Best Nd Filter For Outdoor Portraits

By | 31/10/2022

Use a Variable ND Filter for Portraits for Better Results image


Photo by Anastasiya Gepp from Pexels

For equally long as photography has been in existence, photographers have sought better ways to make bully images. Some of the earliest photographs were portraits and portrait photography continues to be 1 of the about popular forms of photography, both casual and serious.

Amidst the better ways institute to achieve improve results in photography is the creative use of filters. When I was first getting serious well-nigh my ain photography, ane of the first things I learned was how to utilize filters for portraits. Recently, I’ve been using an ND filter for portraits.

Table of Contents

  • Lens Filters for Portrait Photography
  • Alter Dynamic Range
  • Block Those Highlights
  • Change Exposure Value
  • Variable ND vs Fixed Value
  • Better Portrait Results


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Lens Filters for Portrait Photography

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Photo by Roman Koval from Pexels

Adding a neutral density or ND filter for portraits may seem similar an odd choice at first glance.

The standard group of filters for B&W film photography all changed contrast up or downwardly. Filters for colour film photography mostly had to deal with correcting the color temperature of the lights for what the film residuum was.

With digital cameras, nosotros tend to either let the camera change white rest automatically or adjust it later in post processing. Same with dissimilarity levels. If you started out in digital photography, none of this talk of filters for film photography volition make much sense.

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Image byMatteo Venturellafrom Pixabay

Suffice to say, we can easily exercise so much in digital photography that requires lots of effort to achieve with celluloid film. Even filter effects such equally soft focus tin can be washed with great control digitally.

So, why look at variable ND filters for portraits with digital cameras? Y’all’ll notice a lot of reasons to use variable ND filters and graduated ND filters for many aspects of your own photography. Let’s wait at two of the biggest reasons to utilise an ND filter for portraits.

One, to modify the dynamic range of the scene in front end of your camera. Two, to change the exposure value (EV) of the scene.

Learn More:

  • Easy Portrait Photography Tips for Beginners
  • How Variable ND Filters Work

Change Dynamic Range

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The dynamic range of a scene refers to the range of the deepest shadow to the brightest highlight. The dynamic range of a camera sensor refers to how much of those lows and highs the sensor is capable of rendering at once.

For calorie-free and nighttime values of a scene that are outside of the range of the sensor, the deepest of the shadows and the brightest of the highlights will have very niggling to no particular recorded.

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Photo past nappy from Pexels

By the way, when recording completely outside of what the sensor is capable of, you won’t exist able to ‘pull out’ any item with post processing. If you recorded no detail, it just isn’t in that location.

Recommended Portrait Lighting Books:

  • Picture Perfect Lighting: An Innovative Lighting System for Photographing People
  • The Dramatic Portrait: The Fine art of Crafting Low-cal and Shadow
  • Portrait Photography: From Snapshots to Keen Shots

Cake Those Highlights



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Photograph by Renato Abati from Pexels

A great style to fix this problem is to block out the brightest highlights thus finer lowering the range of the entire scene. The reason this would work at all is because y’all’re shooting in RAW.

Have you started shooting in RAW yet? There is nothing incorrect with shooting in photographic camera with JPEG, but recording in RAW allows for your photographic camera to record all the item it’due south capable of resolving with any loss from pinch.

In RAW, you have a amend ability to enhance shadow item than to do annihilation with blown out highlights. A variable ND filter, such as theKenko PL Fader Filter, will allow yous to selectively change the dynamic range of a scene to more closely arrange to the range your sensor can handle.

How does this help with portrait photography? You lot have lots of command over lighting and exposure when shooting in studio. When yous’re outside or taking environmental portraits, you won’t take complete control over the light, so you need to control it in order to get adept results.

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Image byVic PadillafromPixabay

As an example, suppose you are taking engagement or anniversary pics outside at a beautiful lakeside resort or pristine beach. The lord’s day reflecting off of the water or the bright sand could exist beyond the range of your camera’s sensor, making the overall image exposure difficult.

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With a variable ND filter like theKenko PL Fader Filter, you can dial downwards the brightness of the entire scene, thus lowering the highlights. If your actual portrait subject area requires a little extra exposure, balance it out with make full flash or a well placed reflector.

Alter Exposure Value

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Photo by Jeff Denlea from Pexels

Why would a lensman desire to modify the EV of a scene? The biggest reason that relates to portrait photography is to be able to employ different f-stops or shutter speeds than the exposure triangle has calculated for your scene.

The exposure triangle is a handy tip for portrait photography since it shows you what discontinuity and shutter speed combinations are available for any given scene EV.

The brightness level of some scenes restricts you from employing selective focus techniques because you don’t accept a broad enough f-stop available. Adding a variable ND filter similar theKenko PL Fader Filterto your lens lets yous dial in density then y’all can y’all can open up up that aperture wide, thus limiting depth of field.

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You could also go for shutter speed changes. Dorsum to that lake or beach scene nosotros imagined earlier, if we want the waves or a waterfall in the background of our portrait to be blurred by water motion, we need a longer shutter speed. Dialing in the correct amount of density volition lower the overall EV of a scene, letting us use slower speeds.

Variable ND vs Fixed Value

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Photograph by Daria Obymaha from Pexels

For the purposes of making surroundings portraits, a variable ND might work out better for you than any of the stock-still value ND filters. Since you are not in accented control of the lighting when outdoors, having that added versatility gives you more options for creativity.

Similar to how a zoom lens gives you a wide range of focal lengths over a fixed focal length prime lens. A high-quality variable ND filter won’t requite yous fits nearly sharpness either. Patently not a perfect comparison, only a variable filter is much more simple than a variable focal length lens.

Here’s one of my favorite variable ND filter tips for new users. Purchase the filter in the size to fit your largest diameter lens and then utilise filter step downwards rings to conform it to your other lenses. Loftier-quality variable ND filters aren’t upkeep breakers, but they are more than expensive than other filters y’all may already have.

Ameliorate Portrait Results

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Paradigm byBessifromPixabay

Once yous kickoff using your variable ND filter for portraits, you will certainly relish the actress freedom of choice it gives you. Freedom to rest the dynamic range of a scene to what your sensor can record. Freedom to utilize dissimilar shutter speeds and f-stops and so you can make utilise of special techniques.

You can use these filters in your studio, besides, but y’all will really enjoy them as you get outdoors and capture beautiful ecology portraits.

Originally posted on Photographytalk.com.

Source: https://kenkoimagingusa.com/blogs/news/use-a-variable-nd-filter-for-portraits-for-better-results