Metering a scene

ISO100: LESSON 4, HOW TO METER A SCENE

There are two ways to meter a scene: basic, and advanced. Basic metering will give pretty good results using the cameras built-in metering system – this is what I use and can’t complain about the results I achieve. However, advanced is far more precise, as it involves a hand held light meter, allowing you to expose specifically for the mid-tones, filter the highlights and allow the shadows.

Basic:

  1. The way the majority meter a scene… Always set to manual mode! Sort out your foreground exposure by pointing the lens down and taking a (centre weighted) meter reading.
  2. Now take a meter reading for your sky, and take note of the difference in exposure between the foreground and the sky.
  3. Choose the appropriate GND filter to within around 1 stop.
  4. Place your filter in the slot closest to the lens. Now adjust and align your filter with the horizon line. You can see the difference the filter makes through the view-finder or switching to live view (if you have this feature).
  5. Take the shot!

Advanced:

  1. Sort out your base exposure from your mid-tones. Take your meter readings from the mid tones only at this point.
  2. Don’t forget your shadow areas, to ensure they are still useable and not blacked out, try to make sure they are within 2 stops of your mid-tones. Pump your shadows up slightly if need be.
  3. Now meter a bright section of they sky (preferably don’t look right at the sun when doing this, (metering the sun will make that reading ‘blow-out’.)
  4. Choose the appropriate GND filter to within around 1.5 stops. Anything more than 2 stops will blow out your shot.
  5. Place your filter in the slot closest to the lens. Now adjust and align your filter with the horizon line. You can see the difference the filter makes through the view-finder or switching to live view (if you have this feature).
  6. Take the shot!

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