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When doing portrait work in photography I sometimes wish to use very fine depth of field control and shoot at f/1.8 or even f/1.4. Since I use studio flash units I am limited to setting the shutter speed to 1/120th or less. I generally just set the shutter speed to 1/60th and adjust the aperture according to the desired result. I shoot in full manual mode when I do studio work, so that more or less eliminates using large lens apertures unless I use a neutral density filter. In this case I resorted to a ND 8X in order to properly balance shooting at f/1.8 at 1/60th of a second. For my type of photography I find little use for the lighter filters such as 1X or even less. When I need a ND filter it’s because I’m trying to do some dramatic lighting with a slow shutter speed and large aperture combination.
The effect of a large aperture is to give you a more soft and forgiving image, well suited for portraits. You can totally eradicate the background. In fact, in this image the focus on the ears is already very soft in comparison to the eyes. Keep the eyes sharp. Always.
The neutral density filter is one of very few that I carry because I can’t duplicate it’s effect in Photoshop. I always carry two 8X filters when I am out and about.
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