To filter or not to filter

So the endless debate continues on whether photo filters area good thing or not.  I have to say based on discussing this with about 8 people so far the opinions are all over the place.  Whether its professionals,amateurs or somewhere in between there really is no defining opinion (i.e. not all professionals are of the opinion that filers are good or bad, there is no real consensus here).

For those who are new to the debate it really comes down to the pros and cons of filters.  Although no one denies that filters are a “fun” add on to pictures on social media, but can/should they be allowed when we are talking about professional photography,or photo art.  Is it cheating?

There are those that go the extra mile to get the right lighting, have the equipment to bounce lights, and if you’re really professional make your way to the dark room and use your skills to manipulate the colour.  The perception is that no matter how advanced filter technology gets, it’s still behind the “human touch”. 

I guess this goes beyond just filters and you can make the same argument to Photoshop, illustrator and any other graphic design (some call it “visual manipulation”) software.  But that’s going well into a more complicated range of pros and cons.  Specific to filters though, should people use them extensively in enhancing their photos, and do they look better than unfiltered?  Is there a negative perception of using filters out there – why else is #unfiltered a top trending tag in many Instagram accounts?

I guess that is up to the individual person.  My personal take is that filters are useful and if it’s a matter of enhancing highlights and low lights without changing the picture in a “major” way then it shouldn’t be an issue.   I do think that having an unfiltered picture(and defined as much), and assuming the lighting and colour is great, it gives the impression that the photographer went out of their way to take the “perfect”shot.  More blood, sweat and tears (more like time, patience, and boredom) went into the image giving it a bit more weight. 


But even if you used all the filters in the world, if the photo isn’t great as a base to the filters, nothing will work.  A little help is fine with filters but the foundation of a great photo is the shot no matter what filter you give it.

Wondering what your thoughts on this?


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