Last Updated on July 13, 2020
In photography, playing with light trails or creating light paintings always has a certain appeal to it. To this day, it remains to be one of the most popular subjects to master in Photography. Besides that, capturing stunning light photographs is such a fun experience.
When photographers practice light photography, they often need to go through a lot of effort to achieve perfection. It needs long-expose settings, shot at night or dark locations, and should have the proper gear. However, getting the perfect light painting photos can still be achieved even under daylight.
What is an ND Filter and what does it do?
Achieving perfect light painting photos in broad daylight is possible by using ND filter. But what is it and what does it do? This piece dives deeper into the basics of ND filters and how to take advantage of it to get the perfect shot.
ND filter, short for natural density filter is a type of camera accessory that reduces the intensity of colors and wavelengths of light. It does not change the photo’s hue or color rendition but equally modifies the amount of light entering the lens.
Using the filter allows photographers to have more control over the camera’s settings such as aperture, sensor sensitivity, or exposure time and reducing the chances of overexposure in their photos. Being able to do this with the filter makes it a perfect accessory to creating great light-painting photos.
ND filters do not only serve the purpose of capturing great light-painting photographs. It is also a good tool for capturing motion blur photos like taking pictures of waterfalls or sports events.
Shooting with an ND Filter
Light painting still requires a good amount of work but it’s definitely achievable. You will need to have your camera, your ND filter, and a light-painting tube light or an LED bulb to make the magic happen. It’s very important to achieve a balance between three things: ambient light, your camera settings, and the brightness of one’s bulb or tube.
When it comes to setting your camera, perfecting light-painting photos comes with a special mix of camera settings. Besides attaching your ND filter, you still need to configure your camera for it to fit your environment and purpose. Before anything else, always shoot in RAW format whenever it’s possible. It is still the best way to achieve great outputs in the end.
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Choosing the ideal white balance preset also helps add more pop to your light-painting photo. Usually, photographers choose “tungsten” or “incandescent” preset as it provides the perfect balance of colors on your photograph.
Your ISO and aperture should match your surroundings. If you’re creating a light-painting photo under a broad daylight, try not to let a lot of light in and set your shutter speed real low for you to really capture the light.
Finally, always turn on your camera’s stabilization feature and always trust the power of your tripod because it’s very important to really keep yourself and your camera steady in order to get that perfect shot in the end!