Over the course of five previous articles, we’ve explored various filters that you can use to create more compelling images. From neutral density filters that help you create daytime long exposures to polarizing filters that reduce glare and create more dramatic skies, we’ve covered the gamut of filters available to you on the market today.
We conclude our six-part mastering filters series with a discussion of color intensifier filters. These filters can help you make the colors in the scene pop for an added dimension of interest in your shots. Let’s explore these filters in more detail by going over a few common questions people often ask about a color intensifier filter.
What Does a Color Intensifier Do?
© Daniel Stainer
In this case, what the filter does is exactly what its name implies. A color intensifier filter boosts the saturation of colors in the scene. In essence, it accentuates prominent colors such that their level of saturation is subtly increased for a greater visual impact. What’s more, color intensifier filters give images improved color contrast for a more potent visual impact.
But, it’s important to note that color intensifiers do not add an intense level of saturation. Rather, they provide subtle boosts to colors in the scene for a natural, lifelike image that closely mirrors the colors and saturation you see with your own eyes, as seen in the image above.
In What Situations Can a Color Intensifier Be Used?
The beauty of a color intensifier filter is that it has wide applicability across a variety of shooting situations. Use it for landscape photography to add some punch to colors that might be a little on the dull side. Add the filter to a macro lens to give your up-close shots an added dose of color saturation that makes the macro scene seem more vibrant and lifelike. You can even use a color intensifier when creating black and white images because the added saturation of colors in the scene will give you a greater tonal range once the image is converted to black and white.
Why Not Add These Effects in Post-Processing?
Post-processing tools are invaluable to today’s photographer, to be sure. And though these programs are more powerful than ever, they still cannot match the quality of effect that you can get from a high-quality color intensifier filter. Often, when an image is heavily processed, it looks heavily processed. That’s not to mention that making subtle color changes to your images can be a lengthy process. Instead, with a color intensifier filter, all you have to do is attach it to your lens and start shooting. The subtle saturation-enhancing effects are done without any sort of input from you, so your images have the desired impact right there in-camera.
Are All Color Intensifier Filters the Same?
As we’ve mentioned throughout this Mastering Filters Series, all filters are most definitely not the same. As with purchasing a lens, when you purchase a filter, you get what you pay for. In the case of color intensifiers, many only work on orange and red tones, and even then, the filter produces a distinct magenta color cast. However, top-quality filters like the Singh-Ray LB Color Intensifier work on the full spectrum of colors. That means cool tones and warm tones alike are accentuated, and the most prominent colors in the scene will be enhanced. This filter is especially useful for scenes with green tones and warm colors, making it an ideal add-on for landscape photographers.
Better still, Singh-Ray’s LB Color Intensifier leaves white areas and other neutral colors unchanged. That means you get the saturation of colors you desire without color casts in neutral areas. And, since Singh-Ray’s Color Intensifier is part of their “lighter, brighter” line, the filter is 2/3 of a stop faster than comparable filters, meaning you have a better view of the scene as you compose your shot, giving you more creative control while also reaping the benefits of the color intensifier filter.
In short, a color intensifier is a perfect filter to use when your image just needs an added bit of punch. And, for getting that effect, the Singh-Ray LB Color Intensifier is the ideal choice for an effect that looks natural and really makes your images pop. For this and other filter needs, be sure to visit Singh-Ray for the highest quality filters.