ND filter for street shooting?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,267
Re: ND filter for street shooting?

BrownBandit wrote:

"Slap on a 3 stop ND filter for great street photography"

I'm guessing that an ND filter will lower my aperture allowing for better bokeh?

What advantages should I expect to see with daytime shooting with a 3x on my 35mm? And will it cause more blur?

A ND filter reduces the amount of light coming into the camera. Useful (in the old film days) if you had fast film and didn't have a very fast shutter speed, or if you wanted to use a larger aperture (shallower depth of field, which is what I think you mean by bokeh) or a slower shutter speed. But I don't know that it would necessarily make your street photos great.

My suggestion: Learn the basics of aperture and shutter speed and their effect on photos. Once you have that down (and it's easy). you'll better understand the effects of reducing the amount of light coming into the camera.

The other day I did a photoshoot with my GF. I was using the 16mm F1.4 and I assumed I wanted as much bokeh as I could get (inside portraiture). I set the aperture manually to F.14 and it was a huge fail.

Okay, first -- bokeh is the quality of the blur, not the blur itself. What you are talking about is depth of field -- how much of the photo is in focus. Think of it as a range -- everything from 1 to 3 feet away from the lens (numbers picked at random) will be in focus. Everything closer than 1 foot or farther away than 3 feet will be out of focus. That is (more or less) depth of field.

The larger the aperture (lens opening -- that's the f/number you set, smaller number = bigger aperture) the narrower the DOF. The smaller the aperture the wider the DOF. Everything is in focus though a pinhole (tiny aperture). DOF also increases as you get farther away from the camera, and with smaller lens focal lengths.

Here's what I suggest: Pick up a book called Photography by Barbara London and John Upton . The latest version is mega expensive but get the 9th edition used adn you can get it for $5-20. Older editions are film-focused but the principles are the same and they do a GREAT job explaining DOF, aperture, shutter speed, etc.

A full 75% of my photos were blurry. I had everything else set to auto. Is it possible that by not setting the aperture to A that caused the blur? It wasn't camera shake or model movement.

If you were indoors and using A to force a certain aperture, the camera was probably selecting slow shutter speeds that made the photos blurry. Indoor is very low light and you need to either hold the camera carefully or use a tripod.

Again I can't recommend a good book strongly enough -- it'll cover these basics.

Anyway, my inexperience makes me wonder if an ND filter would only increase the issues.

An ND filter will make your indoor photography even more miserable.

Again, learn the basics of exposure (shuter speed, aperture, and how they interrelate) and you'll be golden and well on the road to getting the photos you want.

Welcome to the great adventure!

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