Pros & Cons of Using Lens Hoods For Music Photography

Q&ALens hoods and concert photography. We take a look a the pros and cons of using that extra plastic to shield lenses from stray light, beer, and sweat.


Do you use lens hoods when you shoot concerts? I've heard conflicting advice on that. What is your opinion?


Hi Sara,

Thanks for the question. I almost always use lens hoods when I shoot concerts, though for larger f/2.8 zooms, the size of their detachable hoods can certainly be prohibitive.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the pros and cons of using lens hoods:


  • As their main raison d'être, lens hoods help minimize stray light entering the front element, reducing instances of flare.
  • Lens hoods may help protect your gear from bumps and shocks that might otherwise be transferred more directly to the lens or camera.
  • In addition to errant light, lens hoods can protect against flying spit, sweat, and other particles you don't want sticking to the front elements of your lenses.


  • By the very same token that they help buffer shock, lens hoods increase the footprint of your lens, which may make them more prone to getting knocked in the first place.
  • The added length of a lens hood may cause your 70-200mm f/2.8 to scare small children.
  • In the instances when lens hoods aren't attached correctly, they can produce vignetting.
  • Attaching and disassembling the hoods may mean lost time in the pit.

To the last point about attaching the hoods, the simple solution for me is to keep the hoods in shooting position throughout a shoot, even when they are not in use.

For me, the pros outweigh the cons by a good margin, with the most notable reason being reduction of flare. With designs with large front elements like the 70-200mm f/2.8 that are highly prone to flare, I don't think twice about twisting on the hood.

It's worth noting that for those shooting without “protective” filters, a lens hood is an even more important step against keeping junk off your glass.

Love lens hoods? Never use them? Have your say.