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Three reasons why you should use your lens hood

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I see photographers who don’t use their lens hoods. Or they have them on the lens … but reversed. Here are three reasons why you should use a lens hood.

1. It protects your lens.

You want to protect your lens, don’t you? Some of you even put UV filters on your lens to protect it. So why not leave your lens hood on? You can protect it from falls and bumps and scrapes. Lessen the chance of scratching your front element. 

2. It stops lens flares and washed out lighting.

OK, a lens hood won’t stop direct light like this from flaring. But it will stop light from entering the side of your lens.

The main purpose of a lens hood is to stop lens flares. It stops unwanted light from entering the side of your lens. Now, I realize that lots of people are trying to achieve this look. That’s a little different.

Cricket sculpture at night.
With night photography involving light painting and a full moon, there are many opportunities to have unwanted flares. Keep that lens hood on whenever possible.

3. It makes it easier for you to see and control your lens.

If you have it on reverse, it doesn’t protect your lens. It doesn’t stop lens flares. And it can interfere with you seeing and focusing your lens. Just put it on correctly and be done with it.

Fisheye lens view of trailer.
Fisheye with 180-degree view, making it even easier to have unwanted light or flares. Night photo in Nevada with light painting and a full moon.

Many night photographers use ultra wide-angle lenses. These often have built-in lens hoods to protect its bulbous front element. Whether we want to or not, the lens hood already helps us out. This goes especially for anyone using a fisheye with a 180-degree range of view.

For other lenses, reverse the lens when putting it back in your backpack, shipping it or when the lens has to be made smaller for whatever reason. 

The rest of the time, use it. You may even feel safe enough to do away with that UV filter you have screwed on to your lens. Use it for night photography. Events, street, whatever. Just keep it on whenever possible and life will be sweet.

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