Do You Need a Filter for Night Photography?

Filters can be used in a variety of situations, particularly in landscape photography, but do you need them when you do night photography, and will they improve your images?

Night photography is a genre quite different from most photography because, quite obviously, it doesn't have the same available light as when you shoot during daytime hours. Therefore, you need to get your light from other sources such as street lights, moonlight, or from a flash on your camera. That can present a number of challenges itself, but one factor that is often overlooked or forgotten about in night photography is the accentuated light pollution you can get, usually colored orange.

In this video brought to you by The School of Photography, Marc Newton puts the NiSi Night Filter through its paces. NiSi says that its night filter can block out the orange night light that often plagues night images, particularly in and around well-lit cities. He takes a couple of images without the filter then the same images with the filter then compares them back in the studio. As Newton touches on in the video, you have to think about whether or not the NiSi night filter offers you more than what you can already do with white balance in post-production, as well as the considerable cost — $170 plus the holder kit if you don't own it. 

I love filters and own far too many, but every one I own allows me to do things I would find very difficult without them. I'm not sure this filter enters that realm for me. What do you think? Have you had any experience using this filter? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

Log in or register to post comments

I use the Benro Master TrueNight Round Filter - they also make a square drop-in filter. Very satisfied with the Benro.

Similar function as the NiSi one featured here?


I'm still very new to post-processing, so it might be worth it to use a filter such as this.

It's always best to get it as good as you can in-camera