Photography Cheat Sheet: Avoiding Common Lens Filter Issues

Ever encountered trouble with your lens filter and didn’t know how to fix it? Chances are, you’ll find a solution in today’s photography cheat sheet.

Some of us may already know how useful lens filters can be in getting us closer to our desired results. But, as with many things, we sometimes get into a bit of a pickle with these accessories. If that has happened to you and have been scratching your head figuring out a solution, we bring some troubleshooting tips from yet another photography cheat sheet via Digital Camera World.

The flowchart above outlines some of the most common issues that affect the quality of your shots when using filters. For example, you may have a photo that shows dark corners upon close inspection. This typically happens when filters are used with wide-angle lenses, especially when set at wide apertures. The wider field of view causes the filter holder to be included in the shot. The best remedy to this is to zoom in slightly so the edge of the holder doesn’t get in the frame. Another solution is to use a smaller aperture. If you have multiple filters stacked, you may need to remove some of them.

Other filter problems show circles of light on the image, a lack of contrast, or a generic washed-out appearance. These effects, called ghosting and flare, are typically caused by strong light hitting the filter at an oblique angle, as is the case when light strikes the front element of the lens. To address this, simply clean the filter if it’s dirty. Also, make sure to use a lens hood when shooting with screw-in filters, or a small piece of black card (or even your hand) to shield square filters.

Also, if you notice a strange color cast in your image, this may be due to using cheaper filters that aren’t neutral in tone. They often add an unwanted warm or pinkish look to photos, so make sure to use the highest quality filters your budget allows. Consider them a long-term investment, since you’ll most likely need to buy them only once. Lastly, don’t forget to shoot in RAW. It can neutralize any color cast you happen to have with cheaper filters when you can’t get better ones anytime soon.

Need more photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our photography cheat sheet collection to find more that will come in handy for your next shoot and future projects!