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Chapter 4 Assignments

Play with depth of field in portraits

Let’s start with something simple. Grab your favorite person and start experimenting with using different aperture settings. Shoot wide open (the widest your lens goes, such as f/2.8 or f/4) and then really stopped down (such as f/22). Look at the difference in the depth of field and the important role it plays in placing the attention on your subject. (Make sure your subject isn’t standing directly against the background, or you won’t see much of a difference in your photographs. Give some distance so that there is a good blurring effect of the background at the wider f-stop setting.)

Discover the qualities of natural light

Pick a nice sunny day and try shooting some portraits in the midday sun. If your subject is willing, have them turn so the sun is in their face (they may want to close their eyes!). Then ask them to turn their back to the sun. Try this with and without the fill flash so you can see the difference. Finally, move them into a completely shaded spot and take a few more shots.

Pick the right metering method

Find a very dark or light background and place your subject in front of it. Take a couple of shots, giving a lot of space around your subject for the background to show. Now switch metering modes and use the AE Lock feature to get a more accurate reading of your subject. Notice the differences in exposure between the metering methods.

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