ND filter photography: master custom filter densities

ND filter photography: master custom filter densities
(Image credit: Peter Fenech)

There are a huge variety of photographic filters available, each providing characteristic effects for virtually any situation. However, despite this choice, the most popular types are available in stepped densities that, while capturing for common exposure conditions, may not provide the exact level of filtration required by the photographer. 

For example, Neutral Density (ND) filters most often come in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-stop strengths, providing 50%, 25%, 12.5% and 6.25% light transmittance respectively. On occasion you may find that one filter is not strong enough, but the next density is too much for your scene. Perhaps a 0.9ND doesn’t give a long enough exposure, but a 10-stop model is undesirable. 

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Peter Fenech

As the Editor for  Digital Photographer magazine, Peter is a specialist in camera tutorials and creative projects to help you get the most out of your camera, lens, tripod, filters, gimbal, lighting and other imaging equipment.

After cutting his teeth working in retail for camera specialists like Jessops, he has spent 11 years as a photography journalist and freelance writer – and he is a Getty Images-registered photographer, to boot.

No matter what you want to shoot, Peter can help you sharpen your skills and elevate your ability, whether it’s taking portraits, capturing landscapes, shooting architecture, creating macro and still life, photographing action… he can help you learn and improve.