Tips and Tricks on Using a Circular Polarizing Filter Like a Pro

Whether you want to block scattered light, reduce haze or increase the overall saturation of your videos or still images, a polarizer might help you to get some stunning results. Such a filter can also be used to cut off reflections on wet and metallic surfaces which is another advantage, especially when you want to capture an interior car scene from the outside, for instance, thus eliminating the nasty reflections on the front glass of the vehicle you are filming. Even though it can be an extremely useful tool on multiple occasions, a polarizer also comes with some quirks and weaknesses. Joshua Cripps of Professional Photography Tips will share a few important considerations that you should bear in mind when using a polarizing filter on a shoot.

In the first place, always use a CPL while pointing your camera 90 degrees away from the sun. The polarizer will be useless if you film with it directly towards or away from your main source of light. It’s also worth noting that if you are shooting with a wide lens, you might get a partial effect from the polarization in different parts of your image. The best part is that you can easily fix this by turning the circular polarizing filter to adjust the applied effect.

You can also cope with this polarizing issue by using a telephoto lens instead of a wide lens or simply shoot the sky when there are more clouds to get the best results. Another important consideration about polarizers is that they reduce light. In a similar way like ND filters, most polarizers when turned to their strongest effect, can reduce the exposure with up to two stops of light. Typically, you will need to change your camera settings to compensate for the polarizing effect.


Last but not least, consider carefully the right moment to utilize a polarizer when filming. For instance, if you want to capture a reflection on a wet surface or another stunning sunset intentionally while shooting directly towards the sun you simply won’t need a polarizer.

All in all, polarizers can be an indispensable tool to have in your kit, so if you want to get the best results just follow the above tips and tricks and always consider wisely whether a polarizing filter can either enhance or harm your shot on a certain occasion.

[source: Professional Photography Tips]

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