My Blogging Reasons:

1) When I was just starting out in the photography world I didn't have a lot of people to help me, I didn't have money to take classes so a lot of it was done the wrong way first. I want this to be a place of resource for beginners/hobbyists and everyday people, a place where you can ask me anything
2) Once I found a network of other photographers there were so many willing to dish out their secrets for free and help me along the way and this is a way I figure I can give back to the community
3) I have learned so much that my head is starting to overflow and I need a place to keep my notes freeing up some of my brain space for other things
4) The best way for me to remember something is to teach it to someone else.

Disclaimer: I don't think nor claim to be the worlds greatest photographer, but I continue to study and work really hard and by golly one day I might just be the best, but for now I will continue to learn right along with you!

I will add onto the lessons, so if something doesn't make sense chances are you are skipping ahead go back and read through the archives. If it is doesn't click ASK me anything anytime!

You can email me any questions or just post it in the comments and I will address them all here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Many Ways To Meter

All cameras are a bit different in the way that they symbolize the metering mode, so read through your manual to figure out which symbol is which mode. I shoot with a Canon 40D and most of the Canon symbols will be the same

There is almost always more than one way to meter and to be completely honest once you learn the basics of each metering mode it becomes a personal preference for the situation and look you want. Like most things photography related there is usually more than one right answer. So we will start with the basic symbol and how to use it. Now your camera may or may not have all of these modes but most likely they have a few of them.

[ ] is CENTER-WEIGHTED metering-this means that your meter is taking its reading off of the center of the image and then averaging the rest of the scene. When would you use this? When I want to take a picture of the "whole scene" when I want the blue sky blue and the grass green (unless you are in my yard). When I want detail in all the shadows and all the highlights, just remember that it is not really metering the whole scene just 70%

[ ( 0 ) ] EVALUATIVE metering-this is the most often used (well that is until you learn that you have other options) it is when the camera take into account the entire scene and chooses an exposure that is best for all parts. It is very similar to center-weighted except with center-weighted the meter is only metering 70% of the scene (from the center out) and with evaluative the meter is reading 100% of the scene. When would you use it? The same situations as center-weighted (see there is more than one right answer)

[ ( ) ] is PARTIAL metering-this is when your meter reads only part of the scene (only about 14%) this mode is more popular when you are close in on your subject and you want a specific part of the scene in the best exposure possible. When would you use it? When you want the best possibly exposure of your subject and not the surroundings. This is a very common metering mode for portraits and back lit situations (when the sun is behind your subject)

notice here how much brighter my sky and foreground is, but the tree (my subject) has a lot more detail than the previous examples.

[ 0 ] is SPOT metering-does pretty much what it says it meters a small spot (center of your frame). When would you use this? When there was a very specific part of the image that you wanted exposed properly. For example if I were outside off my porch with my front door open and wanted to take a picture of the inside of my house I would use spot metering and zoom in or place the very center of my frame inside my house take a reading and then I could recompose the shot (making sure to use the same settings as my reading). Doing this will more than likely make my front porch overexposed, but the inside of my house properly exposed. In this same situation if I had used evaluative metering my meter would have averaged the scene causing the inside to be very underexposed and because it is so underexposed it is going to pull down the exposure of the outside also making it underexposed a little too. This feature is newer and is not on older SLR models but you could get the same results by using partial metering (just remember that your spot is bigger)

We are not going to get into exposure compensation with this assignment and in all of the examples I metered at "0". This is to help you get an understanding of when and what metering mode to use. I 90% of the time shot my portraits in PARTIAL metering mode because I can get the most accurate reading on my subjects (since that is what I am taking a picture of) and 90% of my landscapes are taken in EVALUATIVE mode (since I want the whole scene in the best possible exposure) exceptions are when I want to capture sun flare with back light and then I use PARTIAL and treat the trees or other objects as my subjects, if I used EVALUATIVE in this instance I would get my foreground too dark and have to do too much editing afterwards.

Okay your assignment this week is to take a picture using all 4 metering situations choosing which option is best for your image. Because most SLR cameras only have 3 metering modes you will have to improvise with the partial metering mode for your spot metering picture . I want your images to differ (unlike mine) no fair using the same "subject" but you don't necessarily have to use a live subject.

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