Posted by: photographytuition | July 19, 2011

What is a polarising filter?

I reckon the best photography accessory is a circular, polarising filter. They are perfect for darkening the sky and making the clouds more prominent.

Without polariser

With polariser

You can also use a polariser to reduce relections on water, however it’s not something I’ve ever needed to do.

A more likely use is when photographing pictures mounted behind glass. The glass produces horrible reflections and by using the polariser it should be possible to get rid of most of the reflections.

The problem with screw on cirular polarisers is that they are expensive (£30- £80) and only fit one size lens. A possible solution is a stepping rings costing £5.

So before buying your first polarising filter think about buying a larger one which could then be stepped down in size to fit all your lenses. has a wide range of stepping rings.

Tips on using polarisers:

You get what you pay for so don’t be tempted to buy a cheap one which may not be entirely neutral in colour. Don’t keep the polariser on all the time – just use it for sky or to get rid of reflections in water shots. Polarisers work best when used at right angles to the sun.  Experiment and see.

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