One of the most common photography accessories is a Camera Lens Hood – lens hood a piece of plastic or metal that attaches to the front of your own camera lens and makes it look also professional.
But camera lens hoods are about higher than looks. Only to name one benefit, they can make a larger difference in picture quality.
This article covers everything you need to know about using camera lens hoods to capture the best possible photos.
Why You Should Use a Lens Hood?
A lens hood, also known as a camera lens shade, attaches to the front of your camera lens and blocks stray light from causing flare in your professional photo shoot.
It also helps protect the camera lens from damage if anything hits something.
That’s very pretty impressive. By simply putting a very lightweight accessory on your camera lens, you immediately improve your picture quality and camera lens durability.
This is why most professional photographers use lens hoods whenever they can.
Should I use a lens hood at night?
We suggest “YES”,
The fact is that a lens hood should live on your camera lens. The purpose of a camera lens hood is to create a shadow on the camera lens to prevent lens flare from stray light, in most cases caused by the sun.
But, the lens hood should also be used at night due to street lights or other point-source lights to better image quality.
Does a lens hood affect exposure?
Hoods only affect the _bad_ light entering a camera lens. Even if it’s enough to affect the light reading and any exposure, it’s not light you want anyway, because it will screw up your photoshoot.
So, maximum hood users will use them day and night always time, inside and out. Proper hoods will never do harm to your photoshoots or exposure.
What does a camera lens hood do?
camera lens hoods
Lens hood Blocks all Unwanted Light
The main purpose of a lens hood is to block or reduce the number of camera lens flares and glare in your image by acting as a visor for your camera lens.
Flare and glare are types of scattered light that hit your camera lens from an angle (outside the frame) and make it very hard to see, like when you step outdoor in bright light.
This is also likely to happen if you’re using a very low-quality filter or an old one that doesn’t have improved anti-glare coatings.
While camera lens flares can serve as very interesting elements in a photo, they can be distracting, mainly when they end up covering your subject or most of your picture.
Even when you intend to add flares, too very much of it can make your picture look unprofessional, which is why many professionals recommend avoiding them in common with the use of a camera lens hood.
Lens hood Adds Image Contrast
When lens flares and very strong glares hit your camera lens, they basically block your view.
They wash out your picture and potentially even produce blemishes, thus reducing image contrast and overall image quality.
With camera lens hoods, you can block stray light from entering the camera lens and ensure that it makes a good, very clear view of a scene.
You can test the lens hoods yourself, but make sure you use the same to same exposure settings in your comparison pictures.
Lens hoods Help Protect the Lens
An added benefit of using a camera lens hood is that it serves as an added layer of protection for the camera front lens element.
Various photographers settle for a lens a UV filter or even a lens cap to protect the external camera lens, however, the external placement and material of lens hoods make them a more solid shield against accidental damages,
scratches, fingerprints, and even falling snow and debris when shooting in sharp weather conditions.
While there’s no assurance that a camera lens hood could keep your camera lens safe when you drop it, there’s still a pretty great chance that the hood will absorb the most maximum of the impact.
Types of Lens Hoods
Lens hoods don’t vary wildly. They very simply come in two different shapes: a cylindrical shape and a petal shape.
Cylindrical Camera Lens Hoods
Cylindrical camera lens hoods normally work well in blocking stray light and protecting your camera lens.
They usually come with (or are bought for) prime or telephoto camera lenses.
Although they are usually very long, there’s some little risk of the hood showing up in your frame since the field of view becomes very smaller when you are ready to use longer focal lengths.
You’ll also get rubber lens hoods that are cylindrical in shape and can be flattened towards the base when not in use.
Petal camera Lens Hoods
Petal camera lens hoods are uniquely designed to be very shorter and have curved notches that strategically block out light while maximizing the frame size offered by wide-angle camera lenses and full-frame camera sensors.
It typically has four petals and will need to be rotated perfectly so they don’t end up in your camera frame.
Luckily, there’s no need to worry about which model or style of the camera lens hood to buy.
There is usually only one hood for each lens—each optimized for use with the camera lens’ focal range—so you can very easily ask or research the appropriate camera lens hood shape for your lens.
How to Use a Lens Hood
Lens hoods attach directly to the front of your camera lens. Just screw it on until it’s mounted securely before photo shooting.
When not in use, most camera lens hoods can be removed or mounted in reverse in order to save a lot of space.
Some photographers take all the lens hoods off the lenses that they’re always carrying, stack them on top of each other, and store them like a very long wide lens.
Attaching the camera strap through stacked lens hoods and securing them outside the camera bag also helps you clear up the bag a lot of space.
Simply make sure you don’t shoot with the lens hood in reverse. Not only will it make you look like a complete beginner, but you also won’t get to benefit from it and it might even cover part of your focus and zoom rings.
When Not to Use Lens Hoods
Do you want a flare effect
Flares and glares can help produce more extra creative images. In fact, it’s very similar to that “filtered” effect that numerous are trying to achieve with photo editing programs and apps.
If this is what you’re trying to achieve, then now go ahead and photoshoot hood-less!
The lens hood shows in your photos
It’s still possible for you to capture the camera lens hood in your image even if you’re using one that’s specifically made for the camera lens that you’re using.
This is very commonly the case when you’re using a full-frame camera with a camera lens that is meant for shorter sensor cameras.
Some camera lens hoods for wide-angle lenses will also show the widest focal length and it creates a black vignette around your pictures.
Then, when you see it blocking your camera frame, simply remove them. It only takes some seconds, anyway.
You can’t attach camera lens hoods
Sometimes when you have to use certain filters or accessories (like a ring light) on your camera lens, which don’t have the right screw mounting feature for camera lens hoods.
If the camera accessory is crucial for the image that you’re trying to achieve, then just go without the lens hood.
You can always time to try blocking the light manually with your free hand or some piece of black card or stand next to anything that can provide shade for your camera lens.
The camera lens hood blocks your built-in flash
When you are using your camera’s built-in flash, there’s a big possibility that the camera lens hood will create a shadow on your subject.
In this case, simply remove the lens hood—or use an external flash that doesn’t have to be positioned too close to your camera lens and lens hood.
You want to photoshoot more discreetly
When you’re using very long camera lenses, lens hoods can attract a lot of undesired attention.
It can be counterproductive if you want to photoshoot candid’s out on the street, at any event, or at family gatherings.
But, Journalists and street photographers blend into the crowd better with very smaller cameras and prime lenses — without camera lens hoods.
Hopefully, this article gave you a very good idea of when and how to use a camera lens hood for your photography.
It’s a very simple thing, but the little amount of effort required to use a camera lens hoods could improve the quality of your picture significantly – and maybe even save your camera lens from getting damaged one day.