Long exposure is only suitable for night scene shooting? No! In fact, when shooting images in daylight, photographers can also use exposure for seconds or even minutes. The “secret” is to use ND reduction filters.

Photo by lrargerich 

Slow Shutter in Daylight

When shooting night scenes, due to limited light, photographers shoot with slow shutter speeds, so that the image has sufficient exposure. At the same time, this also allows photographers to capture some effects that aren’t invisible to the naked eye, such as the light trails left by traffic.

In fact, shooting with a slow shutter in daylight is nothing new. Water shooting is one of the must-have topics for new photographers. However, due to sufficient daylight, even if the photographer uses extremely small aperture values ​​(such as f/22 or f/32) with the camera’s lowest sensitivity (such as ISO 100), the shutter value provided by the camera may still be only 1/2 seconds or 1 seconds, it is difficult to capture the beach into a “illusion”. So how do photographers shoot images with super slow shutters in daylight? The answer is simple, all you need is the ND Neutral Density Filter.

Photo by Alaskan Dude

Type of ND Reduction Filter

Photo by alexbrn

The most commonly used ND reduction filters by photographers are ND4, ND8, and ND400 models. Their numbers represent the degree of dimming. The larger the number, the higher the dimming ability. Photographers can purchase as needed. From the number we can estimate the degree of dimming to the filter.

  • ND4- Under the same aperture and sensitivity setting, the EV value can be reduced by 2 steps (2 2 = 4), and the 1/2 second shutter can be changed to 2 second shutter.
  • ND8- Under the same aperture and sensitivity setting, the EV value can be reduced by 3 steps (2 3 = 8), and the 1/2 second shutter can be changed to 4 second shutter.
  • ND400- Under the same aperture and sensitivity setting, it can reduce the EV value by about 9 steps (2 9 ≈400), and the 1/2 second shutter can be changed to about 256 seconds, which is up to 4 minutes!

Easy Shooting Settings

Shooting an image with an ultra-slow shutter is actually very simple. Photographers only need to cover the lens with an ND reduction filter to shoot.

  • Aperture Priority Mode- Set the desired aperture value (to control the depth of field), and the camera will calculate the corresponding shutter value to shoot the image.
  • Shutter Priority Mode- Set the required exposure time and let the camera automatically adjust the appropriate aperture value.
  • Fine-tuning the image exposure- photographers can test-shoot the image first, then check the image exposure, and fine-tune the image exposure with the exposure compensation function.
  • Pay attention to the exposure time- the basic exposure time of some cameras is only up to 30 seconds. For longer exposure times, photographers must use B shutter (Bulb) exposure.

Live View is Convenient

Because the ND reduction filter reduces the light entering the lens, the photographer may be affected by the composition of the viewfinder through the optical viewfinder. At this time, the camera’s Live View function can be used for framing and composition.

Cloudy Shooting is more Suitable

The light scattered in the cloudy sky is softer and the contrast of the scene is lower, so the photographer can easily grasp the exposure of the image.

Emphasize Dynamic and Static Contrast

Everything is relative, there is no “quietness”, how to highlight “movement”? Photographers remember to enhance the contagiousness of the image through dynamic and static contrast when shooting. For example, when shooting flowing water, you might as well photograph the stones. The stones form a strong dynamic and static contrast with the water, which looks much more interesting.

Photo by digitalpimp 

Pat water, Pat clouds, Pat the crowd

Do you think the slow shutter shooting is boring? It’s better to try to shoot floating clouds, and the clouds may flow quickly on the eve of the storm. At this time, you can shoot with a slow shutter, or you can have a chance to take a shocking picture of the changing clouds. Of course, the photographer should pay attention to the safety of people and equipment. In addition, the crowd in the city is also a very good subject matter. It is as simple as a parade. If the photographer finds an ideal place and captures the flow of people. Its shocking power is no less For other landscape works shot with shutters, they can even become brilliant news photography!

Photo by Jon Starkie

Other equipment needs to know

  • Filter size- If the photographer has multiple lenses with different lens diameters, you may wish to purchase a larger filter and apply it to a lens with a smaller lens through an adapter ring, because the adapter ring is cheaper than the filter .
  • Variable ND Filter- There are many types of adjustable ND filters on the market. By rotating the filters, you can achieve different levels of dimmer, but the price is more expensive.
  • Tripod- Slow shutter shooting, a stable tripod must be used to fix the camera. If necessary, photographers can hang the camera bag on the tripod’s hook and add a “pound” to stabilize the tripod.
  • Shutter release/remote control- Use the release button or remote control to avoid camera shake when the shutter is pressed. In addition, if the exposure time needs to exceed 30 seconds, the photographer must use the shutter cable or remote control to control the exposure time of the B shutter.

Special effects of ND Light Reduction Filters

The ND reduction filter allows photographers to use a larger aperture value and shoot images at a slower shutter speed, allowing photographers to have greater flexibility in depth of field control when shooting under intense sunlight (especially when shooting is more demanding Shallow depth of field portraits), can also avoid when shooting with slow shutter, the extremely small aperture will cause light diffraction, and ultimately affect the image quality, so the ND reduction filter is actually very useful!


Author: Garyon