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Author Topic: Polarizing filter in wedding photography  (Read 12136 times)

nightbreath

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Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« on: March 11, 2012, 05:53:24 AM »
Hi everyone!

My main area of concern is the image quality, the feel and look of shots I get out of my camera during wedding photoshooting. I was thinking a lot about possible improvements and a thought that is floating around for a while is to use polarizing filters to reduce harsh light strength in the middle of the day.

So I'm just curios if it is wise to use polarizing filters for outdoor portraits as it's where I want IQ improvement in. This filter is usually used to lessen glare, reflection, saturate colors and add contrast, so I'm wondering if it would work for me or add more inconvenience to the workflow?

I would also like to ask the same question about ND filters (in combination with flash), graduated ND filters, UV filters and lens hoods. It would be great is someone can share their experience or some technique they use to get the best portrait quality out of the camera?

Here's an example of the creamy look that can be taken as a reference (it is most likely that this shot is balanced by flash and is heavily processed in post, but it can give a background of what I seek for):



I also heard that anything one puts in front of the glass degrades image quality to some extent, and it is always a trade-off of adding artistic manipulation. Currently I use flash and UV+protective filter, so I'm able to get this:



But I'm always wondering if it is possible to change the way I shoot for retrieving more important information and being more flexible in post.

I understand that flash / reflector is something that is normally used to balance scene lightness, so please don't turn the discussion into incorrect direction.
Wedding photography. My personal website: http://luxuryphoto.com.ua

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Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« on: March 11, 2012, 05:53:24 AM »

Kernuak

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2012, 06:13:01 AM »
Coming from a wildlife perspective, where polarisers can be handy for white birds to show more feather detail, I imagine it could help with detail in white/near white wedding dresses.
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briansquibb

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2012, 06:13:37 AM »
Flash is a valid way to overcome the ambient and calm the bg down

PL is a good way to reduce glare from the bg and white wedding dress

ND grads are very difficult to control in a dynamic shoot

ND just takes away the light to enable shallower DOF

nightbreath

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2012, 06:21:54 AM »
Thank you for your responses. What about lens hoods and UV filters? Is there a need in them at all?
Wedding photography. My personal website: http://luxuryphoto.com.ua

nightbreath

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2012, 06:32:51 AM »
I have also found this statement on Flickr discussions:

Quote
Sure you could use polarizing filter on a sunny day and would get dark blue skies and bright white clouds. It has a slightly strange effect on skin and removes moisture and specular light (shinyness) - not something you think about, but people look dry and appear to have extra powder makeup in my opnion.

It's actually very good if you shoot or intend to output in black and white.

Could anyone comment if he had the same experience?
Wedding photography. My personal website: http://luxuryphoto.com.ua

briansquibb

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2012, 06:39:31 AM »
I have also found this statement on Flickr discussions:

Quote
Sure you could use polarizing filter on a sunny day and would get dark blue skies and bright white clouds. It has a slightly strange effect on skin and removes moisture and specular light (shinyness) - not something you think about, but people look dry and appear to have extra powder makeup in my opnion.

It's actually very good if you shoot or intend to output in black and white.

Could anyone comment if he had the same experience?

On a hot day it makes people look cool and the skin doesn't glisten. Likewise greasy skin looks better.

Always use the hood to make sure you dont get glare (also helps increase contrast)

Old Shooter

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2012, 07:58:59 AM »
I have also found this statement on Flickr discussions:

Quote
Sure you could use polarizing filter on a sunny day and would get dark blue skies and bright white clouds. It has a slightly strange effect on skin and removes moisture and specular light (shinyness) - not something you think about, but people look dry and appear to have extra powder makeup in my opnion.

It's actually very good if you shoot or intend to output in black and white.

Could anyone comment if he had the same experience?

On a hot day it makes people look cool and the skin doesn't glisten. Likewise greasy skin looks better.

Always use the hood to make sure you dont get glare (also helps increase contrast)

+1!

The only time I shoot without a lens hood is if I forgot it...

