Master the fundamentals of exposure with photographer Ben Long. Discover how to go beyond your camera's auto mode to craft exposures that will capture the look you want.
- Hi, my name is Ben Long. Welcome to part one of my two-part foundational series on exposure. Have you ever been out in the world with your camera, found a scene like this, and come home with an image like this? Or have you ever found that areas of your image were out of focus in ways that you weren't expecting? Have you ever felt that your images are just kind of blah or that other photographers seem to get more drama from their images? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you're watching the right course because everything I just showed you, from the mistakes to the good things, those were all the results of exposure decisions that were made while shooting.
The good news is that most of the time, your camera will likely choose good exposure settings but it can't know if you want particular shadows plunged into darkness or if you're willing to let the bright parts of an image lose detail to reveal more of the darker bits. It doesn't know if you'd like to blur out the background when shooting a portrait. It can't know if you prefer colors to be more or less saturated. To get the image that you want, you sometimes 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 21st century technology on your camera, you still need to understand the basics of exposure theory that all good photographers over the past 150 years have had to learn. 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. But having an understanding of exposure theory is going to help you know when you need to override your automatic settings and it's going to help you learn to recognize the usage of light and shadow, the building blocks of photography.
As your understanding of exposure grows, you'll begin to recognize 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 a camera with good manual controls. In the next movie, we'll take a look at what that means.
Note: This course is designed to work with any digital camera, but it is easier to follow along using a digital SLR or mirrorless camera.
- What is exposure?
- Modern camera anatomy
- Shutter, aperture, and ISO
- Light metering
- Changing shutter speed and aperture
- Exposure compensation
- Light meters