If you want to become a professional photographer, one thing you must have a neutral density filter. But most of the people don't understand all features and how, where, when to use them to take their photography skills to the next level.
Neutral density filters put emotions in your photography. And there are also certain problems for beginners in how to use them because manufacturers seem to vary in their preferences in making ND filters that confuse photographers. In this article we will talk about ND filters and when you should use it?
What is a Neutral Density filter?
The ND filter is a filter is placed on top of the lens to reduce the amount of light making its way into the camera. Think of the ND filter as sunglasses for your camera that do not change the color of light being captured by the camera and lens-hence the “neutral” nomenclature.
Why do you use ND filters?
Suppose you are taking the picture of a lighthouse, your camera setting could be something like this; ISO 100, SHUTTER speed 1/1000 second, an aperture of f/8.
Picture may look good but there are some distractions in the background due to waves.
We want a smooth and eye-catching view, so we will use a long exposure.
A long exposure records the scene over seconds, stopping our camera from freezing the movement of the water.
We need a shutter speed of 15 (seconds) so we change the shutter speed on our camera. Except now, we have added 14 stops of light into our scene. So it's now just a white, black image.
The ISO is at its lowest, so that won't help, the shutter speed will go from f/8 to f/11,f/11 to f/16,f/16 to f/22. There should be only three stops until we reach a maximum.
So what about the other 11 stops?
Here is where we use of ND filter. We need a 10 stop ND filter because we can't get precisely 11 stops: we will need to deal with extra stop using editor software, and will be able to create a proper exposure.
Some uses of neutral density filters:
In waterfall photography:
Neutral density filters are usually used by photographers to slow down waterfall or blur backgrounds. So if you want to take a picture of smooth and silky water you have to use slow shutter speed. If you are capturing in early in the morning when light tends to become faint, there would be no problem using your lens without a filter.
But when the intensity of light is too much and there is a risk of overexposing, you should use ND filters.
The same goes for taking portrait pictures. There are times when you will want to draw more attention to your subject by blurring out the background. To do that, you need to use a wide aperture. If your camera does not allow you to use a wide aperture
If your camera does not allow you to use a super-fast shutter speed (like 1/1000s) to block out some extra light, you will end up with an image that is too bright.
The neutral density filter blocks out the light from all wavelengths, giving you a darker picture overall.
Why do you need neutral density filters?
Neutral density filters are a must-have for anyone. They are great because they let you have your cake and eat it too. You get rich and colorful skies without making the ground look too dark. I would recommend them to anyone interested in getting better at landscape photography.