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polarizing filter

i am shooting a wedding this saturday. it is mid afternoon and promises to be hot and sunny. the wedding and most of the party will be outside.

i have a Canon 5DMiii and 3 600 ex-rt flashes and radio trigger.

i have a polarizing filter that cuts the light about 1.5 stops. would it be useful in the bright sun?



  • I'm no expert, but somewhere I've read that adding any extra filters could set you up for some lens flare, especially if you are shooting towards the sun. Sometimes lens flare is good, but when it happened to me I didn't want it. I had a ND filter on my lens - for protection - and was probably what caused it.

  • I use Polarizing filters in bright sunlight from camera left or right, and on occasion if sun is behind me. You can also try an ND filter of varying stops.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    You are going to get differing opinions about this, but you really need to experiment, I used to use a good quality UV filter, not for the light, but merely for lens protection, but I too like Dave got some unwanted lens flare so I now run 'bare lens', yeah, I know, taking a risk but I am prepared to do that.

    The only trouble with Polariser/ND would be if you were trying to use a light meter, you need to add/subtract the difference in stops, but I presume you don't use that anyway.

    With a Polariser you can cut glare from shiny surfaces like metal/water and 'see more' and deepen the blues in skies; however you need to be careful with how it's used as you don't want crazy skin tones especially in a 1-shot deal like a wedding.

    With an ND you can get to those wide open apertures you may need if you are stuck with using a flash and sync speed dictates how much the aperture needs to be open, generally f11/13 on sunny days with 200/250th shutter, so as I said, trial and error.

    I *most definitely* would try it out with your Polariser prior to the wedding day though, that's for sure.


  • thanks guys, i would consider an ND filter but i don't have one. i don't have any other filters so usually shoot bare lens. i do want to use fill flash hence the thought of the polarizing filter, it is what i have. i have a friend i may be able to borrow an ND filter from. that would be better wouldn't it for max sync speed which is a 200th on my camera.

    i probably won't have time before saturday to practice with the polarizer so that is out.
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