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Arriving at the best exposure for a photo is part science and part art. In Foundations of Photography: Exposure, Ben Long helps photographers expand their artistic options by giving them a deep understanding of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and all other critical exposure practices. This course covers the basic exposure controls provided by all digital SLR cameras, as well as most advanced point-and-shoot models. Learn how to master a camera's metering modes, how to use exposure compensation and bracketing, and much more. By the end of the course, you'll know how to develop an "exposure strategy" that will allow you to effectively employ your exposure knowledge in any shooting situation.
The great thing about there being so many different ways to control exposure on your camera is that you probably have options that are perfectly suited to specific shooting situations. The drag of having all of these controls is that it can be difficult to quickly make a bunch of parameter changes when you are working in the field. But your camera might offer custom modes. These are modes that can be configured anyway you want. For example, many Cannon and Nikon SLRs offer custom modes right on their standard mode control. When I switch to one of these custom modes, then the camera is immediately configured with whatever settings I have programmed into that mode.
For example, say that you regularly shoot at swim meet. Each time you go, you configure for tungsten white balance, you set to aperture priority and you change to f/2.8 because you like shallow depth of field, and you turn on burst mode, so that you can shoot rapid burst of shots. You can program all of those into a custom mode, so that when you switch to that mode, all of those parameters are automatically configured. If you are shooting with a Cannon SLR, you might also have an A-DEP mode. This will appear on your mode dial. A-DEP is an automatic depth of field mode.
Its intention is to give you the deepest possible depth of field for your scene. So in A-DEP mode, you point your camera, you press the shutter button halfway to auto focus, and the camera will do a bunch of calculations. It will measure focus in a couple of different places and try to choose an aperture that will yield the deepest possible depth of field. Honestly, I have never found A-DEP mode to work that well, but you might want to play with it and see if it works for you. If your camera offers custom modes, it's worth digging into your manual to find out how to use them. They can be a great time saver.
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