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Understanding a Camera’s Light Meter & How Use it for Perfectly Exposed Photos (VIDEO)

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It’s not uncommon for photographers to pick a specific exposure mode and think of it as a set-it-and forget-it choice for all the images they shoot. This practice is often the result if failing to fully understand the finer points of how a camera’s light meter works.

The problem with this intransigent approach is that different subjects and lighting conditions require a different methods of metering if you want to achieve optimum results. The basic explainer below from an accomplished fashion photographer provides a quick explainer to help you make the right choice when shooting all types of photos.

Instructor Resha Reay is a pro based in Bangalore, India who recently launched a YouTube channel devoted to assisting amateur photographers choose appropriate camera settings and employ basic shooting skills to expand their skills. After watching this helpful three-minute episode you’ll know how take the proper approach to metering for a variety of common tasks.

Most Shutterbug readers are familiar with the Exposure Triangle and Reay begins with a quick overview for the uninitiated. We won’t belabor that here, but there’s a link beneath the video for those of you want to take a deeper dive.

Correct exposures involve the synergy between aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and knowing which of these elements, in combination with various exposure modes, should taking priority based upon the subject at hand.

Reay provides clear illustrations to help you understand the process, and you’ll see how to quickly interpret the key exposure  information displayed on the rear LCD of your camera. You’ll also learn how to use important aids like exposure compensation, to correct for scenes that are either to dark or too bright.

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It’s important to remember that “the camera isn’t always right,” depending on the feeling you want to create with a photo. Sometimes, for example, you envision a somber mood, while other times a more uplifting look is what you’re after. In either case you have to modify the exposure recommended by the camera to get the job done.

Reay discusses three of the most common metering modes found in modern cameras; the first being Evaluative/Matrix that is often the default mode. Centered-Weighted metering is a throw-back to the days of film photography, while the third common mode is Spot metering that can be essential for photographing subjects in light levels that differ from adjacent portions of the frame.

By following Reay’s advice you’ll be able to consistently expose images in the way that meets. your expectations. You can find more tips and tricks by visiting Reay’s new instructional YouTube channel.

And be sure to check out the related tutorial we posted recently from another accomplished pro, explaining how to expose landscape photos for dramatic eye-catching contrast.

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