Digital Photography Tip Number 21....Use A Lens Hood Shade If Possible
Tip #21) Use A Lens Hood/Shade If Possible.... Lens hoods/shades are designed to prevent unwanted light or side glare, from entering the lens by extending and shading the end of the lens. This helps prevent lens flare, which are the circles of light that you see in your photos, when you have a strong light source a little bit outside the photo frame.
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This lens flare occurs when the side light passes through the front of the lens, but doesn't hit the image sensor. A lens hood also helps to protect the lens ring and glass from accidents, like scraping it on the pavement or against a building. A hood will also help to keep rain and snow off your lens glass, which would show up in photos if left on the glass.
You can buy universal lens hoods for lenses that don't come supplied with one when purchased. The more expensive lenses, usually come supplied with their own dedicated lens hood, which are designed to match the specific focal length of the lens it was designed for, ensuring that you will have no problems with vignetting, or the hood interfering with the image area.
So don't forget to use that lens hood, it is very useful to keep stray light out, and to protect your lens from impacts and rain/snow, and a lens hoods also makes your camera outfit look more impressive to others.