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When to Use a Camera Lens Hood to Improve Your Shots

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Use a Camera Lens Hood to Improve Your Shots

Everyone has seen a camera lens hood in front of the camera at some point in their lives. It seems like a piece of plastic or metal that is attached to the front of the camera lens. Most people aren’t familiar with its name or functions and consider it a decorative accessory to make the camera equipment look more professional. However, this isn’t the case. This accessory is known as a camera lens hood and serves as a major plus to the quality of the photos. Before understanding when to use a camera lens hood to improve your shots, it is important to know what it is.

What is Camera Lens Hood?

A camera Lens Hood is a very important accessory for photographers. It is a circular accessory attached to the lens of the camera. It is either made of plastic or metal.When-to-Use-a-Camera-Lens-Hood-to-Improve-Your-Shots (1)

There are two main types of camera lens hoods. One is known as the petal-type lens hood and the other is known as the cylindrical lens hood. You can simply differentiate them from their looks.

Types of Camera Lens Hood


Cylindrical Lens Hood

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Cylinder Lens Hood is circular and in the form of perfect cylinders. They are used for normal lenses that have fixed focal lengths and telephoto lenses. Such lenses don’t zoom out and thus the black lens hood doesn’t block out your pictures. Apart from this, lenses for sports and wildlife photography use a cylindrical lens hood.

Petal Lens Hood

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Petal lens hoods have their corners cut away. Wide-angle lenses capture an enlarged view of the background and one can’t use a normal camera lens hood with them, as they might block the view. For this purpose, petal lens hoods were designed with cuts at their corners. Without this type of lens hood, you will see black at the corner of your picture.

Square Lens Hood

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Square or rectangular lenses are shaped according to the camera sensor. This way they help in blocking stray light from entering it. They add a retro look to your entire setup.

Rubber Lens Hood

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Rubber Lens hoods are collapsible, which makes storing them easy. Their rubber structure makes them flexible allowing them to be stretched around the lens. This also makes them somewhat universal, meaning that one hood can be used for different lenses.

Metal Lens Hood

This is more of a premium type of lens hood. The only difference between these types of hoods is that they are made from alloy or metal.

For What purpose Lens Hood is used?

Now that we have established lens hood and their types, let’s understand why we need them. They are used for a number of reasons. The most important one of these reasons is that they block unwanted light. This means they are a necessity when shooting outdoors during the day or in cases having a lot of lights. There are other purposes of the lens hood as well;

To Minimize Flare

The most important function of the lens hood is to minimize the lens flare that appears in the image. If you have ever taken pictures in the presence of the sun, you will surely be familiar with the flare caused by it. You wish to have the flare sometimes, but in day-to-day pictures, it is preferred to avoid it.

Lens flare can happen anywhere, having unwanted light even if the source of light isn’t present in your view, can still affect the quality of the image. It also occurs when a poor-quality filter is used or if the lens lacks good anti-glare coatings.

Lens Hood can help you deal with this issue. It blocks the light from going to the front of the lens. An image without a lens hood has light spread all over the lens element, whereas, a lens hood helps you to avoid this and thus results in a more appealing image. It creates a shadow on the front element of the lens and this helps in blocking out the light from directly hitting the lens surface. So the main purpose of using the lens hood can is to shield the lens of your camera from unwanted light, resulting in a stronger contrast of colors and an overall better image.

Adds Image Contrast

Lens hood help to improve the image contrast. They not only prevent the large spots and discoloration of images caused by unwanted light but also help to create a stronger and better contrast.

This is actually related to the previous purpose. When light flare doesn’t directly hit your lens, it creates images with better contrast. Some people say that lens hoods don’t affect the image quality much, however, they actually make a good difference in the image quality.

Protects the Lens

Camera lenses are costly and it is important to protect them from scratches, smudges, and serious damage. Even if you are a pro photographer, the risk of an accident is always there. If the front element of the lens is damaged, it will highly affect the quality of your images. It is better to replace the lens in this case. Using a lens hood over the lens helps protect the front element of the lens especially when the camera is hanging on your shoulder and is prone to damage.

One can always use a lens cover to keep the lens protected from scratches. However, when the camera is in action, a lens hood is the best accessory to keep it protected.

Protecting the lens isn’t the main purpose of the lens hood; however, an added layer will only benefit the lens and provide additional protection to it. For instance, if the camera falls from a height or with an impact, the lens hood will absorb most of the damage and it is always better to have a cracked hood than to have a cracked lens.

Keeps the Lens Clear

This is another of the less-known benefits of having a lens hood. A lens hood assists photographers to take images during bad weather such as heavy rain. In this case, the lens hood provides a covering on the lens and thus the precipitation doesn’t get into the lens. This allows you to capture your desired pictures.

When to use Camera Lens Hood

Lens hoods can be used all the time and anywhere. However, there are some situations where it is necessary to use them to get desired results. Make sure to use them while;

  • If you are shooting near strong light sources or if your camera is directly facing the light like that of the sun.
  • If you are shooting at night close to light sources like street lamps or car headlights, etc.
  • If you are shooting in harsh conditions and they are chances of lens damage.
  • If your subject is backlit, it is recommended to use a lens hood.

In simple words, you must always place the lens hood on to your camera, unless you wish to store the camera and save some space.

How to use Lens Hood

Lens hoods are simple to use. They attach directly to the front side of your lens. They must be screwed onto the lens and mounted securely. They can be removed, when the camera isn’t in use. Simply unscrew the hood by flipping it around and mounting it in reverse on the lens.

