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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.
Take a look at this list of shutter speeds. You have seen this before in this course. Now, you may have spotted this already, but each one of these shutter speeds is roughly double the previous. If you watch the Reciprocity lesson, you should know the significance of that doubling. As you saw before, every time you double the amount of light that strikes the sensor, you increase the exposure by 1 stop; conversely, if you halve the light, you decrease the exposure by 1 stop. So these shutter speeds are all 1 stop apart.
These are the standard shutter speeds that you will find in all cameras, and in the old days of manual cameras, these were the only shutter speeds you had at your disposal. Now, while that may have been a little limiting in terms of finessing your exposure settings, it made the math of exposure very easy to do in your head. Your digital camera probably has additional shutter speeds between these, because your digital camera can probably change shutter speed in 1/3-stop increments. So, as you dial through the shutter speeds on your camera, you will probably see a selection that looks more like this.
I have put the full stop shutter speeds in boldface. Those are two numbers you see between each boldface pair or 1/3rd-stop intervals. Let's take a look at it on a real camera here. This camera can change exposure intervals in 1/2-stop or 1/3rd-stop increments. That's a setting I can change in the custom functions on this camera. Your camera may or may not have that option. So, I am in shutter priority mode, and I am currently set at 1/30 of a second. I am going to increase my shutter speed, so I am going to increase it to a faster speed.
I dial it up one notch, and I get to a 40th of a second. You can see that right down here. That's 1/3rd-stop faster than a 30th of a second. From there, I go to 50th of a second. That's 2/3rds. With my next setting, I am going to get to my next full-stop increment, that is the first doubling of my original shutter speed, which is a 60th. From there, up a third-of-a-stop would be 80th, then 1/100th, and then finally to my second full-stop doubling at 1/25th. So, how do you know how much to adjust shutter speed to achieve a desired effect? Sometimes that's just experimentation.
If you want to blur an image, start with a slower shutter speed, take a shot, see how it looks. That immediate review is one of the great advantages of digital photography. And over time you will learn from experience what shutter speed is a good starting point for a specific effect.
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