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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.
I've got a problem; my subject here is horribly backlit. Now this is something you have seen a lot of during this course, so you should know by now that while I have got this problem, I have also got three possible solutions. These are all things you have seen before. I am going to go over them again, real quick. So there's bad backlighting behind him. I am in program mode right now, and I am in program mode because I just want a nice shot of them. And I am not really concerned right now about depth of field and things like that. And I know that my program mode is going to choose some nice middling exposure settings that are going to get me good exposure and probably kind of soft background, but normally care about that.
It's just a nice time to be shooting in program mode, because I am going to be able to work quickly and get what I want. I am in matrix metering mode, as I said but there's a lot of bright white behind him. And when I take this shot, as you have seen before, he is underexposed because the camera is metering for all that sky back there. So what can I do about this? Well, I can change metering modes. I am going to switch over to spot meter right now. That's going to take a meter just--a meter reading just off the middle of his face, and that's going to brighten up his face at the cost of the background. That's okay. I am willing to lose the background.
I really want him there. So that's one solution. I am going to put my metering mode back in matrix mode though, and now I am going to overexpose. Using my exposure compensation control, I am going to dial in one stop of overexposure. So I am going to intentionally overexpose the shot to better expose his face, again, at the cost of the background. And as you have seen, there's no way I can get this full dynamic range. I am just having to choose here, and that's simply the way photographic technology is right now. Put my exposure compensation back where it was, and pull out my third solution, which you may have already guessed, and that's fill flash, as we talked about before.
A lot of people think flash is for low light and flash is hard to use in low light, but what flash can be really useful for though, is evening out an exposure. By shining some light into his face, I get some nice fill on his face, and I still have a nicely exposed background. Now, of all these three choices, you can see that fill flash is actually working the best. Why are we going over all this again if we have learned each of these lessons separately? One, just kind of reiterate them and reinforce them. But also to point out that you cannot take a recipe approach to photography.
You can't say, "Well, when you are in a backlight situation, this is what you do." Because invariably the first time you go out and do that, you are going to find the exception to the rule. You need to know all of this exposure theory; you need to know all of these camera mechanics because you never know which one is going to be right for a particular situation. These are all parts of your toolbox, and you need to know every single tool in that toolbox-- not just to solve a situation like this that can be solved by one of these solutions, but to also know how you can mix and match and combine them. That's why we have gone over some things that seem to be redundant or repetitive or tools that seems to do the same thing as each other, because there is a trade off in all of them.
So having all of these tools under your belt is going to allow you walk into any type of exposure scene, try a few things, experiment with a few things-- shooting digital is free; it's not costing as any film or processing-- try as much as we can, until we zero in on the right solution.
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