BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
joe Yuen

What are the proper filters to get....

for shooting the following?
1. early morning
2. bright daylight
3. sunset
4. evening/night

I've always heard warm and cool filters, which I assumed they are red/yellow, blue, or gray, right? But which one if best for each of those categories?
many thanks.

To love this question, log in above
6/28/2005 7:41:38 AM

Collette Photography
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/21/2005
  Ok,as far as I know for bright daylight I would use a polarizing filter.

for sunsets I would get a graduated sunset filter, which is basically an orange filter that gradually turns clear the further down it goes.

for evening and night, Im not sure if I would use a filter at all cause you may have trouble being able to soot with it being dark, a filter would just make it darker!!

and for early morning you could try using a warming filter (thats actually what its called), I really like using this on. It also works well when shooting outdoor portraits, its makes peoples skin tones look great!!!

Also cool filters aka cooling filters are used for prtraits or other things where you want to achieve a cool or cold feeling, basically it will have a slight bluish cast to it.
Hope this helps!!


To love this comment, log in above
6/28/2005 12:09:02 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
John's Gallery
  This is an interesting question! You should really be certain you want/need to use a filter. These add interesting and sometimes beautiful effects, but they are also crutches. Lots of people use them too often. You can do amazing things by simply stopping up or down as appropriate to the scene.

I'd be very careful using warming filters or orange and red filters for sunsets. Not because the effect isn't significant, but because these filter impact the entire image - not just that great sun/sky. However, that's not to say I don't ise them. There's a shot in my gallery I made with a #25 Red Filter - you'll see what I mean.

As Collette said, the first filter to use [not buy] is a polarizer. You lose 1 1/2 stops, but your meter should compensate automatically. It will eliminate unwanted reflections and heighten color intensity, punch white puffy clouds out of a darker blue sky.

The first filter to buy is a Skylight filter. I'm partial to Hoya's Skylight 1B; Tiffen's Skylight 1A or a Haze filter from these manufacturers will serve to reduce haza and be a protector for you more expensive lens.

Remember, however, each time you add a filter you add another glass surface [or two] that will increase the chances of image degradation, flare, etc.

To love this comment, log in above
6/30/2005 7:16:54 AM

David A. Bliss   After the polarizer, the next most important filter is a graduated neutral density filter. That is a filter that is dark on the top and clear on the bottom. This is a very important filter for early morning and sunset. You can get GND filters that are colored, but, like John said, only use colors if you really need to. I only use the neutral density (though I am interested in getting a tobacco filter).

Anyway... In the early morning and late afternoon/evening, you very often will not have direct sun on the foreground, but the sky will still be very bright. Without a filter, you will either have a very underexposed foreground, or a very overexposed sky. The GND will bring the entire frame into an exposure latitude that film or a sensor can capture.

To love this comment, log in above
7/27/2005 9:52:48 AM

joe Yuen   Thanks for the tips, guys.
I already have a polarizer, just curious, can I use it also as a ND filter to get longer exposure?

To love this comment, log in above
7/27/2005 10:53:56 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004


To love this comment, log in above
7/28/2005 6:03:05 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Joe, you can use an ND filter to get longer exposures but you would need a full ND for that, not a grad. For film shooters, a full ND can come in very handy. For digital shooters, they can just adjust the ISO. (OK, you've got me there.)

To love this comment, log in above
7/28/2005 6:07:21 AM

David A. Bliss   Kerry, I always shoot at ISO 100, unless I absolutely have to use a higher ISO for a faster shutter speed. I can't go lower than 100. I use an ND filter quite a bit. I shoot a lot of moving water.

To love this comment, log in above
7/28/2005 6:32:57 AM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.