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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.
When you first get started trying to work with aperture, you're probably going to find yourself a little confused in having to really think through things a lot. You are going to stop and set up your shot, and probably have to think, "Okay, is a bigger aperture more or less depth of field, and is a bigger number or bigger or smaller aperture?" Don't worry about that. After practice, you are going to learn that by rote. And speaking of practice, now is a good time to get out there and try some depth-of-field practice. So what should you do? It's pretty simple. Just go look for shallow depth- of-field situations. Find someone to shot a portrait of.
Remember that you are going to be using a big aperture, which means a smaller number. You are going to be trying to ensure, in your shallow depth of field work, that there is something large in the background to reveal your shallow depth of field. Then try and take the same shot with deeper depth of field. Also, go out and try and find some shots that benefit specifically from deep depth of field, like a nice landscape shot. Remember, with those, you are going to be needing a smaller aperture, which is a bigger number, and you are going to have to think about where to focus to be sure that your depth of field is being maximized. There is more to understanding depth of field than simply knowing which buttons to press and which settings to dial. You need to develop an aesthetic for when you need shallow and when you might be better served with deeper depth of field.
One of the best ways to do that obviously is practicing with your own shots, but also start paying attention to it in other shots that you see, both in still photos, in maybe fine art photos or advertising photos, but also pay attention to it in movies and TV shows that you watch. All these same things apply there, and same aesthetics apply there. Try and start noticing when a photographer, or in a TV show, or in a movie, where the depth of field has been intentionally shortened and then stop and think about how they might have done that. So, this is your chance to go get some depth of field practice before we move on.
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