A lens hood is…
Lens hoods are an accessory that is often overlooked but can be really helpful. Its main purpose is to block unwanted light from striking the lens of the camera. Direct light can cause lens flares and spotting and reducing contrast. It can also highlight any dust the happens to be on the lens. Indirectly a lens hood can help reduce reflected light from nearby objects.
A lens hood is a shield from sunlight
Pictures taken with a lens hood on may have deeper richer color and slightly better contrast between light and dark areas. Think about standing out in the sun without a hat verses with one. The hats brim can help block angular light and make it easier to see. This is why sports like baseball or golf always feature a hat. They serve the same purpose as the lens hood.
A lens hood is protection for the lens
A lens hood doesn’t take up space in the bag
There may be times when you dont want to use a lens:
– You can see the hood in the frame
It’s rare but possible for super wide-angle lenses, especially if using generic a 3rd party hood. If you have the lens zoomed all the way back and the hood is showing, then you may need to remove it. This is a trade-off between the wide-angle and light interference.
– It may not be possible attach a lens hood
There may be times when you have attachments (filters for example) on your lens, which don’t lend themselves well to using a lens hood. For example, I have a lens that has a somewhat deep cylindrical hood and it’s difficult to use with a circular polarizer because you cannot reach in and turn the adjustment ring. In this case by all means go without the hood.
– You actually want a flare in your photo
Flares can add some excitement to your images. This an effect that is often desired and is a feature of most popular image editing software. If this is an effect you want, then by all means remove that hood!
– The lens hood is creating vibration
Lens hoods tend to have a lot of surface area so it’s possible for your lens hood to catch the wind and cause the camera to shake, resulting in blurry images. Probably more likely when tripod mounted. If it’s fairly windy and the hood isn’t strictly necessary (there is not direct light issue) you should remove it.
– The lens hood is casting a shadow
There is the possibility that the lens hood will cast a shadow on your subject. In this case, just remove the hood. There may also be a shadow if you have backlight that is at a perfect angle to the camera. You can either change positions or remove the hood.
Smoke em if you got em