To which I reply of course you should. Lens hoods are cheap plastic add-ons, often included in the cost of a lens. They provide a twofold benefit: Firstly a lens hood is a really effective lens element protector. I have tripped and fallen forward a couple of times and the lens hood took the brunt of the fall saving me from an expensive lens repair. It's happened to countless numbers of my students too. One example I remember where a student set up their tripod and then walked away to look at something. One leg on the tripod was not properly locked off so the rig collapsed and the lens went smack into the concrete floor - the lens hood was ruined but the lens itself was unharmed. Without the hood this would have been a very expensive repair!
Secondly, a lens hood shades the glass from extraneous light entering the lens and causing flare, image softness and poor quality - as you can see from the two shots here, the shaded version also appears darker and clearer.
|Straight shot, no lens hood, no editing.|
|With lens hood, no editing.|
Singing boatman in Yanagawa, a coastal town in Kyushu, Japan