Filters, Filters, Filters

Air conditioning filters with air flow being shown

No, I haven’t suddenly switched this blog from computing posts to air conditioning information. While the picture above shows airflow through a series of air conditioner filters, we’re going to look at a different kind of filter. This filter IS computing related.

Filter Definition

In my post from October 8, 2020 (Crop Away), I talked about cropping pictures. I gave examples and explained why you might want to crop a photo and then how to do so. In this post, we’re going to look at photo filters. Basically, just about all photo apps have them. What are filters? has an excellent definition: “A software routine that changes the appearance of an image or part of an image by altering the shades and colors of the pixels in some manner.”

Examples of Photo Filters

Let’s look at some examples and maybe we’ll get a hint as to why we might want to use a filter.



The original









You can scroll through the photo gallery above – five photos of Gus – and if you look at the center bottom area, you’ll see numbering – 1 through 5. We’ll talk about each picture and I’ll identify them by number.

Photo #1

The first photo in the gallery above is the original photo. It’s untouched (except for cropping) from how the camera snapped the image. One negative aspect of shooting Gus’ picture is that he has a very dark face. Capturing his eyes is not always easy, as you can see.

Photos #2 and #5

With the filters I used in photos #2 and #5, we do get to see that Gus has eyes. However, as you can see, the filter changes the look of the rest of the photo, too. If you were going to go with one of these filters, you’d have to choose the one that makes the rest of the photo look good to you.

Photo #3

What a filter does in photo #3 is pretty evident. It simply turns a color photo into its black and white version. Oddly, b&w photos can really stand out in today’s color-intense world. Thus, this becomes a very useful filter.

Photo #4

In photo #4, the filter applied adds a bit of blue to the overall picture. Although it’s not a lot different from the original, it does seem to add brightness to the blue in the sky behind Gus.

Filter Names

You might wonder if there are universal names for filters. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Oh, there are exceptions. For instance, the filter named “sepia” is called that in pretty much all photo editing programs. But, even black and white filters don’t have the same names. You’ll find charcoal, ebony, denim, noir, mono, and lots more. All of these are black and white filters but with different names.

Where Do You Get Photo Filters

When it comes to getting filters, many programs have filters built in. Also, some programs, like Adobe Photoshop, allow the installation of plug-in filters from creators outside of Adobe. Do you have a smartphone or tablet? If so, there are filters built into the photo apps on these devices. While the number of filters is limited, they at least give you some options. For other programs, as I mentioned, you can often purchase filters to work with the program.

Learning To Use Filters

Now that I’ve told you about filters, you might be wondering where you can get some training in their use. Here is a list of places you might get educated:

  • The Help menu available in the photo program you are using.
  • YouTube videos – Search “using photo filters” without quotation marks.
  • Canva Training which you’ll find HERE.
  • LinkedIn “Photoshop: Filters for Photography” found HERE. (Not free.)

In Summary

There are so many things you can do with photos and filters. But, keep this in mind – how a photo looks is subjective. You may love a certain effect while others hate it. This is important depending on your audience.