Polarising Filters explained

Polarising filter basics 

Polarising filters have a number of applications in photography making them very useful tools in certain situations including in photography for real estate. Like polarised sun glasses most people are aware of, these filters work in a similar fashion managing reflection and suppressing glare from reaching your eyes. In practice this means that by wearing a pair of polarised sunglasses you can avoid blinding reflections, when driving for example. Similarly in photography you are able to shoot scenes where you want to avoid any type of reflection including window shots (see below), shooting through mirrors, seascapes and more.


The above shot was taken using a polarising filter, suppressing reflected light and providing a more detailed exterior.

Polarising-Filters-2This shot was taken without the polarising filter picking up the reflected light from the interior space. This ended up in a poor composition hiding a lot of detail from the internal garden, and as a result missing the interaction between the interior and exterior areas.

Other properties of polarised filters include image darkening and thus allowing for longer exposures during bright scenes. This gives the photographer the option to blur moving subjects, take landscape or seascape shots with milky waters etc. This filter is more frequently used for landscape photography, where sceneries appear clearer sine the filter removes reflections from any particles present in the atmosphere. Additionally polarising filters render more vivid colours making a scene more appealing.


Your first purchase

Polarising filters prices can range from €20 to over €100 for premium glass. This does not mean that the lower cost filters are not good for the job, it simply means that the photography enthusiast or the professional’s demanding eye might result in a hefty purchase. A low to mid range cost filter will be more than satisfactory for the amateur’s needs.

Purchase tip: Unless you have already acquired a filter mount, a crucial factor to be aware of before your first purchase is to make sure that the lens and filter have the same size. Your lens size is found on the front rim and is represented by a symbol similar to the Greek letter Φ. So for this standard Canon 18-55mm lens a compatible polarising filter should be at 58mm.Canon 18-55