Make sure that your hood isn’t reversed while shooting, this will change the purpose of the hood and you may end up covering parts of your image.


When you move around, you will try to save as much space as possible and thus wish to store all the equipment of the lens in a way that they take up very little space. They are lightweight and if placed properly, they take some space only.

You can simply remove all the lens hoods from your lenses and stack them on each other. However, sometimes this might not be an ideal way to do it. Another method of storing the lens hood is to simply reverse it on the lens.

Windy or Dry Weather

The camera lens hood can be a driving force for the lens during heavy winds. This can result in camera shake and blur the images or in some extreme cases, it can also cause your camera to topple over if it is placed on a tripod.

Lens hood assists in getting ideal pictures in rainy weather by protecting the lens from raindrops. However, if there is no rain, and the weather is dry you can simply choose to leave the lens hood behind.

Lens Hood appears in your pictures

If you change the lens of your camera for instance, if you have a normal filter and you change it to a wide-angle lens, then the normal cylindrical-shaped lens hood will not be enough. This is because it will end up blocking the corners of your picture. In such cases, it is recommended to remove the lens to avoid blocking your frame.

Lens Hood block built-in flash

If you wish to use the built-in flash of your camera, you might wish to reconsider using a lens hood. This is because the hood might end up casting a shadow on the image. Another remedy to this problem is using a detachable camera flash that isn’t very close to the lens and lens hood.

You fail to attach Lens Hood

Sometimes you are forced to use certain accessories to achieve the perfect captures. In such cases, you may not be able to attach the lens hood to your lens. For instance, if you wish to use a ring light to brighten up your image, you will not be able to attach the lens hood to the lens. In such cases, it is better to avoid using the lens hood.

Use a Camera Lens Hood to Improve Your Shots-FAQs

When shouldn’t you use Lens Hood?

Lens hoods are used most of the time and it is recommended to keep them on your lens all the time. However, there are certain situations where you would think twice before using them.

When you want Lens Flare in your images

Sometimes lens flare helps in adding the desired aesthetic to your images. It helps in changing your imagination into reality. Most photographers desire to capture the best picture during the golden hour when the sun shines directly into the picture.

Having lens flare in your picture helps in adding a creative touch to your pictures. It gives the same effect as the one people try to achieve using editing software.

Which Lens Hood should you get?

Lens hoods don’t come in a universal size. This means one size won’t fit all. You will need the right-sized lens hood for your lens. The main reason for this is that the circumference of the different lenses is different and thus they require a suitably sized lens hood.

Similarly, if you are using a wide-angle lens, you will be dealing with a petal lens hood. The size of the cuts is different for a different lenses. It depends on the zoom range. The wider the angle of view, the more cuts need to be further back to avoid blockage.

It is recommended to avoid lens hoods that claim to be universal as that isn’t possible.

How to choose the right lens hood?

You can simply browse the name followed by the model of the lens to know the right size of the lens. You can, however, manually measure the diameter of the lens filter thread as well.

When should I use a lens hood on my camera?

Always wear a lens hood when shooting. Even when you’re indoors or it’s dark outside, stray light may enter your lens from the front, lowering the contrast in your picture. Utilizing a lens hood has the added benefit of protecting the lens’ front element.

Do professional photographers use a lens hood?

Yes, professional photographers use lens hoods in most cases to avoid lens flare and protect their lenses.

Does a lens hood make a difference?

Not just for preventing huge areas of lens flare and discoloration. They also enhance a photo’s overall color and contrast. I use lens hoods almost exclusively because of this (more on the word “nearly” below). They never degrade your image quality when used properly.

Should I use a lens hood on a cloudy day?

It isn’t necessary to use a lens hood on a cloudy day. This is because their main purpose is to avoid flare and in the absence of an overly lit light source, it isn’t really needed to use a lens hood.

Can you use a lens hood and filter at the same time?

Yes, you can use the lens hood and the filter at the same time.

What type of lens hood should I use?

The type of lens hood highly depends on your lens type. The most commonly used lens hood is the cylindrical one. In cases where you aren’t using a normal lens, like when using a wide-angle lens, you can opt for a petal-shaped lens hood.

Do lens hoods fit all lenses?

No, lens hoods come in different sizes and are meant for differently-sized lenses.

What is the flare defect?

When light is dispersed or flared in a lens system, frequently in response to bright light, an undesired artifact in the image is created that can occasionally be seen.

How do you measure for a lens hood?

The filter thread size, which is typically located on the inside of the lens cap, is the same as the hood thread size and is 52mm, 58mm, etc. Depending on the manufacturer, you may occasionally locate it on the lens itself. You can also find it there if you have the lens manuals.

Should I use a lens hood for macro?

In general, using lens hoods is a good idea. In order to shield the front of your lens from most types of damage, you should always have one on. However, wearing the lens hood isn’t a good idea if you’re using a macro lens to focus extremely closely (in the macro ranges).

Use a Camera Lens Hood to Improve Your Shots-Conclusion

Camera Lens Hood is one of the essential tools when you want to get the ideal clicks in an overly lit place or if the source of light is facing directly toward your lens. It has some other uses as well but this is the most prominent one.

Most often people neglect it but it is very important to know when to use a camera lens hood to improve your shots. This will help you on your way to becoming a better and more professional photographer. This article has completely explained the lens hood, its use, and its working method which will surely assist you in your photography endeavors.

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