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Pretty straight forward question. What does a lens hood do?

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A lens hood has two purposes - one is to shield the lens elements from stray light - either directly from the sun, from passing cars, from a flash, etc. This stray light can cause lens flare and reduced contrast, so it is best to limit it.

Its also useful for avoiding bumps to your lens or filter. I use mine a lot in the car, because my lens is always very close to the window.

(It can also make that huge telephoto look that much more impressive)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Another advantage when shooting close to a window is that you can press the lens hood up against the glass, and block out any light from the camera side of the window and reduce reflections. \$\endgroup\$
    – Edd
    Jul 22, 2010 at 15:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Impressive-looking telephotos are very important in situations where you have to look like serious photographer, for example if you're trying to get past security into press sections on a show or sports event. \$\endgroup\$
    – che
    Jul 22, 2010 at 16:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ It also helps to keep rain off the front of the lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – vclaw
    Aug 3, 2015 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do I need hood in conical petal form to make product photography in white shooting tent outside when sun is shining? Now same question except that do I still need to have hood on when making same photography indoors with limited lighting source? I have Panasonic G5 with 14-42mm lens kit. \$\endgroup\$
    – Boris_yo
    Oct 10, 2015 at 12:04

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