Camera Filters: the only cheat sheet you’ll need for beautiful, balanced exposures

Camera Filters: the only cheat sheet you'll ever need to get beautifully balanced exposures

Camera filters can be a bit of an enigma for many photographers, both new and experienced.

There are many types of camera filters, for starters, and knowing when and how to use them isn’t always so clear-cut.

Why use camera filters?

Different camera filters, especially circular polarizers and Neutral Density filters, can dramatically reduce the amount of light that enters the lens, and this will have a profound effect on the exposure setting.

The good news is that your digital camera’s internal light metering system – which measures light ‘through the lens’ – will automatically correct for camera filters in the vast majority of cases.

However, a little fine-tuning is often needed, so it’s best to review shots on your camera’s LCD screen, dial-in any Exposure Compensation required, then re-shoot your subject.

In our infographic below we’ve produced a handy cheat sheet that takes you four of the most common problem areas for photographers when it comes to using camera filters.

Our flow chart will show you how to choose the best ND grad filter; how to get perfect exposures with a solid ND filter; the secret to using a circular polariser and troubleshooting the common problems with camera filters.

To view the larger version of this cheat sheet, simply click on the infographic or drag and drop it to your desktop.

And don’t miss pages 2 and 3 of this article, where we discuss the camera filter options available to you and the old question of do you go with square or round filters?

Camera FIlters: the only cheat sheet you'll ever need for beautiful, balanced exposures

PAGE 1: Using camera filters effectively – free cheat sheet
PAGE 2: Camera filter options
PAGE 3: Square vs Round camera filters


Camera filters: which type is right for you?
Best graduated neutral density filters: 6 models tested and rated
10 tips for using your 10-stop ND filter

  • jmeyer

    Hi Steve – It’s because printable pdfs are very large in size, even at low-res, and we simply don’t have the space. We’re looking at other ways, but in the meantime you can drag and drop it to your desktop, then crop and save each individual sheet.

    Not sure what you mean by advertising. There are a few ads on the site, but there aren’t any ads on the cheat sheets!

  • jmeyer

    ‘Pointless’ sounds a bit harsh, as you can still read them and learn from them. We’re trying to give these to you for free, and PDFs are way too large to host on the site, as are PSD files. We’ve broken up some of our more popular cheat sheets in this longer format and put the PSDs on Flickr (Google ‘posing guide’ and you’ll find links in that post). We’re working our way through them, but if there’s one like this that you want now you can drag and drop the file to your desktop. Then just crop each of the four sections and save as a new file. Those should print fine.