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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.
Because this is a course on exposure, the majority of our concerns are going to be whether our bright things are bright enough without being too bright, and our dark things are dark enough without being too dark. However, exposure does have an impact on color, as we'll see later. More critically though, the color in your image is impacted by something called white balance. You heard me mention that term while we have been talking about what happens when you half-press the shutter button, so we are going to take a quick look at it now. This is just going to be a cursory discussion because I don't want us to get to sidetracked from exposure. But we'll be returning to white balance in detail later.
The simplest explanation of white balance is that there are different types of lights and each of these different types of light has a different color characteristic. To get accurate color in your images then, your camera has to be calibrated to the type of light you are shooting in. White balancing is the process of calibrating your camera to the color characteristics of your light source. When white balance is off, you can end up with color that's pretty wrong, like this. Obviously, this is not a look that you usually want, and you'd be pretty disappointed if you came home with a bunch of images with this much blue.
While your camera has a lot of different white balance controls, it also has an auto control. In most cases, auto will give you correct color, like this. So right now I just want you leave your white balance set on auto. If you are not sure how to do that, check your camera's manual, under white balance. Later, we'll look at white balance in more detail and discuss when you might want to switch off of auto, and why.
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