In defense of using filters in photography.

First let me state the obvious. I am not a professional photographer. The closest I ever got was being a Sears portrait photographer as well as spending some of my formative years in a professional photographers studio that my mother worked at.

That being said, I loves me some photography!

Growing up poor I could never afford an expensive camera. It wasn’t until I became an adult and bought my first smart phone, that the photography bug bit me and I started to get more serious about it. ( Well, as serious as a guy who likes to take pictures with his cell phone can be anyway. )

My focus in learning photography has always been more about angles, perspective, mood, and feeling. When you look at one of my pictures, I don’t want you to just see the subject. I want you to feel the mood I was in at the time. Look at this pic for example…

The subject is the tent, in a field, at sunrise. You see all three. Tent, field, sunrise. But, none of these on their own or together convey the sense of newness and inner warmth that I felt at that moment. So I chose this angle, with the sun rising over a dark forest that contrasts the light of the sun as it shines warmly down on the tent and field. I chose the right angle and the right moment. The picture turned out way better then I had anticipated.

I was lucky.

The majority of the time, mostly because of the limitations of smart phone cameras, I’m not always able to get the right coloring or lighting. What I see does not always match the picture that I take nor does it convey the mood I’m in at the time I took the picture. So, I use a filters.

( My go to app on my Iphone7+ for correcting my pics is Enlight. It has a little bit of a learning curve, but they give you excellent tutorials that teach you how to use and combine the filters and editing tools. )

Here are two pictures. One without filter, and one with.

Both pictures are fine, but the pic on the right better represents my experience. I had never been to this part of Arizona before. It felt new. The colors all popped for me as we went through this desert. The air felt crisp and clear. Which picture better represents that to you?

I use filters to better tell the story of my pictures. If I’m taking a pic where I just want the subject shown, then I just find the right angle and lighting and take the pic. If I want the pic to convey something, then I change it to match that idea. Sometimes, like in the tent picture, I get lucky and don’t need to use filters. I always look for the best composition first. Then only after, do I consider using my app.

Photos are like paintings. You have your realists, your impressionists, your minimalists, etc. Each with it’s own unique way of sharing the world around us. Using filters is just another brush in a photographers art box.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: