Since our second 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson back in February, Rebecca has been pretty active visiting New York and picking up a new 50mm f/1.8 lens. We used that 50mm lens exclusively during our third of four photography lessons in downtown St. Petersburg. In our first two lessons we mostly used her 18-55mm lens on her Canon Xsi. So we began this morning's 50mm lesson discussing what unique settings and subject matter best suite the lens. Where before the largest aperture available to Rebecca was f/5.6, suddenly being able to go all the way to f/1.8 meant that creating bokeh was no longer a problem, however, since the depth of field was so shallow there was no more simple setting the focus and recomposing when making a shot. Instead I instructed Rebecca to frame the shot how she wanted, then move the single focus point upon the part of the shot she wanted to be in focus. Since sometimes the DoF could be as small as a few millimeters, recomposing even slightly after setting the focus could result in an out of focus subject.
We also stayed in manual mode the entire time which allowed me to teach Rebecca how to use her DSLR's meter to set the shutter speed and aperture to produce a well exposed shot. Then I showed her how to manipulate those settings to purposefully produce an overexposed shot when so desired, as in the above shot I made of Rebecca. She was standing in shade and the background was bright sunshine, so I just set the shutter speed to 1/60th to blow out the background but expose the subject (Rebecca). This is a clever way to create a studio-like white background portrait in the middle of a sidewalk.