Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Manual exposure exercise

From: Foundations of Photography: Exposure

Video: Manual exposure exercise

We are going to harken back now to those wonderful days of yesteryear when men were men and women were women, and photographers didn't have light meters. Now, think about that. Not having a light meter, everything we have done so far in our exposure exercises has been built around the automatic light meter in our cameras. We half-press the shutter button; the camera meters the scene for us and tells us a shutter speed and aperture. What would you do if your camera wasn't doing that for you? Well, you can find out, and you can play with it yourself, and have this wonderful anachronistic feeling of shooting the way people used to shoot.

Manual exposure exercise

We are going to harken back now to those wonderful days of yesteryear when men were men and women were women, and photographers didn't have light meters. Now, think about that. Not having a light meter, everything we have done so far in our exposure exercises has been built around the automatic light meter in our cameras. We half-press the shutter button; the camera meters the scene for us and tells us a shutter speed and aperture. What would you do if your camera wasn't doing that for you? Well, you can find out, and you can play with it yourself, and have this wonderful anachronistic feeling of shooting the way people used to shoot.

But doing this is also a really great way to go a little bit deeper into exposure theory and really nail down a couple of important ideas. I have got my camera in manual mode, and I am going to shoot a picture of this stump right here. So where do I begin? Now, I could just follow my light meter, because even in manual mode, my meter is still doing something. As you have seen, when I half-press to expose, I get a little meter that tells me whether I am over- or underexposed. I am going to ignore that though, and I am going to do things away the way I used to be done. I am out here in bright sunlight. Now, as with film, with your digital image sensor, there is a starting point for your daylight exposures, and that's something called the sunny 16 rule.

And that goes like this. If I am at F16 then my shutter speed should be one over film speed, or one over my ISO, to get a good exposure. I am shooting at ISO 100, so if I put my aperture at f16 and my shutter speed at 1/100th of a second--that's one over my ISO or 1/100--and take a shot, I get a decent exposure. So right off the bat, great. I am manually exposing here. I am out in the wild just surviving photographically on my wits, thanks to the sunny 16 rule.

But what if this isn't the picture I want? That's given me a good overall level of illumination, but I would prefer to have shallow depth of field in this shot. I would like the mountains in the background to go out of focus. So, I need to get my aperture open, because f 16 is very small, and that's going to give me very deep depth of field, so I want to open it up all the way. This lens can open all the way to F4. So I am going to change my aperture. So I am using my manual controls here, and I am going from f16 to f11. That's one stop. And if you are not sure how I knew that was one stop, its very simple: I have just memorized the whole stop aperture increments, which is that something either you need to sit down and expressly do, or that you will just learn over time working with your camera.

So, that's one stop. From f11, I am going to go to f8. That's two stops. From f8, I am going to go to 5.6. That's three stops. Again, I am just going in whole-stop increment and from f5.6, I am going to go to f4. So, I have opened my aperture four stops. If I take a picture now, still at 1/100th of a second, I am using that same shutter speed but my aperture is much wider, four stops wider than it was before--that's four doublings of light, which means my image is going to be way overexposed. So I need to compensate for that larger aperture by speeding up my shutter speed by the same amount, by four stops.

Shutter speed is a lot easier to deal with. It's just straight doublings. So I am at 100 right now, 1/100th of a second. I am going to go to 200. That's one doubling or one stop. From 200, I am going to go to 400. That's two stops. 800. That's three stops. And one more, to 1,600. That's four stops. Now, if I take a shot, I still get a good exposure, and I have got shallower depth of field. The mountains are a little blurry back there. But as I am looking at it, I am recognizing that--and it's a good place to stop; I am happy with my image, but I just want to be safe about what I am taking home.

I am going through kind of a same process I would if I was shooting in program mode, which is I am looking at my scene going, "There is a lot of dynamic range there. I have got these kind of darker tones in the foreground, and I have got bright sky full of white clouds. And they are not real well-defined clouds. They are just kind of wispy, almost solid white. I really don't want to loose any detail in there. I feel like I should underexpose that shot a little bit." I am at 1/1600th of a second. I need a faster shutter speed. A faster shutter speed is going to cut a little bit of light out of there and get me a little bit of under exposure.

