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How to Use ND Filters to ‘Dodge and Burn’ Landscape Photos In-Camera


Photographer Karl Taylor recently put together a quick tutorial video that shows you how to use ND filters to “burn” a long-exposure in-camera while you’re taking the shot. It’s a neat trick, and a good solution for those times when a graduated filter won’t work.

You can see Taylor use this little photography trick around the 1:40 mark, after the lights come on under the bridge he’s shooting.

The under-bridge lights were blowing out several parts of his frame, but there was no way to position a traditional graduated ND filter to darken the right areas, and the rest of his exposure was properly exposed at 8 seconds. So, instead of taking multiple images and relying on post processing to blend them together, he took two ND filters and waved them around in front of the parts of his frame that were coming out too bright.

It’s exactly like burning an image in a darkroom, only you’re “burning” your exposure live, as it happens:

It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s useful technique to keep in your back pocket for the next time you’re out shooting long exposures. If you can’t seem to dial in the right exposure for every part of your frame, rather than taking multiple and “fixing it in post,” try a little in-camera editing and see what comes out.

Check out the full video up top to see the results when Taylor use this trick to balance his exposure, and then head over to his website or YouTube channel for more useful tips, tutorials, and educational resources.

(via ISO 1200)