The Pros and Cons of Using Filters in Photography: An Expert's Perspective

Photography is an art form that requires creativity and skill. While post-processing filters can be a great way to enhance your photos, they can also limit your originality and creativity. Additionally, filters can be time-consuming, tedious, or complex to use, depending on your skill level and the software or application you're using. It's important to consider the drawbacks of using filters before you start editing your photos. One of the main disadvantages of using presets and filters is that they can restrict your creativity and originality.

If you rely too heavily on presets and filters, you may end up with photos that look like many others, or that don't accurately reflect your true vision. You should also have a good computer or device and enough storage and backup space for your photos. Some filters may appear unnatural, exaggerated, or incoherent, particularly if you apply them to different photos or formats. Some filters can also reduce image quality, introduce distortions, or lose detail, especially if you use compressed or low-resolution photos. It is essential to always check if something is moving within the frame and if that particular movement would visually benefit the photograph.

Otherwise, shooting with longer exposures and even setting up filters will be a total waste of time and effort. Not all landscape photographs need filters, and not all of them have to be done with long exposures. Knowing when they will be beneficial is important when planning your intake. Still, it takes creative intent and skill to capture a professional-looking image with lens filters. You can also learn from other photographers who use filters and see how they use them to improve their photos.

They can be expensive, bulky, and fragile, especially if you have several lenses with different-sized filters. But at the same time, filters have the ability to spoil an apparently good frame by degrading the image, changing colors, or not adequately reflecting the texture of the product. If you don't want to risk altering the texture of clothes, for example, avoid using filters in the studio. It's very common for a professional photographer to carry these three filters in their camera bag at any given time: a polarizer to reduce reflections and glare; a neutral density filter to allow for longer shutter speeds or wider apertures; and a graduated filter to balance sky and foreground exposure. Professional photographers use lens filters and photo editing filters, also known as presets, to improve the look of their images. In cases where the difference between the brightest part of the frame (the sky) and the darkest side of the frame (usually the foreground) is not too large, using a denser filter could exaggerate the effect and cause the sky to darken too much to the point that the foreground becomes abnormally brighter. Portafilters allow us to use several filters with greater ergonomics and reduce the likelihood of forming a vignette. Filters are a fun way to add interest to your photos, but it's important to remember that they can also degrade image quality or introduce distortions.

Ultimately, it's up to you whether you want to use them as a means of expressing your artistic vision or as a crutch.

Clément Vermeulen
Clément Vermeulen

Freelance pop cultureaholic. Lifelong internet geek. Avid problem solver. Subtly charming bacon scholar. Proud zombie fanatic. Passionate tv fanatic.