A Cheap Lens Hood May Be the Most Important Photo Accessory You Can Use: Here’s Why (VIDEO)

We’re always amazed to see photographers shooting with high-end cameras and premium glass, without a hood on their lens. Often that’s because hoods are an optional purchase when buying a lens, while other times photographers fail to realize the significant difference an affordable hood can make in the quality of their images.

In this quick tutorial, professional sports and celebrity photographer David Bergman explains how lens hoods work, and why he rarely shoots without one. The video below is the latest episode of Bergman’s Two-Minute Tips series on AdoramaTV, and it’s definitely worth watching.

Bergman explains that lens flare occurs when light strikes the front element of a lens at just the right angle, resulting in flat images without contrast. Under these circumstances you may also notice bright spots in an image. The simple solution is to use a lens hood, and Bergman shows you why.

A lens hood works by effectively extending the barrel of a lens, in much the same way that holding a hand above your eyes prevents stray light from obscuring your view. Lens hoods for prime lenses are typically cylindrical, while those for zoom lenses are usually petal-shaped to cover the entire focal range of a lens.

Bergman demonstrates why the use of a lens hood is important, even when lens flare isn’t a concern. He also reveals the only two situations in which he removes a hood from a lens. Watch the video to find out. Bottom line: If your lens came with a hood, use it; if it didn’t, buy one.

There are more helpful tips on the AdoramaTV YouTube channel. And be sure to watch another episode of Bergman’s Two-Minute Tips, explaining how to shoot dramatic images by filling the frame with your subject.