Punch Up The Drama in Front-Lit Landscape Photography with a Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Do it in camera so you can keep shooting!

Here's a technique that adds drama to skies in landscape photography. Yes it's old school, but it lets you spend more time taking pictures!

Here is a tip about a graduated neutral density filter (which you can buy at Adorama). Let's talk about using one for landscape photography that is pretty unusual!

The first thing I can hear you say is that in todays world we don't need these filters any longer and can just take care of this in post processing. However, I have always been a fan of getting as much done as possible in camera. Sticking to this practice allows me more time behind the camera, and less time at the computer. Since I'd rather keep shooting, it's an easy choice for me! 

So, on to the technique: I recently found myself in Holland, teaching a workshop. We had a lovely scene—a cloudy sky over a front-lit field of flowers, but the image straight out of camera was looking a little flat.  

The upper two thirds of the image above looks a little blah, doesn't it? I brought in a 3-stop graduated neutral density filter and the difference on the sky was very dramatic.

Now, that's a really dramatic sky! In the end, we liked the shot with the filter much better than the one without.

Check out this video to see me demonstrate this simple technique:

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