Realtime Explains How Polarizing Filters Can Completely Change an Image

Realtime Explains How Polarizing Filters Can Completely Change an Image

No matter how great the photographer, sometimes there is something that is going to interfere with getting the perfect photograph. Often the problem has to do with the amount or quality of light available. Polarizing filters are designed to deal with this light interference, helping photographers achieve the optimum light level for their photographs. Edmund Optics offers a range of polarizing filters, which can be used in photography and other applications, to help enhance image quality and clarity.

What Is a Polarizing Filter?

A polarizing filter is an external filter that is used in conjunction with a camera or other type of lens to change the light that is entering the lens. They can be used to decrease the overall amount of available light but are most often used to help reduce glare or reflections from surrounding surfaces.  They are commonly used in bright-light settings or near bodies of water and can be an important tool to use in any type of outdoor photography. While they might seem to work on decreasing overall light, many people may want to read an article similar to this one on how to, “Use a polarizing filter to cut through reflections.” 

According to, polarizing filters may also be employed in other applications to cut reflections.  For example, polarized sunglasses are a type of polarizing filter that works to cut the transmission of polarized light and reduce glare from reflected surfaces. They can also work to reduce the halo effect of lights at nighttime. Polarizing filters are also used in displays and can help eliminate the impact of glare on displayed images.

How Does a Polarizing Filter Work?

A polarizing filter works specifically on polarized light. Light can be polarized in several different ways. Polarization refers to the oscillation of the transverse waves in the light pattern. Taken as an aggregate, most light sources are unpolarized because the light consists of multiple different waves, each having their own oscillation patterns and directions. This means that the light appears diffuse and without glare. However, some percentage of light in the air is polarized, and much of the light reflected from non-metallic surfaces is polarized. To the eye, this polarization appears as glare or a reflection and can interfere with vision and with the ability to get a good photograph. 

Types of Polarizing Filters

There are various types of polarizing filters to discover here. They can be used with digital and standard types of cameras. They can also be used for non-photography applications. Visible linear polarizing laminated film is a type of polarizing filter that has multiple functions, including imaging, display, and even microscopy. It can cut the transmission of unpolarized light dramatically, and the use of two crossed sheets of the laminate can cut the transmission of unpolarized light to well below one percent. 

Of course, the type of polarizing filter requires depends significantly on the desired application.  Some filters may eliminate too much of the polarized light. It is important to examine product specifications to ensure that the appropriate filter is selected to achieve the desired effect. 

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