I'm a big believer in UV filters for protection if nothing else.  I was climbing to get a higher perspective, the camera swung out on the strap and caught my 28-70L right on the corner of a brick planter... *explosion of dirty words*  It shattered the UV filter but saved my front element; I unscrewed the filter and kept on shooting...
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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2012, 07:58:59 AM »

jdramirez

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2012, 10:21:31 AM »
I'm not sure I can confirm this from personal experience, but I have been told that using a CPL on human subjects can tint the skin so it appears unnatural.  I have been lazy from time to time and haven't bothered taking off the CPL when I'm taking a few shots of my daughter and I haven't noticed anything. 

I'd suggest taking a dry run just to make sure that it doesn't make the bride look alien in nature... or ethnic, as the case may be. 
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nightbreath

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 10:32:08 AM »
I'm not sure I can confirm this from personal experience, but I have been told that using a CPL on human subjects can tint the skin so it appears unnatural.  I have been lazy from time to time and haven't bothered taking off the CPL when I'm taking a few shots of my daughter and I haven't noticed anything. 

I'd suggest taking a dry run just to make sure that it doesn't make the bride look alien in nature... or ethnic, as the case may be.

What about overall difference between shots with and without the filter? Do you think when it's on, it gives you more saturation under the bright sun (i.e. decreases hard light effect)?
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B-Man

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 03:00:32 AM »
Hey, talking about filters...anyone have experience using Singh-Ray filters? Is it that really good?

Kernuak

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 04:26:54 PM »
Hey, talking about filters...anyone have experience using Singh-Ray filters? Is it that really good?
They make some specialist filters, such as reverse grads and warming polarizers (among others) and they are good quality, but in terms of the more normal filters, such as screw in CPL, they probably don't have any particular advantage over other high quality brands, there may be some difference in light fall off with CPL, but I'm not sure that they have the lowest light fall off or even if it is that much of a difference compared to other brands.
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jdramirez

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 04:20:49 PM »
I'm not sure I can confirm this from personal experience, but I have been told that using a CPL on human subjects can tint the skin so it appears unnatural.  I have been lazy from time to time and haven't bothered taking off the CPL when I'm taking a few shots of my daughter and I haven't noticed anything. 

I'd suggest taking a dry run just to make sure that it doesn't make the bride look alien in nature... or ethnic, as the case may be.

What about overall difference between shots with and without the filter? Do you think when it's on, it gives you more saturation under the bright sun (i.e. decreases hard light effect)?

I can't say with any certainty.  I do experiment as much as I should
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

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wickidwombat

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 07:31:13 PM »
several benefits of using a polariser

subjects are wearing glasses - polariser kills the reflections or glare off the glass
subject has oilly skin or you are getting bad reflections off their makeup - the flattening effect of the polariser works to your advantage here
shooting straight into the sun - even using fill flash the polariser will give the sky back some of the colour back from the drain caused by the massive dynamic range

it's pretty hard to set a hard and fast rule for polarisers as they can have all sorts of effects you definately cant just whack it on for a whole shoot as it will do some crazy stuff. but for certain situations it can really help
:)

BTW I love your work nightbreath
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 12:36:05 AM by wickidwombat »
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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 07:31:13 PM »

rexoatis

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 12:19:35 AM »
Quality of photography is very good and looks like original and this can be possible only because of good lenses. 



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kiniro

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 07:00:19 PM »
I use a circular polarizer mostly for shots close to water to eliminate glare/reflection.  From what I've read, the CPL is best to use at noon.  That's when you get the best effect.  Otherwise you might get some vignetting.
UV filter I use only for protection along with the lens hood.
Ah, and I don't use my CPL with the lens hood because then it makes it harder to reach the filter inside the hood and rotate it to get the effect I want.
ND filters...I recently bought a Cokin Grad ND filter kit.  Haven't really shot anything with it yet.  More than likely I'll be using it for taking pictures of sunsets/sunrises.
My friend uses a grad ND filter along with his flashes and softboxes for strobing.

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Re: Polarizing filter in wedding photography
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 07:00:19 PM »