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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.
At the risk of sounding like a fortune cookie, I want to remind everyone that it is what you do with a camera that makes a good picture, not what brand of camera that you use. You can take a great picture with any camera, from a cell phone to a high-end SLR. You can also take a complete lousy picture with any camera from a cell phone to a high-end SLR. Good photography comes from the combination of crafts skills, knowing how to reproduce tones and color in a particular way, with an artistic eye that has learned how to see photographically. The type of camera you choose to use can make some of those things easier, but in the end, a good photograph is usually the product of a good photographer.
There's sometimes luck in there too, but we don't talk about that. Now that's not to say that for certain types of images high-end gear is not a better way to go, or that for other types of images only a grungy toy camera will get the look and feel you want. The point is that all cameras have their strengths and weaknesses. As a photographer, if you going to learn take advantage of those strengths work around the weaknesses, or find a way to exploit those weaknesses, then you can come home with good images. I've been writing about digital photography for various magazines since the mid 90s, and I've had the great good fortune to get to shoot with a lot of cameras.
And honestly, my opinion at this point is that these days it's hard to buy a digital camera that takes bad images. This is especially true with SLRs, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Fuzzy, Pentax, Sony, Panasonic, and others; these cameras all yield great image quality. In the end, image quality should be the arbiter of camera choice. So it's pretty safe to say that you're in good shape with just about any SLR you can get today. On the point-and-shoot end, things are similarly rosy. There are many point-and-shoot cameras available today that yield image quality and features that 35-millimeter shooters can only dream of a few years ago.
So in the end a camera choice comes down to personal preference and feature needs. Every camera manufacturer has their own idea of the best interface, and some of those interfaces might make more sense to you than others. Similarly, different manufacturers pack their cameras with different features. Depending on the type of shooting you do, one feature set might be more useful to you than another. In this course we'll be shooting with a Canon camera, partly because it's a great camera and partly because it provide some technical features that we need for the production of this video. Because you can get great results from just about any camera these days, and because the theory we'll be covering here is true for all cameras, we'll be keeping this course camera-agnostic.
I am not going to talk about the specific controls of my camera, and when I introduce a new control, we'll give you directions for what you need to look for in your camera's manual. So if you don't have a fancy SLR, don't worry! That shouldn't stop you from being able to follow everything in this course and learn the fundamentals of exposure. And if you don't have the same camera that we're using here, don't worry. The camera you've got is probably capable of taking great pictures. The rest is up to you.
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