February 19, 2018

What Are Lens Hoods and Why Should You Use One?

No, they're not just ornamental.

When I first started out, I thought cameras with lens hoods looked so much cooler and professional than the ones without them. I know I'm not the only one! The same thing goes for cinema cameras with matte boxes. I bought one of those sexy numbers before I really understood what they did—but they do do something and it's important and oftentimes necessary if you want to capture the images you want.

In this video, David Bergman of Adorama TV goes over the basics of lens hoods: what they are, how they work, and why you might want to have one always on hand while shooting your films. Check it out below.

The purpose of a lens hood is to block unwanted light that is coming into your lens. Why would you want to do this? Well, occasionally light will come in at a certain angle and create lens flares and bright spots, which lower the contrast of your overall image.

Sometimes, yeah, you might be all about it—lens flares can produce an attractive look that you might want to include in your shot—but when you aren't, you've got a lens hood that can most likely block out the light that you don't want washing out your shot.

Bergman also mentions that he likes to keep his lens hood on at all times, removing it only when necessary. This is because it provides an added layer of protection in case you bang your lens against something. Not a bad idea.     

Your Comment


Well, I feel ashamed I didn't even know what lens hoods are... but I am just a begginer. I will try to get one soon!

February 20, 2018 at 5:05AM, Edited February 20, 5:05AM


Personally I dislike hoods... flare is something that you can avoid by moving a bit, or you can put your hand over your lens like you do with your eyes. And to use a hood to protect your camera from bumping into things seems silly, I think extending your lens two inches is going to cause it to bump into things more then keeping your hand over your glass when moving around.

February 20, 2018 at 10:34PM, Edited February 20, 10:34PM

Roberto Serrini
Director • Editor

Vintage glass tends to flare much more due to less effective anti glare coatings so hoods can be more important.

February 21, 2018 at 7:24PM, Edited February 21, 7:24PM

Julian Richards
Film Warlord

I actually never thought that lens hood is used because cameras with lens hoods looked so much cooler and professional than the ones without them, i had to search about it when i wondered. i think that would be stupid to use something just because it looks cool :D

February 23, 2018 at 1:42AM

Arsh DSJ
Director Editor Producer

Lens hoods are essential if you want good contrast, especially when shooting outside. Same with matte boxes. And with vintage or anamorphic lenses, neither eliminates beautiful lens flares completely, which is good. As to the bump protection, it is not a stupid feature at all - say, when you are shooting a rock concert with people jumping and throwing arms all around... it's great. I prefer using the cheap sturdy universal hoods from Ebay, they are metal and come in all sizes, and you can easily find plastic caps for them.

February 24, 2018 at 10:00AM

Alissa Alexina
Director | DP | Editor | Composer