Useful Photography Tip #89: Use a Variable ND Filter To Fake The Look of a Faster Shutter Speed When Using Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Stephs first edits (17 of 18)ISO 160

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Many of the world’s strobists tend to use manual flashes for affordability reasons and the fact that manual control is often better than full auto TTL. But one of the big problems with standard strobes is that you often can’t shoot at a higher shutter speed than what the light or the camera are rated for. In effect, this means that sometimes you can’t overpower the sun or ambient lighting.

The solution is a Variable ND filter. These filters mount onto the front end of your lens and when you give them a twist, they either cut out more light or let more of it in. To get rid of some of the ambient lighting, you’ll need to cut down the overall light. The thing that you’ll need to remember though is that doing this also cuts down the flash output. So you’ll need to conversely crank up the flash output or open your aperture up to let might strobe lighting in.