Flash photography and using an ND filter

Started May 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 12,695
Re: Flash photography and using an ND filter

The only reasons I can see for using a ND filter with flash are:

Outdoors and sometimes indoors the ND filter is used to reduce the ambient light exposure.  If you do this you would want to figure out what lighting ratio you need at the desired aperture and then figure out what ND filter you would need to achieve the appropriate ambient light level and how much flash power is needed to achieve the ratio.

Indoors the power of the studio strobe can't be reduced enough to allow the use of wide apertures for a narrow depth-of-field.  Place extra layers of diffusion material on the front of the diffuser to reduce the light output instead of adding a ND filter.  Of course this presumes you are using softboxes or umbrellas with black backings so stray light isn't a big problem.

Note that focusing with strong ND filters can be a problem.  In this case you need to lock the focus before adding the ND filter.  Since adding a filter can slightly shift the focus you should use a wide enough depth-of-field to prevent the subject from going out of focus.

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