Among the goals of landscape photography is to capture scenes as sharply detailed as possible, with colors and contrast that make the pictures pop. While some may argue that this can be achieved in post-process, Tom Mackie of Landscape Photography iQ explains to us in a quick video which filters get the job done quicker in-camera.
Mackie begins by saying that he often gets asked why is there still a need to use filters when cameras and software today are already capable of a lot of things. To this, he answers that he prefers being able to capture as much information from a scene as possible while he’s shooting in the field. This includes getting the clouds to pop and reducing the glare and reflections when shooting around a body of water. Filters accomplish that for him.
He explains further in the video below.
Basically, using filters is all about controlling the light you’re working with to make your landscape photos more balanced. Also, Mackie mentions that working this way actually allows for the most information on your camera’s sensor to play with later in post.
So, what are the first things to keep in mind? To start, figure out a filter kit or system that works for you and your camera. You may take up Mackie’s recommendation and go with Lee Filters and the accessories for it. As for the first filters you need to have in your kit, he recommends getting a Polarizing Filter, 3 & 2-Stop ND grad filters, and a 4-Stop ND grad filter (if you have the extra cash for it). The first is handy for removing reflections on water surfaces and making the clouds pop, as he demonstrates in the video. The grad filters are specifically used for shooting situations where the extreme exposure range needs to be balanced out, so you can control the tone of the sky and bring up the tone of your foreground.
Visit the Landscape Photography iQ YouTube channel for more tips and tricks from Tom Mackie.
Screenshot image from the video by Landscape Photography iQ