What Camera Lens Filters Do You Need to Start Your Photography Business?

Tips & Advice
Travel Photography

Gear Focus

Jun 25, 2021

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A new business venture is an exciting and stressful affair. With all the available information and technology so readily accessible these days, it's hard to make heads or tales of everything. But if you have a passion for photography that you are looking to turn into a business, it's important to understand the tools of the trade. Some of the best investments for your new photography business are camera lens filters. There are lots of different types, and they all have specific uses. Read on to find out more.

Camera Lens Filters for Your Photography Business

Of course, different photographers with different businesses will need different tools. So these are some broad suggestions based on some of the most common types of photography businesses we see. The most commonly used or needed camera lens filters for a variety of shooting conditions are:
  • UV/Protective
  • ND
  • Variable ND
  • Polarizer
  • Graduated ND
So what do they do and why do you need them? We'll go over each of these filters in more detail below.

UV/Protective Filters

UV/protective camera lens filters A protective filter might be the first filter you should purchase for your lens. A protective lens filter does just that - it protects your lens. These filters can protect your lens from all kinds of hazards such as dust, dirt, water, oil, fingerprints, etc. You can generally find protective filters for fairly cheap, so that is all the more reason to pick one up. No matter what kind of photography business you have, there is no reason not to have a protective filter or two in your bag. (Especially if, like me, you are prone to accidents.) UV filters used to filter out ultraviolet light in the days of film photography. Today that is of minimal use (even for film cameras). So most photographers use them more as a "cover" to their expensive lenses. They won't necessarily stop your expensive lens from breaking due to a high fall, but they will prevent minor scuffs, scrapes, debris, and fingerprints. In the end, they are usually cheap and easy to swap in and out so there's no reason not to grab one. They don't affect picture quality in any noticeable way under most conditions.

ND Filter

Neutral density camera lens filters A neutral density (or ND) filter is used for reducing the amount of light that enters the lens and hits the sensor. Now why would anyone want to reduce the light hitting the sensor? Isn't photography all about the light? In general, yes: more light means more detail. However, sometimes, you may not want too much light to enter the lens. For example, if you are shooting a long exposure scene, too much light will blow the image out. Therefore you'd want to slap an ND filter onto your lens and shoot the scene "darker" than normal. As the sensor is exposed for longer, more light will brighten up the image. A plain ND filter is great because you don't have to worry about the orientation of the filter in any way. Simply place the ND filter on the lens and set your settings: BOOM that's about it. This camera lens filter works great for landscape photography. If you are trying to capture a dramatic image of a waterfall and give the nice "flowy" look to the water while the rest of the landscape is crisp, an ND filter is great to have in your toolkit.

Variable ND

https://youtu.be/1iHJl2vrtSc Variable ND filters are great in most circumstances. They make it much easier to adjust filtration settings for your camera. Instead of removing and replacing your regular single stop ND filters, you can just rotate the variable ND. This means you won't have to stack filters in order to reduce light. The main drawbacks to the variable ND filter are the cost and issues with cross-hatching. These tend to be much more expensive than single stop ND filters. They also have the potential to exhibit cross hatching issues.

Polarizing Filter

Polarizer camera lens filters Adding a polarizing filter to your bag for your photography business can really impress clients! Polarizing filters can reduce reflections and increase contrast for your photos. These can be useful for nearly any new photography business. Particularly, if you have just launched a wedding photography business, you can get some interesting shots through windows. Likewise, you can get some nice reduced-glare photos through car windshields (limo arrival, etc.) Nature and outdoors photographers may also find this useful when shooting water (though sometimes of course the reflection on the water is the point of the shot) In addition to reducing glares, polarizers can also increase the contrast of a photo. Landscape photographers will find this handy when shooting blue skies and white clouds, to help create more contrast between the two. Darker blue skies that really make the clouds "pop" can take your landscape photography business to the next level.

Graduated ND Filter

Graduated ND camera lens filters A graduated ND filter is a specific lens filter for shooting outdoors - usually used in landscape photography. Unlike a standard ND filter with equal light filtering across the lens, graduated ND filters offer two exposures in one filter. The filter has a gradient that offers more light filtering on top and less on the bottom. This is done to balance the exposure of the bright sky with the darker tones of the ground. Graduated ND filters are available in a variety of stops to balance brighter skies. While it's true that you can use HDR photography to merge different exposures, the graduated neutral density filter can make shots look great right in the camera without needing post processing and with smaller file sizes. You can use graduated ND filters to really bring a landscape to life with a lot of "pop." When using a graduated ND filter, you won't lose detail in the sky like clouds to overexposure. Likewise, you'll be able to retain a lot of intricate and cool detail in your foreground that may be underexposed without using a graduated ND filter.

Which Camera Lens Filters to Skip?

There is a lively debate on whether or not you should or could skip the UV filters. However, as previously mentioned, due to the low cost we think you may as well pick one up. What other camera lens filters should you skip? If you are doing portrait photography the answer is, "all of them." This is where things may get tricky. If you are starting a photography business, there is a high likelihood that you will be doing some portrait photography. And you won't want a specialized filter disrupting the colors or exposure of any of your shots.

When You Are Ready to Start Your Photography Business

So when you are ready to launch your photography business, be sure to head over to Gear Focus to buy used filters. Find all the gear you need and more at Gear Focus. With the lowest seller fees of any marketplace, Gear Focus is the best place to find new and used camera gear. Have used camera equipment on your shelf? List it for free now on Gear Focus and pay nothing until it sells!

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