ND Filters Let You Shoot Photos You Can't Capture Without Them: Here's How (VIDEO)

Earlier this week we presented an overview of the most popular lens filters, explaining the basics of how they work to improve the appearance of photos you shoot outdoors. Today we're taking a look at one category of these affordable accessories; namely, the Neutral Density (ND) filters that are so popular among landscape photographers.

This tutorial come from the AI Photo Guy YouTube channel, but there's no artificial intelligence involved in today's episode. Rather, it's a quick discussion of the different types of ND filters, and why every outdoor photographer should have at least one in their bag. The unnamed instructor refers to the ND filter as an "essential tool for every photographer" because they often enable you to shoot unique imagery that would be impossible to capture without one on your lens.

The ND filter is essentially a light-restricting device, available in various strengths, that provide precise control for limiting the amount light hitting your camera's sensor. Understanding how they work and using them properly will balance the tones, regardless of the light levels you confront, thereby taking your images to new levels without the chore of extensive editing.

After a brief discussion of the science behind these oft-ignored tools, the video explores the varying strengths of ND filters available and how to select the best option for any given task. Most serious landscape photographers carry a set of these filters with different light-blocking capabilities, but if you're just getting started it's possible to get by with just two or three.

By the time you're done watching you'll understand the impact these filters have on shutter speed, aperture, and overall image quality. The instructor offers really good tips on using an ND filter to make stunning long exposures under bright light to create eye-catching motion-blur effects, manage reflections, smooth flowing water, and give clouds a cotton-like appearance as they float across the sky.

You'll also see how the ND filter will help you capture artistic cityscape scenes under a variety of conditions. In short, by following this straightforward advice, the photos you make will easily stand out from the crowd.

The video includes common mistakes to avoid, practical advice for maximizing the results you achieve, and essentially taking your imagery to the next level. You'll also learn why it's important to invest in high-quality filters that don't degrade the optical performance of your prized lenses.

Be sure to check out The AI Guy instructional YouTube channel where you'll an abundance of tips for all things photographic. And don't miss the overview mentioned above where you just may discover a couple other filters you "need."