Many people imagine that camera filters are no longer necessary with digital cameras. After all, can’t you do everything in Photoshop?
Not quite. Some things are still easier to achieve with filters than with Photoshop, while other effects still can’t be duplicated any other way.
Warm-up filters are still useful, not because you can’t warm images up in Photoshop, but because they often produce more natural-looking results and because it’s at least as quick as trying to juggle the image’s RGB values later.
Don’t all into the trap of taking any old shot and assuming you can make it perfect in Photoshop. Shooting things right is always preferable to trying to make them right later.
Using Polarizer filters in color photography
Polarizing filters are a special case. Firstly, they can dramatically darken blue skies. Secondly, they cut down glare from reflective surfaces such as glass, plastic, and water, increasing saturation as a result.
This is an effect you simply can’t mimic later in Photoshop. Polarizer filters can be expensive, and if your camera’s lens has a rotating front element they can be fiddly to use, too, because you’ll have to re-adjust the orientation after the camera’s focused.
They also cut down the amount of light by 2-3 EV values, so you may need to increase the camera’s ISO in poor lighting to avoid camera shake. There’s no need to adjust the camera exposure since it’ll compensate automatically.
The only exception is where you want to preserve the depth of a blue sky. Here, rotate the filter so there’s no darkening effect, lock the exposure, then turn the filter to darken the sky and shoot.
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