Photography Cheat Sheet: Quick Lens Filter Guide

Filters can help get better results in-camera and save hours of editing. This photography cheat sheet will let you know which one to use.

Ever wondered about how filters work and what they can do to your photos? In a nutshell, these accessories are useful for addressing challenging lighting conditions or creating a certain mood or effect. They work best if you choose the right filter for the right situation, and can affect image quality. There are plenty of resources out there on the topic, but for starters, we have a photography cheat sheet as a quick reference.

Zippi put together the photography cheat sheet below to show how different filters can be particularly handy for specific genres and shooting situations. We can undoubtedly achieve various effects and enhancements with today’s photo editing software. Still, it’s worth learning how to use these accessories to get the best results possible in-camera. Imagine the hours you can save in post-processing by simply using one of these.

UV filters, for example, serves both as a protection for the lens and clear the haze produced by UV light. Polarizing filters can produce instantly better photos by reducing reflections, increasing contrast, and enhancing the colors. Specialized filters like Neutral Density (ND) and Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filters are especially necessary for genres like landscape and flash photography. ND filters are used to avoid overexposure when using large apertures, especially for long exposures. GND filters, meanwhile, balance the exposure in high-contrast shooting situations.

There are also filters that are used to correct and enhance colors, which come especially handy for film photographers. Some filters can add a cooling or warming effect to change the mood or look of a shot. There’s also a whole host of filters for enhancing the hues of black and white photographs.

With the myriad of filters available out there for various corrective and creative effects, we’re certainly only scratching the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more, we have more resources you can check out here.