How To Measure Or Meter Light

Photography - 101 Understanding Exposure
6 minutes
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In this video, we're going to go over the light meter in detail. And this is why we know basically how to adjust our exposure, we can adjust our exposure with our shutter speed or aperture or ISO. But how do we essentially know where to start out with I mean, how do we get that first exposure to be roughly where we want it to be. So what we need to do is we need to understand how that light meter works. And then we need to adjust according to it, and then get our correct exposure. Now, let me go ahead and just show you what I mean instead of talking through it.

Okay, we're gonna hit the Live View button right now, just so we can get our screen just to show up here. So let me go ahead and hit the live view. And right now, you can see that the screen is actually extremely dark, we can't really see anything. So the first thing I'm going to do is actually go down to an after that I want for the overall scene. I think for the scene, it looks really beautiful at around f two, two f 2.8. So that's the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to adjust my aperture based on the overall composition that I'm going for.

Okay, so let's go ahead and just go down to f two point. Let's go to point out. So right now you can see that the exposure based on this live view exposure preview is actually pretty close to where we want it to be. Now let's say that the shutter speed is up kind of high. Let's say that we're at one 1,000th of a second. Well, that the camera itself is going to basically give me a reading on that light meter, you can see this light meter at the bottom of the screen, the light meter generally is going to range from negative two or negative three stops.

Right now we have negative three stops on this camera all the way up to plus three stops, right in the middle where that little arrow is or where it says zero. That is what the camera is telling you is that technically correct exposure. We've already gone over basically talking about how well exposures are really about the artistry. So different types of exposures. It really just matters on the scene, whether you're going for something bright and airy, whether you're going something a little more dark and dramatic, it doesn't matter so long as you shoot the correct exposure for what you're going for artistically. So kind of take what it's saying what that cameras saying is that technically correct exposure, just as a grain of salt is telling you this is what it thinks is technically correct.

Based on the metering mode you're using, we're going to talk about metering modes and a follow up video. But to the left of that little meter, we know that it's underexposed and to the right of that meter, we know it's over. were exposed and in the middle, that's where it's telling you it's second correct. Okay, so let's go ahead and as I bring my shutter speed up, you're going to see that little meter is going to keep pulling to the left now one 4,000th of a second, that's actually the shutter limitation on this camera, we're all the way at negative three stops. Now if I go ahead and I raise the aperture, it can't really go down any further. So what you see is a little tiny arrow that points to the left of three stops, some cameras only go to negative two stops on the plus two and the negative two side, if you see that arrow that's kind of saying it's way off to the one side Well, you need to make some adjustments before your meter is going to appear within that little light metering range.

So what we're going to do is just make that adjustment real quick to get our meter back I'm going to go back to f2. We're going to go ahead and slow down the shutter. And if I just halfway depress the shutter release button, our little light meter pops back up on that display and I can see it again. So right now I'm at negative two stops, so I know that if I want to adjust the my shutter speed well I'm going to go one step up. We're gonna go to one 1,000th now we're one stop underexposed, and now I go to one 500 Now one 500 of a second and f2 and ISO 100. This is where the camera is telling me this is a technically correct exposure for the scene.

But I still need to judge for myself. And that's where I really am going to use things like my histogram, we can see from this view right here that the histogram is a little bit pulled to the shadow side. So what I might do is click down, and we'll go to one 400 a second. This is where I'm going to say is my correct exposure, brighter tones is going to yield a better picture and it's going to be a little more flattering skin tones. So as long as I'm not blowing everything out, and I'm getting what I want, I want to err on the side of brighter for this type of a scene. All right, quick general tip, because you know pi just mentioned a very important note that I want to briefly emphasize.

He said, so long as you aren't blowing anything out, you want to err on the brighter side. So this technique is known as E TT er or exposing to the right. Remember the histogram. Now, this doesn't mean that you blow out your highlights but rather that you will get a cleaner image if you expose to highlights, then ETL are exposed to the left, which would make the image darker. So rule of thumb when you want to maximize tonal range in a shot and maximize image quality TTR exposed to that your reader is pushed as far to the right without actually blowing out any highlights and without clipping any shadows. Okay, so back to the video.

But for right now this looks great. What I'm going to do is pop the camera off and we're going to go ahead and take our shot. The one thing I'm going to do here, though, is I am going to add a little bit of a fill light. I'm gonna show you exactly what that's going to do. So Olivia, why don't you grab the silver fill. So what we're doing here is we're actually grabbing light from the sky and we're filling it into her face.

So all I'm going to do is bring this underneath and you can see how it opens up that catch lights in the eye does a really great job of adding additional light. And what we're going to do is take it before and after. So why don't you hold that I'm going to go back here. I'm going to take this camera right off my tripod, we can stop recording on this. I'm going to turn it off Moving mode. So let's just go ahead and move this to the side.

Now. With that little bit of a bump, we call it a bump. Basically because it's a slight fill light, it shouldn't be going too much where it's going to be overexposed, it's gonna be a little bit of light. I'll take a look at the histogram. If we see anything blown out, we'll make adjustments but it should be okay. So I'm gonna go and turn on my autofocus real quick.

I'm gonna back up just a tiny bit. Beautiful. Okay, now this looks gorgeous. I love this shot. We can get a little bit of extra fill with this reflector. Now watch what the reflector does.

Olivia, let's add it and go down a tiny bit a little bit lower. There you go. Perfect right there. Beautiful. Okay, now just in looking at these on the back of my camera, I can see a major difference that Phil like it just adds a little kiss of light that kind of fills in all the shadow area on the face. It's very, very nice for a shot like this.

Now I'm going to do is take a few more portraits. So what I'm gonna do now is, well let's get a little bit close. I want to get a shot of these beautiful eyes of yours. Go chin down a tiny bit. got eyes right up above my lens. They're perfect.

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