Photography Tutorials and Articles

Polarizing Filter – Digital Photography

The benefit of a Polarizing Filter in digital photography

This is a popular question often asked by students in my digital camera workshops, especially Polarizing Filters. I thought it would be an interesting topic for our Photo Tip.

For a moment, let’s pretend that we live in the ‘pre-digital’ era when we had the film as our media to capture an image. Manufacturers set the sensitivity of film to light, the type of colour (Negative or Slide) or monochrome (Black and White) and colour temperature, and we could not change any of them unless we changed the film type. It was important – at that time – to know the filters and their effects on your photos. Thanks to digital technology, we control almost all of these variables by understanding digital camera settings such as ISO, White Balance, Styles, etc.

In Part One of a discussion on filters, I will discuss the Polarizing Filter and its effect.

What is a Polarizing Filter?

Polarize filters, just like polarized lenses, remove most of the scene’s reflections and result in a sharper and more saturated image. The following examples clearly demonstrate how a polarizing filter can improve the image.

Without Polarizing Filter

polarizing filter
No polarizing filter in this image

With Polarizing Filter

polarizing filter
By using Polarizing Filter you can reduce the haze and add more saturation to colours


polarizing filter
With polarizing filter (right) compare to without polarizing filter (left)

What kind of Polarizing Filter do you need?

Polarizing Filters and Autofocus Lens

With autofocus lenses, you should choose a Circular Polarizing filter. Polarizing filters are usually dark and consist of two parts. By rotating the outer ring, you can adjust the direction of polarizing.

A polarizing Filter

Polarizing Filter
The high quality polarizing filter is the best investment

Can I use editing software to create Polarizing Filter effect?

The short answer is: No, I don’t recommend it. When there are reflections or glare in an image, you need to recreate all the data in those areas. And this is a painstaking job!  I recommend investing in a high-quality Polarizing Filter; this will allow you to get the best results, spend less time on the computer and be out enjoying photography more.

Without Polarizing Filter

Polarizing Filter
No Polarizing Filter. Notice the reflection on the desk that makes the colours faded and overall dark photo

With Polarizing Filter

polarizing filter
Just by adding a polarizing filter, the reflection is removed and more colours and sharpness were added to the image

That is all for now. Stay tuned for my next photography Tips.  Check our Upcoming Photography Classes, and We love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions; feel free to send us your questions, and we will be more than happy to answer them. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Free Tutorials and Tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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