Filters vs Lightroom?

Sarah Elizabeth

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What are the benefits of using a filter as opposed to using a program such as Lightroom to alter/enhance my photos?

Thanks for any answers! :D
 

Mav

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You're always better off getting it right on the camera. The more "correct" your image is straight off the camera, the less you have to mess around with it in post-processing programs. To mimic the effect of some filters, you might have to heavily massage the image in whatever PP program you're using, and heavily massaged images sometimes lose their natural look or just don't quite look right.
 

chente922

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exactly... specially on filters that enhanced certain colors... it'll take quite more time on post-processing software... always try to get shot your pictures the best possible from the camera
 

Dnohla vopi

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Yes, but you could draw a parallel with shooting in sepia mode. I hate it when my girlfriend does that. She says that she likes the sepia shots more, but you just limit yourself by doing that.

What I'm trying to say, if you get a good standard color photo, you can mimic any kind of filter with PS or lightroom or whatever. Once you took it with a filter, that's it. No going back
 

Mav

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What I'm trying to say, if you get a good standard color photo, you can mimic any kind of filter with PS or lightroom or whatever. Once you took it with a filter, that's it. No going back
That's not true at all. It may be true for certain situations, but certainly not for all.

Try taking a sunset or sunrise photo without a grad-ND filter and let me know how it turns out. Those types of shots can grossly exceed the dynamic range of any digital sensor and even film, and they'll always look far better with grad ND filters. Even with a 2-stop grad ND I still have to do massaging in photoshop with the shadow/highlight filter or in DxO to bring up the pretty much dark foreground. Without the filter, doing the same would be pretty much impossible with a JPG, and probably even beyond RAW.

Another example is a circular polarizer for some landscape or scenic shots, especially mid-day when you have a ton of light bouncing around from every which direction. A CP filter will help a ton and I have no idea how you'd even begin to try to mimic a CP filter in photoshop. Good luck with that. :blushing:

Some filters are pretty pointless on digital, like an 81A warming filter. On digital you can just trim out your white balance to get the same effect, or even adjust it afterwards in post-processing very easily. A UV filter doesn't really do anything besides protect the lens. On B&W film, you did need different colored filters depending on what you were shooting. On digital those are pretty pointless too unless you're going for some special effect. One filter that isn't pointless is a regular neutral density filter. If you're trying to get a nice flowing waterfall shot during the day on a tripod, a 4-stop ND filter is indispensible. I don't think you can photoshop a fast shutter speed waterfall photo into a longer smooth flowing waterfall shot. :lol:

If you're talking about stuff like color vs B&W vs sepia, just shoot RAW and then you can keep processing the same sensor data in a lot of different ways. You don't really need a real "photographic" filter for that sort of stuff. Even my Nikon D80 has built-in B&W processing filters. The red or especially the orange one tends to give a much nicer look for portraits than when left alone. I don't shoot like that enough to actually warrant buying a real filter though, which might look better.
 

Josh66

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Yes, but you could draw a parallel with shooting in sepia mode. I hate it when my girlfriend does that. She says that she likes the sepia shots more, but you just limit yourself by doing that.

What I'm trying to say, if you get a good standard color photo, you can mimic any kind of filter with PS or lightroom or whatever. Once you took it with a filter, that's it. No going back
I don't use the in-camera filters, for the reason you stated - there's no going back. But - optical filters (you know, the kind that screw onto your lens...) do have a purpose.

I try to get a photo how I want it in-camera as much as possible. I just don't think it looks the same in PS. IR filters for example - I've seen a lot of photoshopped images made to look like IR, but it never looks as good as an actual IR photo. CPL filters too. I'm doubtful that you could photoshop a picture to take the glare off of the surface of water the way that a CPL filter can. Maybe you could...but I think it would be lots of work. Why do all that when you can just screw a filter on and be done with it?

ND filters can't be done in PS either. PS can't change your exposure times.

-Edit-
I guess Mav said pretty much the same thing...
 

Dnohla vopi

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Of course you can't mimic a ND filter in PS. But she's talking about lightroom filters/effects. and this is what your lightroom interface looks like:

lightroomji5.jpg


This might be just me, but I don't see Neutrla Density on the list
 

Dnohla vopi

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OK. Let me put it this way. when I see the post from the start of the thread, this is the story that rolls trough my mind:

Sarah Elizabeth bought lightroom, she thought the effects were cool, but also she heard she can screw a piece of blue glass on her lens instead of using lightroom and, of course, she's curious why she would do that if she could get the same thing with one click of the mouse.

Sorry if I got misunderstood
 

dbrandon

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OK. Let me put it this way. when I see the post from the start of the thread, this is the story that rolls trough my mind:

Sarah Elizabeth bought lightroom, she thought the effects were cool, but also she heard she can screw a piece of blue glass on her lens instead of using lightroom and, of course, she's curious why she would do that if she could get the same thing with one click of the mouse.

Sorry if I got misunderstood

Yes, you're quite right. I was just pointing out that the lightroom presets arn't really the equivalent to using filters. Some filters can be quite effectively mimiced, and if the results are how you want them to look, why not save the money (providing you already have the software ! :D) ?

But some filters, as Mav and O||||||||O said, simply cannot be replicated in PP, so these would be well worth getting (if you have the use for them).
 
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Sarah Elizabeth

Sarah Elizabeth

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Yes!! :) I do have light room. And I do not have any filters. I do want to run out and grab a bunch but yes I was curious about the "click of the mouse trick" I am shooting a few weddings and personally I like getting it close to "perfect" instead of using something such as lightroom photoshop etc.

Thanks a lot everyone!
 

frXnz kafka

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If you're just talking color filters (red, blue, green, etc.) then you can certainly get close in something like Photoshop. It's a lot easier to use a color filter, but if you're not 100% sure you want to use a filter, it is possible to get a similar effect in PS.

Other filters (polarizer, ND, IR) as the others have said, are a bit trickier.
 

nicfargo

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If you're going to buy filters, stick with Circular Polarizer (best on lenses that don't rotate the filter threads when focusing), Neutral Density Filters (for reasons stated above), and I guess IR filters (I've never used one so I really couldn't tell you). Everything else could be done in PS. If you're doing any off camera lighting (strobes, studio lights, etc) the filters for that are worth it, even color filters, called gels, because you are then modifying the light...which is a pain in the arse to do in PS.
 

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