Ask any experienced landscape photographer to name their favorite accessories, and a polarizing filter will be near the top of the list. Used correctly, this simple tool adds impact to external photos, but a heavy approach will spoil an otherwise great shot.
Polarizing filters improve photos in a number of ways. They reduce glare on water and other non-metallic surfaces, reduce scattered reflections, darken dull skies, and increase saturation. In the video below, you’ll learn how to use this important lens filter to achieve maximum effect.
When using a polarizer, you can increase or decrease the effect by rotating the ring on the front of the filter. It is important to remember that the results you achieve are affected by your position in relation to the sun.
In this episode, Austrian photographer Christian Ermler shows how a polarizing filter works and how much polarization you need for different types of photos. It begins with this warning: Don’t spoil too much, it will ruin your image.”
As you’ll see, it’s all about using the polarizer in moderation. For example, while you can enhance an image by reducing reflections and glare, if you remove these elements completely, the result may be a flat, lifeless image. Similarly, you can add effect by pumping up the pale blue sky. But if you go too far, the picture will not look realistic.
To explain how to do things correctly, Ermler shows four different ways to use a polarizer. And in each case, it explains how far you should rotate the filter ring to get the optimal effect. His approach is simple and very effective.
For more tips and tricks on landscape photography, check out Irmler’s YouTube channel. And check out another tutorial we posted, that explains how to choose the right focus point for every photo you take.