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When to Use a Lens Hood

Whether you are new to photography or a seasoned photographer, lens hoods can inspire many questions.

A lens hood can be a handy addition to your photography kit. They come with many lenses on the market today and you’re sure to find one that suits your camera and your purposes.

But it’s important to know when you should use a lens hood, how to use them properly and how they can improve your photography.

Photographer using DSLR with petal lens hood

What is a Lens Hood?

The main reason for using a lens hood is to block light from flooding your lens and creating lens flare so you can capture the best photos.

Lens flare occurs when light hits the lens at a bad angle. It doesn’t reach the sensor and instead creates discolouration on your photographs in the shape of your lens aperture.

Lens flare can look pretty in certain circumstances but often it can take away from an already impressive photograph.

A landscape with lens flare

A lens hood clips onto the front of your lens and can reduce the contrast of your photos while giving you better saturation and enhanced colours.

As an added bonus, a lens hood can also protect your lens element, the glass on the front of your lens. It does this by creating some distance between the outer edge of the lens hood and the lens element.

A lens hood will help to protect your lens from your fingertips, which can leave smudges on your lens. The oils on your skin can even damage the optical coating on your lens.

It’s best to clean your lens to avoid any permanent damage. But a lens hood will greatly reduce accidental smudges on your lens, as well as scratches.

If you happen to drop your lens it’s far better to break a lens hood than the far more expensive front lens element!

 

How to use a Lens Hood

Lens hoods are easy to use, and you’ll find they can greatly improve your photography. To use a lens hood all you have to do is clip it on.

They can be a very convenient addition to your photography kit when used properly.

Many photographers leave a lens hood attached so all you have to do to capture a great photograph is pick up your camera and start shooting.

You can use a lens hood in place of your lens cap because they are so good at keeping your lens safe and clean.

Round camera lens hood attached in reverseSometimes it can be easier to fit your lens hood and camera in your camera bag by attaching the lens hood in a reversed position (as pictured above).

Don’t forget to return the lens hood to a normal position before you begin shooting. It’s a common mistake, but in a reversed position the lens hood won’t do you any good.

If the light source is in your shot, a lens hood won’t do much. But it can still slightly lessen reflected light from other sources to give you a more focused shot

A lens hood is perfect for shooting in natural light. When the sun or reflected light is hitting your lens at the wrong angle it can decrease the quality of your shot.

 

How to Choose the Right Lens Hood

There are several different kinds of lens hoods for different kinds of lenses. Many lenses come with their own lens hood so you can start experimenting with one right now.

Lens hoods can also come in different shapes.

  • Round: A round lens hood is appropriate for some cameras using fixed focal length lenses. This is because they won’t appear in a shot when the lens is zoomed all the way out.
  • Petal: A petal lens hood has a kind of wavy cut out on the front end. This helps the hood to extend out in front of the lens without appearing in your shot.

DSLR using a petal lens hoodThings to remember:

  • Lens hoods for wide angle lenses can be pretty short and won’t provide as much protection for your lens.
  • Sometimes you might not need a lens hood because your lens already has a built-in lip that extends past the lens element.

 

For everything you need for your camera lens including lens hoods, check out our wide range of camera accessories in our online store or head into your local Camera House shop for some handy advice.

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