10/31/2012

Metering Part 4: Putting it Altogether

Part 4!!! I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I drag things out a bit too much....Anyway, last one in our little metering series - there's not going to be much new here, just really simplifing what I've said over the last three posts and hopefully putting it all together.

Here goes!

Using Evaluative

- Good for most situations - would recommend this as your "standard" mode
- Use when the tones of the scene are quite mixed
- Use when there is no strong back-lighting
- Perfect for Landscapes or when you want the whole scene to be given consideration
- Is the best mode for group photos
- If there is a lot of light tones (eg snow) or dark (eg shadows) remember you can use exposure compensation or manually shoot over or under to balance the exposure
- You can also  use exposure compensation or manually shoot one stop over or under to suit your personal exposure tastes



Using Centre Weighted

Works very well for portraits when your subject is in most of the frame
-  Give it a go if your subject is back-lit but you do want to retain some background detail
-  Can give you more predictable results than evaluative
- If there is a lot of light (eg snow) or dark (eg shadows) remember you can use exposure compensation and manually shoot over or under to balance the exposure
- You can also  use exposure compensation or shoot one stop over or under to suit your personal exposure tastes

Using Spot

- Is the most predictable and gives you the most control
- Use Spot when metering using a gray card
- You can also use Spot for metering on another known mid-tone in the frame (grass for example is a known mid-tone) if you don't like to carry a grey card.
- If using Spot Metering for Portraits, meter off the cheek and adjust exposure (either manually or using exposure compensation) for skin tone if needed
- Definitely use spot metering if your subject is brightly backlit
- Use spot for creative use of exposure with silhouettes

Remember...

- Believe it or not, evaluative will work out for most "standard" shots so unless you have tricky lighting it's by far the easiest to use with young children as they never stay in one place for long - which could mean in and out of different lighting.

- The easiest thing to do if you are unsure is to meter off a gray card or other mid-tone, such as grass or concrete.  This is a really simple way to set exposure without having to worry about compensation etc Downside is that it's an added step.

- If you spot meter off the subject's cheek for portraits, make sure you adjust the exposure (manually or using exposure compensation) for the person's skin tone if needed.

- For all types of shots, remember you can do a test shot in camera and check your histrogram to see how the image is exposed (it's more accurate than just looking at your image in the viewfinder.... although I confess I just do this) and then adjust your settings in Manual or use exposure compensation.

- If you are in a tricky lighting situation and not sure what will work best (but don't have time to find out) shoot in RAW - it is more forgiving than JPEG when you need to make large exposure adjustments

- Your camera may over or under-expose to your preference (most likely under) so don't be afraid to manually over-expose by a small amount to meet your personal tastes

- The easiest way to meter if you are just starting out is to use evaluative, then work on under or exposing using exposure compensation (or just shooting one stop over or under in Manual Mode)

- Experience will begin to tell you what mode is best and how much to adjust the exposure by.

- If you are using Manual your meter will move around a lot - you don't have to worry about this after you have metered unless the lighting changes (or your subject moves in relation to the light)

-  If you want to be extremely accurate judging the correct exposure in camera, you might want to consider investing in a Light Meter . You hold these in the area of your subject and it will give you the settings you need to dial into your camera. (Works brilliantly but not a necessity for me so I don't have one)


I promise - that is the last post on Metering! (I'm beginning to bore myself, never mind anyone reading it!)

Other Posts You Might Like: 


Metering Part 1: How your Light Meter Works
Metering Part 2: Metering Modes 
Metering Part 3: Exposure Compensation 
Metering Part 4:  Putting It All Together
How To Use a Gray Card




5 comments:

Jan said...

not boring at all...i read it several times to digest all its goodness.

love
"If you are using Manual your meter will move around a lot - you don't have to worry about this after you have metered unless the lighting changes (or your subject moves in relation to the light)"

i soooo didn't "get that" until reading your posts. i constantly moved my settings around for every single shot. i obviously didn't understand the concept of a meter, AT ALL. now i feel like i know enough to at least experiment and try to figure it out. thank you!

Audrey said...

That's the best thing to do: experiment! When you are not worried about missing anything, just take a few practice shots on different settings etc. I still don't like it when my meter moves about- I don't feel in control! I guess it just takes time to get used too....x

Gayatri said...

Audrey- You dont drag things out at all! Your blog entries have been so helpful to me (as I am sure it has been to others). I really appreciate you taking the time out and doing this for so many of us.. The mini series was especially well organized and presented topics in a easy to understand fashion. Thanks again. I have learnt so much :)

Anonymous said...

This is so helpful! Thanks Audrey!!

Audrey said...

I'm so glad you found it helpful!

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