I have used a circular polarizing filter for many years. However, it has mostly been for my travels or landscape photography. It’s one of the things that’s always in my camera bag. Yet, somehow I started to use that filter for food photography only recently.
Why I like to use the polarizing filter?
1. Exposure – This kind of filter looks like sunglass and is darker than the usual lens. Obviously, it will change my exposure which is perfect when I try to shoot something in the middle of the day when the light is quite harsh. That’s why it’s like a must-have gear when it’s a sunny day. I first noticed the effect of the polarizing filter when I was traveling in the Australian outback. I would say that even though I might be great at Lightroom, then it’s always better to get my lighting better. The polarizing filter makes it so much easier to work with light.
2. Glare – When I’m shooting water or other shiny objects, then the polarizing filter is my best friend. I can cut out the glare by merely rotating my circular polarizing filter. It makes my life so much more comfortable and I can save a lot of time with editing.
3. Reflections – Glass or other shiny objects might give the reflection that I don’t need. The amazing part about the polarizing filter is that in some cases I can get rid of the reflection.
4. Colors – Have you ever noticed that when you put on good sunglasses, then the colors get better? With the polarizing filter, it’s quite similar. Bright sunny days are one of the hardest to work with when I’m trying to work with light. The polarizing filter might help with more vibrant colors as well. I will get that nice contrast that I might need for my images. If you don’t notice the difference, then look at the sky. When you rotate your circular filter, then you can see the difference.
5. Protection – We all know that lenses are expensive and when I can protect my lens that costs something like 1000 euros with 50 euros filter, then it’s apparently worth it (I actually like always use UV filter for my travel lens. When there’s a sunny day, then I use the polarizing filter).
Circular polarizing filter for food photography?
When I look at all the reasons why I like the polarizing filter, then the obvious questions will be that why can’t I apply all this to my food photography?
1. Exposure – In most cases, I always like to use longer exposure to get better quality. However, since I don’t shoot in straight sunlight, then this isn’t the most obvious argument for me.
2. Glare – That’s the main reason I sometimes like to use the polarizing filter. Quite often the glass, cutlery or other tableware gives that glare, that drives me crazy. So, the polarizing filter is my best friend. I can cut out the glare simply by rotating the circular polarizing filter. It makes my life so much more comfortable and I can save a lot of time with editing.
3. Reflections – Glass or other shiny objects might give the reflection that I don’t need. The fantastic part about the polarizing filter is that in some cases I can get rid of the reflection that seems impossible.
4. Colors – Again, since I don’t shoot in straight sunlight, then the polarizing doesn’t make a huge difference with colors. However, it always depends on what kind of food I’m shooting or what are the light conditions.
5. Protection – Compare to climbing on the rocks, then food photography is a little bit safer for your gear. However, when you do some crazy underwater or pouring shots, then it might be helpful. There was one time the filter saved my lens when I almost fell off the table. Besides, I also like to do some powder shots. In these cases, the filter is always one of the things that save the day. Since it’s much easier to clean the filter, rather than the lens.
For my food photography, I use circular Hoya 58 mm filter for my Nikkor 50 mm F/1.8 lens (If you are planning to buy one, then make sure that the filter match with your lens diameter because there are a large variety of sizes).
Even though the classical way to use polarizing filter might be landscape photography, it’s handy for food photography as well. The main reason I started to use polarizing for some of my food images is that I got rid of that glare or reflections that sometimes drives me crazy. It’s the perfect tool that I like to use and I can be sure that I get a little bit better quality and I don’t need to spend too much time on editing.
If you liked this idea about the polarizing filter, then please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylauracom or another platform when you try to use it. Your feedback is valuable to me. 🙂
Also, big thanks for Feedspot for adding me for top 50 food photography blogs. I’m quite surprised since I haven’t done many posts about photography.