Foundations of Photography: Exposure

with Ben Long
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Foundations of Photography: Exposure
Video duration: 0s 3h 24m Appropriate for all


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.

Topics include:
  • What is exposure?
  • Exploring camera modes
  • Light metering
  • Shooting sharp images
  • Controlling shutter speed
  • Understanding f-stops
  • Controlling motion
  • Working with a shallow depth of field
  • Measuring aperture
  • Shooting in low light conditions
  • Performing manual light balance
  • Working with the histogram
  • Using fill flash
  • Understanding reciprocity


- Hi. My name is Ben Long, and welcome to Foundations of Photography Exposure. I'm standing out here in this spectacular location, I've got my camera with me. The beauty of the modern digital camera is that whether you shoot with a digital SLR, a point-and-shoot or a cell phone camera, your digital camera can make all of the critical exposure and image quality decisions for you. But even the best auto system in the world has no way of knowing what image it is that you have in mind when you take a shot. For example, if you're shooting a fast-moving subject, your camera can't decide on its own whether that subject should be frozen or blurred.

Similarly, when you're shooting a portrait. Your digital camera can't decide on its own whether the background should be blurred out, or rendered sharp. Or maybe you're tired of seeing a scene like this, but coming home with a picture like this. To get the image that you want, you have to override your camera's decision-making process. And the key to knowing how to take control of your camera, is an understanding of exposure. So, despite the mammoth level of twenty-first century technology on your camera, you still need to understand the basics of exposure theory that all photographers of 100 years ago had to learn.

Because even though your camera has substantially more computing power than the Apollo astronauts took to the moon, it still doesn't necessarily have taste. Learning exposure theory doesn't mean that you're going to abandon the automatic features of your camera. I'm a big fan of auto modes, I use them regularly. Having an understanding of exposure theory is going to help you understand when you need to override your automatic settings. Light and shadow are the building blocks of good images. And as you learn more about how to control light and tone, you'll begin to recognize potential shots that you may not be noticing now.

This course is for anyone with a digital camera. However, you will get more out of it if you have more manual controls on your camera. Your exposure education kicks off in the next lesson with the discussion of what, exactly, we mean by exposure.

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