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Old 08-18-2012, 07:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
xero28
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All of those are in the shade, WB should be set to "Shade". If you're shooting full Manual, there's one more important number you're leaving out, your aperture. Changing that will effect what exposure you need to be at. I try not to shoot portraits at anything less than 1/160th. If you're shooting with a 50mm, you can probably get it down to at least f1.8. Unless you're shooting in very dark conditions, dropping it down to around 2.0-2.2, you should easily be able to get to 1/160-1/250.

As for the focus issue with the last photo, your aperture is going to be what effects that. The wider you are (the lower the f-stop number), the greater the depth of field you're going to get. So if you have a low f-number (f2.0 for example), you're only going to have a VERY small plane that is in focus. When I shoot, I'm usually at around f3.5. I'll focus on the person's eye, that way their eyes and face are in focus, and everything behind them will be out of focus (bokeh). So, if you're shooting at a lower f-stop and you focus on the dog's eye, his snout will be out of focus, his eyes will be in focus, and everything behind him will be out of focus, and that's just fine. It adds depth to the photograph. You don't want your images to look flat. If you want more or everything to be in focus, you need a larger f-number (f8 or f11). But, the higher your f-number, the slower your shutter is going to have to be or the higher your ISO is going to have to be. It's kind of like fire. Fire needs the right combination of oxygen, heat and fuel. Depending on the combination, you get different results, but you can achieve the exact same fire by increasing one ingredient when another is lacking. Manual photography needs the right combination of shutter, aperture and ISO. If one changes, you have change something else if you want to get a similar exposure. It just takes time and practice. Get used to the settings, understand how changing one setting effects the photograph.
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