Polarising Filters

7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

Polarising filters can dramatically increase colour saturation and contrast in your photos. Check out these pics taken moments apart - one without a polarising filter and the other with.

Neither are bad pics, both are bright and colourful because they were taken on a sunny day - but the second one taken with a polarising filter certainly has the edge.

Polarising filters make blue skies bluer, make bright colours brighter and can eliminate unwanted reflections in shiny surfaces. You don't need to know how they work - but you do need to know how to use one to achieve the effect.

I've had lots of people tell me they keep a polarising filter on their lens at all times for both protection and to make their photos look better.

Sadly this isn't a good idea because polarising filters drop light levels by around 2 stops therefore having a knock on effect on exposure and increasing the risk of camera shake.

Polarising filters only work in certain lighting conditions and angles to the light - and even then the photographer has to set it to achieve the desired result. Like most things it's actually really simple once you know how to do it. In this film pro landscape photographer Tom Mackie and I take you through the shooting of this picture - and reminisce about some polarising filter moments we've known...

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