Photography Tutorials and Articles

Using Lens Hood

Using Lens Hood Improves Image Quality

One of the most popular questions that I receive in our Photography Classes is about the lens hoods. Apparently, everyone wants to know the uses and benefits of a lens shade or hood.

In this article, I discuss the importance and advantages of using a lens shade. 

What is a Lens Hood?

 Generally speaking, a hood is a tube-shaped accessory that attaches to the front of a lens. 

Lens Hoods

Lens hood
Typical lens hoods

Therefore, in photography, a lens shade (hood) is a device used on the front end of a lens to block the Sun or other light sources. It prevents unwanted glare or lens flare.

Lens Flare

lens hood
Lens flare effect

Hoods can also protect the lens front scratches and other elements that may cause damage to the front glass part of the lens.

Why Different Shapes for Lens Hoods

The shape of a hood depends on three parameters: the focal length of the lens, the size of the front lens element, and the size of the image sensor. 

Therefore, for wide-angle lenses, we usually see a butterfly or tulip shape hoods to avoid image vignetting. 

Wide angle Lens Shade

lens hood
Wide angle lens hoods

On the other note, for standard to telephoto lenses, the shape of the hood varies from plain cylindrical to conical shape.

Telephoto Lens Shades

Lens hood
Typical lens hoods

Advantages of Lens Hood:

1-Preventing Lens Flare

When the light hits the front element of the lens, especially in an angle, it creates a lens flare. Lens shade(hood) prevents the glare. However, some photographers use the lens flare as a pleasing effect in some photos.

Good Lens Flare

lens hood
In some images, lens flare adds a nice touch to the picture.

Thus, if you want to avoid the lens flare, start using the lens shade.

Lens Flare

Lens hood
The Sun created an unwanted lens flare in this image. A lens hood could prevent this effect.


Lastly, using a hood can protect the lens from scratches. Due to the depth of the hood, it creates extra space between the glass and the surrounding area. Therefore, those elements cannot reach and touch the lens.


Most of the pro lenses come with a hood. If your lens did not come with one, you can purchase a dedicated hood for your lens. However, make sure to buy the correct hood for your lens focal length, make and model. Consult the lens instruction manual or the manufacturer website to find the proper hood for your lens.

Finally, I recommend regular use of lens hoods for indoor and outdoor photography to all students.

Read more about Lens Shades HERE.

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Ted and the Omnilargess Team