Modern DSLRs are amazing at giving a shallow depth of field in lower light situations. The high ISO ranges you can reach let you shoot gorgeous images because the large sensors can pick up light even when there’s not much around. You can open up the aperture and achieve images that makes the subject stand out of the background, giving a very professional and artistic feel. But in bright light this doesn’t work so well. The wide-open aperture lets in so much light that things can look over exposed and burnt out. This is fine in certain creative situations, but it’s unlikely that you’ll want that effect all the time.
The most obvious solution is to narrow the aperture, but if you want that shallow depth of field this is no good. You can alter the shutter speed or ISO, but this can produce unwanted results or lead to other areas of the image becoming underexposed.
- Using ND (Neutral Density) filters allows you to shoot in bright light without having to narrow the aperture or adjust other settings. These are "grey" filters that are designed to reduce the entire spectrum of light entering the camera so that the image is darkened, but no colour is changed.
- ND filters are available in a variety of strengths. Each one effectively reduces the f-stop by a certain amount while letting you retain the desired aperture size.
- There are a variety of types of ND filter, some of which are designed for specific creative effects. The best types for everyday use are either a range of standard filters or a variable filter. With the standard filters you can add and remove different densities until you achieve the exposure you need. Variable filters can be rotated to adjust the amount of light they block. A camera specialist will be able to show you exactly which type and brand best fit your requirements.
Now you can take dazzling photos without being blinded by the light.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.