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Lens Hoods - Why I Always Use One

What is a lens hood, when should you use a lens hood and why should you use a lens hood, that’s the question.

This is not the first time I have visited this subject but I think a quick demonstration was in order.

I was about to make a video at the computer when I realized how much sun flair was hitting the camera. See, my computer faces a big window and in the morning the sun is directly entering the window. The video looked all washed out with a bunch of solar flair. Mind you I was using my Imac but the same general principles would apply to your cameras lens.

I thought to myself how could I cut down on this lens flair and pump up this flat looking image. I could have waited until the sun moved, I could have put something in front of the window to cut down on the flair or I could have used a lens hood.

You may be saying how can you use a lens hood on your computer? It’s simple really, a lens hood blocks the stray light from entering your lens and causing the lens flair. Yes a lens hood can also act as a way to protect the front element of your lens but that’s not the main reason I always use mine.

As you can see in the video as soon as I added my lens hood, in this case an envelope, the image instantly gained more contrast and become much more punchy. So it went from flat without a lens hood to majorly punchy with contrast.

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 9.47.38 AM

That is why I always use a lens hood no matter the time of day or the location. If I am shooting a concert and their is stray light, my lens hood will most likely block it. If I am shooting in the studio or even shooting at night with no stray light, I still use it.

Some people may like the lens flair and like flatter images, that is perfectly fine. I personally prefer the punchy mc puncherson images.

Just about every lens that is made has a specific lens hood that is made for it. There are companies that sell generic lens hoods that they sit fit on any lens but I wouldn’t use them. Certain hoods are designed in such a way that they allow you to zoom without the lens hood getting in the way.

My recommendation is that you use the lens hood that either came with your lens or is designed for your lens.