Apart from silky water effects and pics of crowded places what are other uses of ND filters?

Almost every blog I have read mentions only these two situations. What other uses are their for ND filters?

Checked out this question - what types of filters are there, and what are their uses - but even that talks of the same two scenarios.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This post here on se has a lot about uses of nd filters. photo.stackexchange.com/questions/15242/… An other use could be to use large appertures in broad daylight while using slow shutter speeds. \$\endgroup\$
    – xtarsy
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


There are dozens if not hundreds of websites describing usage of ND filters. Lots of them giving many interesting examples far beyond what you described.


  • Waterscapes where you want to have blurred water, or perfectly flat water surface
  • Pictures with flowing water where you want to get more "photographic" looks of it
  • Landscapes and cityscapes where you want to remove people and cars from photographs (they'll blur away)
  • Night photography where you want to achieve blurred stars showing a motion of the earth
  • Cityscapes where you want to show traffic (lines of lights from cars on the roads)
  • Architecture with dramatic sky effect (blurred clouds, require ~15-30sec exposure)
  • Artificial fog without smoke machine
  • Achieving shallow or deep depth of field (depending on light)
  • Lightpainting

Here you got some more examples:

unconventional example

  • \$\begingroup\$ "•Pictures with floating water where you want to get more "photographic" looks of it" - What's floating water??? \$\endgroup\$
    – ides
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 9:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ides - it's for example when water floats on oil or any other liquid with higher density. Icebergs are also an example of floating (frozen) water. ;) Seriously though: I mean: flowing water. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 10:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just revisiting this again after a long time, thanks for that ! \$\endgroup\$
    – GoodSp33d
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 5:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GoodSp33d happy to see it's still useful :) I love questions like that, they basically never get outdated :D. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 10:49

Have you checked that question as well? ND filters are used to decrease the amount of light that gets into your camera. Meaning you will need slower shutter speeds in order to expose your camera properly. Another use that I would think is the ability to use a wider aperture under very bright daylight, thus allowing you to reduce the Depth of field on your picture...


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.