Using filters for architectural photography as well as real estate photography are vital for taking your images from average to amazing. You don’t need many filters in your camera bag, but having a few basic filters will take your photography to the next level. The filters you buy can also be used in other genres of photgraphy, especially landscapes. Below I’ve listed the filters I own and use when shooting properties.
This is probably the first filter I bought. Polarisers can be inexpensive and are a valuable tool to keep in your camera bag. Almost all camera shops will have polarisers in stock. If you have multiple lenses that you shoot with buy the filter to fit your biggest lens and then invest in some step-down rings so you can use the filters on your other lenses.
Polarisers are useful for:
- eliminating glare on shiny objects such as hard wood floors.
- removing reflections from things like water as well as televisions.
- polarisers are excellent at saturating colours and work well with vegetation and skies.
- Polarisers are also great at enhancing skies but don’t overdo things otherwise your sky will be too dark.
Graduated ND filters are great for balancing out the exposure differences between skies and foregrounds. The typically have a dark area at the top and a light clear area at the bottom. Graduated ND filters come in a variety of strengths and you can also get different gradations, from hard to soft. Soft graduated filters are probably the most versatile when it comes to complex horizons are also the most forgiving for beginners.
One thing to keep in mind with ND filters is you’ll need to invest in a square filter holder. Nisi offer great filters holders and their filters are particularly great because they don’t have any kind of colour cast. If you are prone to dropping things, because an ND filter is a piece of glass it will shatter. Nisi do offer some of their filters in a drop-proof glass which is great!
Graduated ND Filters are useful for:
- excellent for balancing the exposure of the sky with your foreground.
- a 2-stop ND filter is popular because 2 stops is the most common difference between the sky and land.
- a soft gradation is going to be the most forgiving for beginners and for scenes with complex horisons.
- Nisi filters are great because they emit no colour cast and are made of top quality materials.
Solid neutral density filters
I have one solid neutral density filter in my bag for architectural photography. I have a 10-stop filter. A solid neutral density filter works in the same way as a graduated ND filter but instead of just slowing the exposure down in one part of the scene a solid ND filter affects the entire scene. While I don’t use this filter often, it is particularly useful for slow exposures during the day. With a 10-stop filter it will turn a 1 second exposure into a 16 minute exposure. While a 10-stop filter is on the extreme side, I am considering purchasing a 6-stop filter in the near future. Just like the graduated ND filters, the solid ND filters are made of glass and if you drop them, they will break! They will also fit in the filter holder used for the graduated filters.
Solid neutral density filters are useful for:
- Blurring clouds to make them look wispy and abstract.
- Removing people from a busy scene or making them blurred.
- Creating long exposures during day time, sometimes you can’t get back to a scene.
- Neutral density filters are available in different strengths from 2-stops to 20-stops.