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Using ND for wedding photography in bright conditions


2 Jul 2009 10:04PM
I was just thinking, when it is really bright, and want to use flash but also an aperture of 1.8 for example. Is it possible to put a ND on the camera to achieve this. Is this a technique that has been around before?
John
mattw 18 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
2 Jul 2009 11:44PM
Well, you could put an ND filter on.... but I don't know why you would want to.

If you are in bright sunshine, and your flash is causing overexposure - then you are using to much flash. Put a diffuser over the flash and use the flash compensation to reduce the power.
3 Jul 2009 12:01AM
it is to use lower apertures.. the other day I wanted to use a low aperture }(distracting background and wanted a slower shutterspeed.. couldI use a ND to slow down the shutter speed therefore being able to use flash with a low aperture? instead of thaving to use a f11 for example?
croberts 17 2.2k 8 Ireland
3 Jul 2009 10:01AM
yes, that's a perfectly plausible technique.

though bear in mind, that your flash will still have to put out enough power to compete with the ambient light.

ie: if your max sync speed is 1/250, and your shooting at iso100, and its a sunny 16 bright day, then for a normal exposure, you'd be shooting at f11.... To underexpose the ambient light, you would shoot at f16 (1 stop under) or f22 (two stops under)

Your flash, then, would be putting out up to f22, so would need to be very powerful, or very close to the subject.

if you wanted to shoot at f1.8, with the ambient light at f11, that would be nearly 6 stops of filter.... if you set your flash to put out f1.8, the flash will be about 6 stops under exposed.

so it will work fine, but needs a powerful flash.
JamesBurns 14 1.3k 7
3 Jul 2009 10:14AM

Quote:Yes, that's a perfectly plausible technique.

though bear in mind, that your flash will still have to put out enough power to compete with the ambient light.

ie: if your max sync speed is 1/250, and your shooting at iso100, and its a sunny 16 bright day, then for a normal exposure, you'd be shooting at f11.... To underexpose the ambient light, you would shoot at f16 (1 stop under) or f22 (two stops under)

Your flash, then, would be putting out up to f22, so would need to be very powerful, or very close to the subject.

if you wanted to shoot at f1.8, with the ambient light at f11, that would be nearly 6 stops of filter.... if you set your flash to put out f1.8, the flash will be about 6 stops under exposed.

so it will work fine, but needs a powerful flash.


LOL Chris... Nothing like blinding people with science...
3 Jul 2009 2:10PM
oh.. bit crap then.. i thought I was being a genius... so..if I wanted a aperture of lets say f4 or something instead of f11 to get a more blur background (using a ND) that controls the ambient light. If I use ETTL for my subject isn't that completly independant. Bit confused??
JamesBurns 14 1.3k 7
3 Jul 2009 2:16PM
Nope.

Because the amount of light entering the lens is reduced regardless of the type. If you have, say, a 4-stop ND on, that reduces 4 stops of ambient and 4 stops of flash.

To look at it from a slightly contrary point of view... It's easier just to move the bride and groom to another location! If the shots are posed, then move them somewhere where the background is less offensive. If the shots aren't posed, then I personally haven't got time to be messing with filters.
croberts 17 2.2k 8 Ireland
3 Jul 2009 3:07PM

Quote:If I use ETTL for my subject isn't that completly independant. Bit confused??


yes, of course, ettl will work it out for you, its just you may not get enough power, or be waiting a while between shots. (due to the amount of flash light needed, to punch through that dark ND filter.
steve_kershaw 17 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2009 3:10PM
If you are just using the flash for fill on portraits, you can push past your max sync speed and still get enough flash coverage, you may get 3/4 of a stop more,

you could use High Speed Sync, if you are close to the subject, though how efective this would be I dont know

you could buy one of the new pocket wizards when they are available in Europe, that will give you an extra stop on normal flash,

some interesting stuff]
steve_kershaw 17 2.3k 4 United Kingdom
3 Jul 2009 3:34PM
on the nd filter

at 1.8 you would be using very little of your flash power for portrait fill work, even with a 3 stop nd filter your flash would be working at f7, not too taxing for a 580,
I think I may give this a go, though the fastest lens I have with a filter to fit is 2.8

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