In the world of Long Exposure Photography, ND Filter a.k.a Neutral Density filter is pretty popular.
If you have no idea what filter means in photography, it’s usually a transparent cap mounted in the lens which then filters the light passing through it according to the filter’s nature.
Before reading it, it’s better to know what an ND filter is. Here’s an article for you.
Now let’s get into the topic.
Instead of making it a long rant, I have distributed the importance of using ND filter in the world of photography and especially in long exposure photography.
To compensate with shutter speed
So, imagine a photography session in broad daylight.
A shutter speed of around, let’s say 1/200 will give you perfect exposure.
But, in the same light condition if you try to shoot long exposure by slowing down the shutter speed upto let’s say 2 seconds, your photo is surely going to overexpose by a big margin.
So, to compensate with that, ND filter is used.
If you use ND filter with slower shutter speed, the image is still not going to overexpose as ND filter is filtering the portion of light passing through it.
Again, read this full guide to know everything about ND filter.
To get shallow Depth-of-Field
Now, this is another major reason why ND filter is preferred by photographers.
We’re not talking about Long Exposure photography right now, though it can help in long exposure photography too.
Bigger aperture means bigger hole in a lens and hence more light hitting the sensor.
At night time, this is a benefit but in daytime or anytime where there is already enough light, bigger aperture can end up an overexposed image.
So, to compensate with bigger aperture for more blur, ND filter is used.
ND filter filters away a portion of light allowing photographer to use wider or bigger aperture.
To improve flash photography
Using flash is not everybody’s favorite piece of cake.
Especially for long exposure photographers, flash is almost useless in most cases.
But, if you’re someone who uses flash alot like event photographer, photo journalist, using ND Filter can change the way you work.
While using a flash, your camera’s shutter speed is often limited to a certain speed.
And to change the exposure value, you’ve to either compensate your ISO or the aperture.
But, using ND filter will allow you to use wider Aperture and lower ISO.
The working principle remains the same. ND blocks extra portion of light so that you have more room to play around with aperture and ISO.
So, to conclude, it doesn’t matter if you’re a long exposure photographer, event photographer, photo journalist or a general photographer, ND filter is something that is one of the must-have goodies in your camera bag.
If used corrctly, it is not har to get these types of results!
As a bonus, here are some recommendations for some affordable and reliable ND filters in the market.
K&F Concept 58MM Fixed Neutral Density Lens Filter
Freewell 82mm Threaded Hard Stop Variable ND Filter Standard Day 2 to 5 Stop