Shall we use Neutral Density Filters

Now, you may be thinking: What is this about? What are Neutral Density (ND) filters?

The question I’m actually going to discuss here is:

” Shall I use ND filters (Gradual ND in this case especially), or shall I do that in post-processing (in Photoshop or Lightroom)?

Great question, but let’s start with what Neutral Density filters are:

A good explanation on what the Gradual ND filter is would be looking at the front windscreen in a car. That’s what the Gradual ND filter is. At the top of the windscreen there is a shading that fades out going down the windscreen. That’s exactly what the filter looks like. The reason behind this is to block some of the strong sunlight coming into the car onto the driver (especially from the top of the windscreen where the sunlights are the strongest).

The Graduated filter works in the same way, blocking some light to pass through it onto the camera sensor in some areas of the image. They’re very often used by landscape photographers to darken the sky without darkening the rest of the image. Some will say here that the effect could be easily achieved in Lightroom or Photoshop. There are a few buts, however:

  • you can apply the filter at the time of the shooting and you can see the effect straight away
  • it only takes a few seconds to hold the filter in front of the lens (if you don”t have the holder), in post-processing it takes time (much longer usually)

It is true that if you create the effect in post-processing, you have a lot of control, you can adjust the effect to your liking, which may be an advantage. I don’t know. Judge it for yourself.

Let me know what you think.

Enjoy! 🙂

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