Should I Use a Lens Hood Indoors?
There is an easy answer, even if it might be a cop-out. As you improve upon your expertise as a photographer, you’ll learn that the attitude of “do what feels right and do what you want” are both solid pieces of advice.
Because at the end of the day, a lens hood is not going to make or break a session.
With that said, it’s good practice to understand what exactly a lens hood does.
Afterward, it’ll be a lot easier for you to answer the internal dialogue asking, “should I use a lens hood indoors?”
What is a Lens Hood?
You may first be wondering what exactly a lens hood is in the first place.
To put it simply, a lens hood is a piece of plastic that can be affixed to the end of a camera lens.
The plastic can either be cylindrical or feature a “petal” shape.
While each shape is distinct in its own right, it doesn’t really offer much difference in the way of functionality.
But what does a lens hood do for you as a photographer?
In theory, a lens hood is meant to block excessive light from creeping into your lens from the sides.
When light enters your camera from the side of the lens, you can get an effect known as “lens flare.”
While some photographers will use that effect to their advantage, many would rather not have it appear in their shots at all.
For this reason, a lens hood is a necessary accessory in your photographic arsenal.
An added benefit to a lens hood is that it acts as a barrier between a nasty fall and your precious camera lens.
As you probably already know, a decent camera lens is a steep investment.
The last thing you want is to have it shatter from dropping it.
If a lens hood has been affixed to your lens, then there’s a good chance the only damage sustained will be to your relatively inexpensive hood.
To summarize, a lens hood is a great tool for removing or reducing the chance of lens flare in your shots while also acting as added protection to your expensive array of camera lenses, should they be dropped or sustain any other kind of physical impact.
Why or Why Not Use a Lens Hood Indoors?
The question of “should I use a lens hood indoors” can be as complicated or as easy a question as you want it to be.
It’s easier if you break the question down into two components based on the benefits that a proper lens hood gives you as a photographer.
Do You Want to Mitigate Lens Flare?
If you’re not a fan of lens flare, then it goes without saying that you should invest in a lens hood for your camera lenses.
Lens flares are very common during indoor photo shoots due to the occasional intensity of your artificial light source.
While a lens flare might fit in naturally in a naturalistic setting, it might stand out too much in an interior photo session.
Are You Clumsy?
As mentioned earlier, lens hoods also act as decent protection for your camera lens.
If you’re a clumsy person prone to dropping your equipment, or just plan to shoot on rugged, uneven, or slippery terrain, then you should have a lens hood over your camera.
What would you rather replace, an inexpensive lens hood or an extremely expensive camera lens? The answer is simple!
Does Your Lens Lay Flush Against Its Casing?
The final thing you should consider when asking “should I use a lens hood indoors” is whether your camera lens already has a hood built-in.
The fact is, many shorter camera lenses feature a glass lens that is relatively recessed from the outer edge of the lens casing.
If that’s the case, then you’ve already got a hood that’ll both reduce lens flares and protect your glass.
Most of all, if you’re sporting a stout macro lens you may need to get extremely close to your subject for optimal focusing.
Having a lens hood may ruin your ability to approach your subject closely.
When to Use a Lens Hood?
If you’ve already answered the “should I use a lens hood indoors” question, then you may be wondering when exactly you should use a lens hood.
Once again, the answer is entirely circumstantial.
Let’s break it down into its components so you can answer it for yourself.
How Strict is Your Composition?
Some photographers are staunch artists in that they want to control every single component of a shot, down to the lighting.
Other photographers take a more naturalistic approach to the medium.
Lens flare can be an asset to your photography or a detractor, depending on what you are trying to shoot.
To put it simply, if you want strict control over your lighting and want your subjects to look exactly how you’ve staged them then invest in a lens hood.
How Intense is Your Light Source?
The more sunlight or artificial light apparent in your shot, the more likely you’ll have light coming into your camera from the sides of the lens.
This, of course, will produce lighting artifacts that you may want to keep in your photographs or may want to eliminate.
If you’re dealing with either intense sunlight or intense artificial light, then you should invest in a lens hood unless you want to experiment with the artifacts that light will create in your camera lens.
Is Your Camera Lens Super Expensive?
If your camera lens was a big investment, then there’s no reason you should leave it unprotected.
While a lens cap will serve its purpose, it obviously can’t be affixed to your lens when the lens is in use.
For this reason, you’ll want to have a durable lens hood connected to the end of your lens to protect it from damage should any occur.
Lens Hood vs. No Lens Hood
Having a lens hood and knowing how to put on a lens hood are important parts of being a professional photographer.
Even if you don’t have a hood on your current lens, you should at least know why they’re used in the industry.
Let’s break down having a lens hood versus not having one.
Lens Hoods Look Professional
A camera with a lens hood, whether you like it or not, looks more professional to your clients even if it’s not currently doing much for your shooting session.
If you’ve been in this business long enough then you understand that appearances matter.
Lens Hoods Protect Your Lens
While it’s not sure-fire, having a lens hood on your nice lens beats leaving it open to falling, impact, or other physical damage.
Why risk damaging your expensive lens when you could affix it with a lens hood for less than $30?
Lens Hoods Minimize Light Distortion
Having a lens hood on your camera lens isn’t going to hurt anything.
And it may minimize light distortion that could otherwise ruin a shot.
Best Lens Hoods
58 MM Lens Hood Set
Why not get two for the price of one?
This set offers both popular lens hood styles.
Best of all, the cylindrical hood is made of durable but soft rubber, which is collapsible for efficient storage.
58MM Tulip Flower Lens Hood for Canon Rebel
The Canon Rebel is one of the most prolific “prosumer” cameras on the market, which makes this lens hood a good fit if you own any of the popular Canon DSLR brands out today.
Furthermore, the tulip shape of the hood will add a certain elegance to your setup.
You can’t beat a certified Canon lens hood.
Canon has always been known for their craftsmanship and their tulip-styled lens hood is no exception.
While you may end up spending more money on this hood than others, the name brand could be worth it for appearances.
Now I want to hear from you!
Did you learn something new about lens hoods or is there something I missed?
Let me know in a comment down below!
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Nate Joaquin Torres is a portrait photographer based in Southern California. As a photographer, Nate loves testing different photography styles and gear to expand his skill set. Outside of photography, Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. Nate is also the founder of Imaginated.com, a media company dedicated to inspiring digital-age artists and creators in business, artistry, and mind. Connect with him on Instagram.