If you want to achieve some interesting, dramatic effects in your images without doing it on a software editing program, you should consider using filters. Real filters often give you a look and feel that can’t be matched by a computer program.
One of the most valuable filters is the polarizer as it can produce see-through waters and vivid skies. If you’re going to use auto focus, then a circular polarizer is the best as it won’t interfere with the auto focus system.
Light that’s reflected from most surfaces, other than metal, is absorbed and this produces a darkening effect on the sky as well as a see-through effect on water and glass.
Gradient filters are popular for creative photography. You can get them in a variety of colors and you can stack them. The filters can be used with the color up in the filter holder and the down. You can produce warm grounds and vivid skies by using a dark to medium blue and keep the color up when it’s in the holder.
The ground can be produced with a brown filter with the color down. A center spot filter can be used to produce a special effect that radiates outwards from the centre.
You can also create special effects in your photos by using things such as colored Vaseline, pre-cut frames, zoom effects, and coloring-in plastic wrapping paper with a magic marker or felt pen.
You can create optical effects by distorting plastic or glass produce repeated and/or multiple elements in the images.
The experimenting you can do with filters and home-made devices in photography is basically endless. It’s a good idea to write down what type of filter or device you used when experimenting with your photos so you’ll know how to recreate the effect again.