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STD Filters for night photography

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Mode: Editors' pick

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Update time: 2021-10-27 06:29:37
Creation time: 2020-03-02 01:51:56

Night photography is one of the disciplines that can produce the most impressive results. The night sky, that great unknown, has always fascinated photographers. You can capture the starry sky with the Milky Way, the moon, urban panoramas with city lighting, etc. There is a wide variety of applications. To master them, you need specific equipment, generally consisting of wide-angle lenses, tripods, remote controls, etc. But here, we're going to focus on accessories that we don't usually talk about for this type of photography: filters for night photography.

You may have shrugged your shoulders after reading "filters for night photography", thinking that you would never use a filter for this type of photography because you believe that it will do nothing more than block the light that reaches the lens. But after reading this article, you'll end up wondering why you didn't start using filters for night photography sooner.

Filters for night photography: the 5 essentials for all photographers

Light pollution filter

A common problem that every night photography enthusiast encounters is the presence of yellowish tones produced by light pollution. If you've spent all night hunting for outdoor images and come home with photos that have a yellow tone, it's because light pollution has invaded your images.

To avoid this effect and produce images of the night sky with the right light, your best ally will be an anti-light pollution filter. With this filter, you can eliminate the yellowish colour produced by city lights. It will be especially useful if you plan to shoot in an urban environment at night, but also if you are near a city.


You may not have fully mastered infrared photography yet. Infrared photography is the photographing of the light spectrum that is invisible to the naked eye. In other words, between 700 and 1200 nanometres. The visible part of the spectrum is blocked. How is this done? With an infrared filter. We invite you to read this article on infrared photography to find out more.

Infrared photography is usually practised on sunny days, in order to obtain the maximum amount of infrared light from the sun, the main source of this type of light. However, infrared photography can also be practiced at night using a different type of light than the sun: city lights.

In addition to visible light, city lights emit a certain amount of infrared light. The amount will vary depending on the type of light bulb used. When practising night-time infrared photography in the city, the big challenge will be to avoid the flares that may appear due to the proximity of these lights to the ground. So you will need to find the right location and frame.

Star filters

Want to add a dreamy touch to the endless city lights photos? Try a star filter, you'll love the effect produced on the light points. Star filters, as their name suggests, give a starry effect on the light sources that appear in the image.

They are very simple to use. Simply fit the filter to your lens and it will produce stars on the light points, without the need to change the aperture, which is very important when it comes to night photography.

You can use these filters for street lights, car headlights, lamps or reflections from an indoor light source. You can change the angle of the star by turning the filter. There are filters with different numbers of branches: 4, 6 and 8 branches. Give a starry touch to the lights in your photos!


If you like movies, you must have already noticed the typical flare effect of many great films, stretched over the light point of a shot and formed into dreamy oval bokehs. This effect, in professional cinema, is achieved with anamorphic lenses specially designed for this format. According to DZOFilm, with anamorphic lenses, films achieve the cinematic effect that makes them so distinctive.

What if I told you that you could also achieve this effect with your DSLR or camera? Yes, you read that right. You can achieve this effect with anamorphic filters, which are very simple filters but can give incredible effects.

If you love video making, both professional and amateur, and want to give your short films, advertising videos and even social media productions a more professional touch, you can achieve the desired effect with an anamorphic filter.

ND4 neutral density filters

Here we will explain when it is best to use a ND4 neutral density filter or a higher density filter if necessary for night photography. When photographing a cityscape at night, you may want to use long exposure times and leave the shutter open for a while to produce a certain effect. At the same time you want to keep the aperture wide to maintain a precise depth of field. With these settings, it is very likely that the image will be overexposed and that a neutral density filter will be required.

Hence the usefulness of an ND4 or higher density filter to produce effects in the city at night, such as the silky effect on the water of a fountain, for example, or to capture the wakes left by car headlights and even to eliminate pedestrians walking on the pavement.

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