin (High end HD film and camera filters often such a material) then you can put your polariser behind the filters. Which for large filters will help decrease the between filter reflections of a multi-filter stack.

    keep in mind too, that a polariser also changes the number of applied stops. If your shooting film this will be more important then with digital cameras of today, that will compensate the exposures for you.

    If you really start getting into playing with filters and want to learn more about use and tricks for TTL effects, I would recommend picking up a film camera and shooting black and white. As you often use strong color filters with black and white to change the contrast of an image.

  • Do you have any with/without filter comparison shots? I would love to see the actual difference it makes. I have a couple of CPLs that I mainly play with for outdoor shooting. But I am sure that I am probably using them wrong. But hey that's how we learn right?

  • I took these pictures in 2005 before I knew what I was doing, so I apologize for their immense suckiness.

    Without CPL...

    With CPL...


  • Wow that does make a huge difference. It almost completely eliminated the reflection of the sky and the red definitely pops a lot more.

    Also maybe it's my ignorance showing but I am not sure what you are apologizing for. These look like pretty good photos to me.