Masks for Photographers
Many photographers have to interact with other people to do their job, so which mask is best for photographers? Most photographer will want a mask the does not push air out of the edges of the mask. The air coming from your lungs is hot and hot air tends to rise. This often leads to your viewfinder fogging up and you being uncomfortable.
Which Mask Do We Prefer?
Simply put, the best mask that I have found is the Vogmask. Thanks to 2 exhale valves the mask does not overheat my face and my viewfinder stays clear. These mask filter 95% of the particles and are reusable. I am very happy with the fit and size of the Vogmask as well.
Mask We Have Personally Tried
- 3M N95 Mask
- Surgical Mask
- Neck Gaiters
- Amazon Junk
3M N95 Mask
We were fortunate to have a large stash of these as Julie is a woodworker and is often working away in her shop. While she has good air filter, dust is still everywhere, and pre COVID these masks were cheap and the gold standard.
These are what health care workers wear and trust, so I would do the same. They are hard to find at the time of writing this, and I would just assume leave these for medical professionals. This brings me to my next point. You will look like a medical professional to some people, which may trigger certain emotions or feelings that will prevent you from getting the shot you desire.
As stated above, these are the best mask I have tried for photography. Vogmask provides technical specifications here if you are interested in their efficiency, which should be on par with an N95.
They offer a few different models and many different colors. There is an extensive range of patterns, which is great for picking one that fits you and your personality. They also have solid colors for formal events like weddings. I would skip the black version if you are working outdoors. It tends to get hotter in my experience.
The fit just works; they have four different sizes, and these mask accommodate beards, which is a massive plus for me. The material is soft and is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, I have not noticed any rubbing issues. You can order these on their site or Amazon.
If you are working outdoors in the heat or you have major fogging issues such as myself, look at the organic model. It is not because of the organic cotton, but the dual exhalation valves, which “facilitate the exit of moisture and CO2 from the mask’s interior.”
Surgical & Dust Mask
These are my least favorite. You certainly look like a medical professional or maybe a mad scientist. While looks are not everything, you want people to be comfortable in front of the camera. Secondly, these masks seem to channel the hot air you are breathing up, so it ends up in your viewfinder if your camera is pressed against your face. They are cheap and disposable, so there is that.
I have been wearing these for years, by far my favorite would be the Outdoor Research models. The cooling neck gaiter called Active Ice actually works and keeps you cooler than wearing no maks/gaiter and provides sun protection. I would not want to speculate on these masks’ level of protection, but they do seem thicker than a surgical mask. What I really love about these is the ease of use, you can slide them up or down as need and rarely does it look like your typical mask.
Like Surgical mask, these have some of the same issues with fogging up the viewfinder in my case, you can easily pull down the nose to prevent this, but then you have lost what protection it was providing. Another problem with these is there tend to be gaps in the coverage as they don’t fit around your face like a mask.
Other masks I have tried so far have been junk, that said when looking forward to trying some others and will update this post as I use them. If you are a photographer and have a mask that works really well please reach out to me and let me know!
During my research to find my model or neck gaiter I noticed OR has a mask available with replaceable N95 filters that I want to try. I have always been happy with their products, but I am concerned as it does not have an exhale valve. If it does not work, maybe this will be my go-to hiking mask as I need one of those if I encounter people.