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Author Topic : Neutral density graduated filters 
Brian2007

Thread Starter / Photographer
City: High Wycombe
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jan 20, 2007
Posts: 35
Views : 1980  Jan 13, 2013 2:51pm

Hi all
I like some advice please on using ND graduated filters with portraits on location!

Are any off you using ND graduated filters on location when your shooting portraits or are you using A polarising filter?

What ND graduated filters do you use hard ND graduated filters or soft ND graduated filters?

Also which is best if your shooting in woods or woods in the background and city’s the hard ND graduated filters or soft ND graduated?

I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks
Brian


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Petesky

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City: Portsmouth
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Member Since: Dec 30, 2009
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I wouldn't have thought that using ND Grad filters would be useful at all (hard or soft) for shooting a portrait outdoors. Yes the background might look lovely but the model would be darkened at the top too.Unless the model was only in the bottom half of the photo.

I would go for a polarising filter to darken the sky. The model shouldn't be affected then.

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Brian2007

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City: High Wycombe
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Thank you Petesky that a great help!:-)

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 Ace



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Unless you are shooting film or don't use and editing program I can't see why you want to use them when you can use a graduated filter in Photoshop and put the fade where you want and at what strength you need.

There is probably a point I'm missing...



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First_Studios

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quoting post from  Ace:

Unless you are shooting film or don't use and editing program I can't see why you want to use them when you can use a graduated filter in Photoshop and put the fade where you want and at what strength you need.

There is probably a point I'm missing...



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The point is usually to bring both a bright sky and a dark foreground within an acceptable exposure range. Them may need further tweaking, but the aim is to retain detail in the brightest and darkest part of the frame. The difficulty with a model is that they will most likely have uniform lighting so the graduated ND may have an undesirable effect on them.



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 Ace



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quoting post from First_Studios:

The point is usually to bring both a bright sky and a dark foreground within an acceptable exposure range. Them may need further tweaking, but the aim is to retain detail in the brightest and darkest part of the frame. The difficulty with a model is that they will most likely have uniform lighting so the graduated ND may have an undesirable effect on them.



Exactly, so why not use curves and a mask in Photoshop which will sort the background and leave the model alone?



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First_Studios

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quoting post from  Ace:

Exactly, so why not use curves and a mask in Photoshop which will sort the background and leave the model alone?



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If you expose for the foreground, the sky may have been one or two stops over exposed, details in the sky / clouds is lost. If you expose for the sky, then large parts of the foreground may go to black with no detail. The Graduated ND may drop the sky 2, 4 or even 6 stops, bringing the whole scene within the dynamic range of the camera so there is detail in the sky and the dark foreground.


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 Ace



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quoting post from First_Studios:

If you expose for the foreground, the sky may have been one or two stops over exposed, details in the sky / clouds is lost. If you expose for the sky, then large parts of the foreground may go to black with no detail. The Graduated ND may drop the sky 2, 4 or even 6 stops, bringing the whole scene within the dynamic range of the camera so there is detail in the sky and the dark foreground.


Thanks for your answers, I'm up to speed on NDs and I am sorry I haven't made my point very well. I don't know how to make it more clearly.



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 Razoir



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IF I have understood, nothing new if I haven't, what First Studios is saying (or should be if he ain't!) is that using a ND will bring the different elements of the picture close enough together for no loss of detail. Sure, in curves you can alter the relative areas of exposure differently but if the tonal range was outside the capabilities of the sensor, you can not bring back the detail that has not been recorded or has been blocked out of existence.

I completely agree that a Grad ND is the wrong beast for portraits, though. As the effect of the filter will be applied to the model's face as well as the background.

How about trying some modest HDR? You will have to nail your model to a tree to keep her still.

Huge Hairy Jeremy

Website: www.photoartimages.org

Remember, Trolls' brains are silica based and only function properly at temperatures lower than minus 72 degrees Kevin.

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 Ace



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Thank you Razoir, I was setting it up for him to knock it in...but he did'nt

Thanks for obliging



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 Razoir



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City: Crediton
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quoting post from  Ace:

Thank you Razoir, I was setting it up for him to knock it in...but he did'nt

Thanks for obliging



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Hey Baby, wazzup?!

In another place I resurrected your idea ref. photographers bunging slap on der mdls.

Got a few interested geezers.
Dyer fancy opening it up again?

Huge Hairy Jeremy

Website: www.photoartimages.org

Remember, Trolls' brains are silica based and only function properly at temperatures lower than minus 72 degrees Kevin.

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Rupie

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City: Evesham
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Member Since: Mar 4, 2009
Posts: 20

There is nothing wrong with using graduated filters still. Get it right in the camera, before you leave the location. If the image taken contains areas where detail has been lost, due to initial exposure, then no amount of post production work will bring it back. Whether it be in the blacks or whites.

Be careful not to put important items in an area where you may need to adjust the exposure. As for Polarizer filters, they work best with things that detract light like water, cloud and mist. It does not suit all occasions

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