You’ll often hear photographers talk about the filters they like to use on their camera lenses. Filters can range from UV haze filters to Neutral Density filters and the most common, the “Circular Polarizer” or “Polarizer” filter. Each has their own distinct purpose to alter the look and feel of an image.

Today, we’re going to cover a Polarizing filter in a pinch for your cell phone camera.

What does a polarizing filter do?

The first question you might want to ask, is when should I use or when do I need a Polarizing filter? Here’s a great explanation from

“Visible light travels as transverse waves. On earth, light comes at us from every direction: reflected, refracted, and diffused. A polarizing filter is a screen that allows only the direct or parallel transverse waves through, while blocking all other light “noise.” This screen restricts the clutter of atmospheric junk that muddles an image. The photographic result of capturing direct light waves is includes clarity, enhanced saturation, and truer tonal response. A polarized image makes for a clearer picture without atmospheric interference, glare or reflective highlights. That makes it great for landscape photography — not so much for faces and hands.”

What this means is if you like to shoot landscapes with your cell phone, then you may want to consider a polarizing filter. Certainly you can purchase a polarizing filter for your camera phone, there are may options for virtually every phone. By in large, they do a pretty good job.

But if you don’t want to buy another piece of gear or don’t want to carry another piece of gear around, I have a simple solution for you.

What if I don’t have a polarizing filter for my camera phone? You probably do, and don’t even know it!

Fortunately, almost all of us have a polarizing filter on us at all times and don’t even realize it. Consider your solar protection. Take a look at your sunglasses. Yes, your sunglasses. The overwhelming majority of sunglasses (and prescription lenses) sold in the US today contain polarized lenses.

In a pinch, you can simply put the lens of your sunglasses over the lens of your camera and viola! Polarizer in a pinch!

Almost everyone has a pair of sunglasses, and almost all sunglasses are polarized. Cover your camera’s lens with your sunglasses and viola!

Check out some before and afters

I know most will be skeptical and will prefer to go and just buy a lens for your camera phone. However, I can almost assure you, once you go this route, it’s likely you won’t feel the need. Take a look at some of these examples.

Now it’s your turn

Grab your sunglasses, er, I mean, polarizing filter, put it over your cell phone’s camera lens and see what you get! Comment down below and share your experiences!