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How to Use Light Meters in Photography

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How to Use Light Meters in Photography

Currently, every camera being manufactured has an inbuilt Light meter. It is a device that measures the exposure and allows photographers to accurately adjust the shutter speeds, ISO, and apertures settings. In fact, chances your phone camera has a light measuring capability. So, is it necessary to buy a light meter for your photography business? Certainly. It is a tool that you should always arm yourself with if you want to get the best out of your photos. In this guide, we discuss everything related to light meters.

The function of Light Meters

Most professional meters look alike. Typically, they have a digital readout that displays shutter speeds, ISO and f/stops. Besides, they are equipped with a small white dome diffuser. They contain a button that helps you take the reading and wheel or set of arrows that allows you to circle through possible shutter speeds and f/stop combinations.

The diffuser on this gadget is used for incidence reading.

How Light meter work

The device centers its exposure reading around one shade, the 18% grey shade. Whenever you are carrying out a reflective reading, they assume that what they are looking into is the 18% grey shade, which represents a light grey color.

How to Use Light Meters

Notably, this is probably somewhere the device is fooled. If you are reading a black surface, the meter will not know that it is black. The resultant reading will be exposed, while if the surface is white, the image will be underexposed.

Using a light meter guide

Taking readings from a Light meter might be tricky most of the time. Beforehand, you need to start by determining the part of the scene you want to perfectly expose. Then place your meter in that area. When using the meter, you will need to decide what direction of pointing your meter.

Typically, you would want it to face the camera. Setting the surface in this way will let you hit the area with the right amount of bounce light back to the camera. However, you might want to achieve some dramatic side lighting or rim lighting, if this is your target then the meter will have to face the light source. The technique is often used in a multi-light studio setup.

Shadows and Lights

Every scene of a subject contains both dark and light parts, highlights and shadows, and deciding on what to expose is purely a choice you need to make by yourself. You may decide to expose the shadows and leave out the highlights in your image. Else, you can as well decide to achieve a neutrally lit image by relying on the dynamic range or on your camera to get the shadows and highlights to show the details.

Zone Systems or meter averaging

The zone system is a complex system that helps determine the exposure of a subject. It is a complex system that is why it is not used anymore by most people. The tool requires you to know the exact latitude or the dynamic range of the digital sensor.

Summing Up

Light meter are essential tools in photography. They help you determine the illumination and exposure of light on your subject. Hence, giving you an opportunity to produce a perfect and appealing image that can stand out from the crowd.

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