The lens hood is an often overlooked accessory. I see a lot of people walking around without one. Or sometimes they have one on their lens, but they’re not using it: it’s put on backwards (the storage position).
So, to help remedy this problem and motivate you to always use a lens hood (if you’re not already!), here are two great things they can do for you:
#1 – Prevents lens flare
The main purpose of the lens hood is to prevent lens flare:
Lens flare will show up in your photos when the Sun is shining on your lens (but still outside the field of view of the lens). Although lens flare can sometimes add a cool effect to a photo, it’s usually an unwanted problem that makes your photos appear hazy and washed out.
So, to help prevent the Sun from shining on your lens, always remember to use a lens hood!
Another tip: sometimes the lens hood doesn’t always keep the Sun off your lens, so it’s helpful to carry around some kind of large object that you can use to help block the Sun in these situations. Any kind of hat works well for this, and sometimes you can even just use your hand to block the Sun. Just make sure whatever you’re using doesn’t show up in the photo! 😉
#2 – Protects your lens
The lens hood can also provide a lot of protection for your lens, since it adds a large buffer of space between the glass and the outside world. Not only does this protect your lens if you accidentally drop it, but it also helps prevent dust and dirt from blowing onto the glass.
This added protection lets you walk around without a lens cap, which helps keep you ready for an action shot of wildlife.
Not all lenses come with hoods
The lens hood isn’t always included when you buy a new lens, but they’re available to purchase separately for most lenses. So, if your lens didn’t come with a hood, check the manufacturer’s website to see if one is available.
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.