Do you need a ND filter?

What is an ND filter?

ND stands for a Neutral Density filter. This is a darkened filter. It usually comes in two styles, full ND and graduated. It also normally comes in three shades, 3-stop, 6-stop, or 10-stop. The “stops” will darken your exposure just like if you had changed a setting on your camera. Each version of ND filter allows you to increase the length of your shutter speed when you normally wouldn’t be able to, such as during the middle of the day.

Why is this important?

Have you ever wanted to catch motion but it was the middle of the day? Have you seen a scene that looks amazing but when you review the photo the sky is blown out?

A graduated ND filter will let you keep the correct expose for landscapes while gradually darkening to get more detail in bright skies.


A full ND filter can be used for many reasons. A track and field competition but you want to show the motion of the runner’s legs and arms.

Going to a lake but the water is too choppy? An ND filter can be used to “smooth out” the water.


Neutral Density filters are also used by portrait photographers do allow you to open up your lens’ aperture as wide as possible (this is how people shoot at f1.4 or wider outdoors and still manage to get that creamy background blur that portrait photographers find so appealing).

– Dan Brown, Crestwood Store