My camera right now is set up to change in 3, a 3rd-of-a-stop increments. So I don't want to go a full stop under. I think that's going to darken things too much. I just know that from experience. I am going to go one click on my dial. That's going to be a 3rd of a stop, and that gets me to 1/2,000th of a second. So 1,600 to 2,000 is 1/3rd of stop. I know that just from reading my little dial here. Now I take a shot, and I have now got slight underexposure, and that's protecting the clouds a little more. I don't go out and shoot this way, particularly in a situation like this, particularly when there are bugs flying around that I am swallowing.

It takes a long time. What's nice about it is doing a little practice like this is going to help drive home some of these exposure theory concepts. It's also going to give you a feeling of what it's like to really stop and slow down and take your time taking a picture. That's how people used to have to work. And it makes you a lot more thoughtful about what you are doing. It makes you really look at the scene more. It makes you think more about what kind of exposure you want in terms of depth of field, in terms of what's my dynamic range, and what do I want to capture. It's a very good exercise for learning how to slow down and get into a very present place, which is where you need to be both to see to be even able to pay attention to what's going on around you and to nail the technical aspect of things.

So, put your camera in manual mode and go think through these reciprocal steps like I did just here. It is some good practice.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Exposure
Foundations of Photography: Exposure

64 video lessons · 85049 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 56s
    2. What is exposure?
      4m 8s
    3. A word about camera brands
      2m 40s
  2. 9m 32s
    1. What is a camera?
      2m 53s
    2. The shutter
      3m 53s
    3. The aperture
      1m 33s
    4. Exposure defined
      1m 13s
  3. 13m 50s
    1. Modes
      2m 7s
    2. Pressing the shutter button
      2m 54s
    3. Autofocus
      5m 22s
    4. Light metering
      2m 3s
    5. White balance
      1m 24s
  4. 29m 26s
    1. Shooting sharp images
      1m 58s
    2. Noting shutter speed
      4m 3s
    3. Taking control of shutter speed
      1m 30s
    4. Stop defined
      2m 50s
    5. Shutter priority mode
      4m 34s
    6. Exercise: Shutter speed
      40s
    7. Reciprocity
      3m 13s
    8. Controlling motion
      7m 8s
    9. Shutter speed increments
      2m 21s
    10. Exercise: Go work with shutter speed
      1m 9s
  5. 26m 3s
    1. Depth of field
      1m 53s
    2. How aperture is measured
      2m 42s
    3. Aperture priority mode
      4m 57s
    4. Lens speed
      53s
    5. Shooting deep depth of field
      3m 53s
    6. Shooting shallow depth of field
      2m 50s
    7. The depth-of-field preview button
      4m 24s
    8. How shallow should you be?
      2m 47s
    9. Exercise: Go work with aperture
      1m 44s
  6. 16m 26s
    1. ISO: The third exposure parameter
      6m 27s
    2. Assessing your camera's high ISO
      5m 32s
    3. Shooting in low light
      3m 32s
    4. Exercise: Shooting in low light
      55s
  7. 14m 30s
    1. White balance controls
      5m 37s
    2. Adjusting white balance manually
      4m 25s
    3. Shooting raw
      4m 28s
  8. 6m 3s
    1. How light meters work
      1m 47s
    2. Why are there different modes?
      4m 16s
  9. 33m 59s
    1. Exposure compensation
      4m 0s
    2. Intentional overexposure
      2m 40s
    3. Intentional underexposure
      1m 42s
    4. Controlling tone
      2m 31s
    5. The histogram
      10m 4s
    6. Real-world histograms
      5m 49s
    7. Tone and color
      2m 16s
    8. Auto exposure bracketing
      3m 58s
    9. Exercise: Go work with exposure compensation
      59s
  10. 12m 56s
    1. Dynamic range
      2m 24s
    2. Exposing for highlights
      4m 15s
    3. Fill flash
      3m 11s
    4. Three solutions to the same problem
      3m 6s
  11. 12m 26s
    1. Manual mode
      2m 6s
    2. Manual mode and light meters
      4m 52s
    3. Manual exposure exercise
      5m 28s
  12. 12m 1s
    1. Custom modes and A-DEP
      1m 39s
    2. Program shift
      3m 52s
    3. Exposure compensation with program shift
      1m 58s
    4. An exercise in reciprocity
      53s
    5. Scene modes and in-camera processing
      3m 39s
  13. 8m 16s
    1. Shooting with post production in mind
      3m 46s
    2. Exposure strategy
      3m 51s
    3. Goodbye
      39s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Photography: Exposure.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.