Save 35% On A SmugMug Account Today!

exposure metering

Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2010 1:35PM
Hi all, just after a bit of advice again, how do I get my camera to meter on the subject rather then the background? I don't seem to have to much trouble with close up shots but when for example doing a full length portrait I have trouble getting the exposure right on the subject. I have tried the different metering modes on my camera and moved the little red dot about so its on the subject, but the subject often seems dark and the background has the right amount of light, when in the studio I had the use of a light meter but now I don't is there any way (without the use of a light meter) of telling my camera to set the exposure to the subject or is it just trial and error until I get the settings right? thanks Debbie

oh and I'm using a Canon 350d
User_Removed 14 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2010 2:01PM
Use a combination of the histogram and exposure compensation.
miptog 15 3.6k 65 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2010 2:29PM
One cheat is to try a Substitute Reading

What if you can't walk up to your subject to take a meter reading? For instance, suppose that you're trying to photograph a deer in sunlight at the edge of a wood. If the background is dark, a meter reading of the overall scene will give you an incorrect exposure for the deer. Obviously, if you try to take a close-up reading of the deer, you're going to lose your subject before you ever get the picture. One answer is to make a substitute reading off the palm of your hand, providing that your hand is illuminated by the same light as your subject, then use a lens opening 1 stop larger than the meter indicates. For example, if the reading off your hand is f/16, open up one stop to f/11 to get the correct exposure. The exposure increase is necessary because the meter overreacts to the brightness of your palm which is about twice as bright as an average subject. When you take the reading, be sure that the lighting on your palm is the same as on the subject. Don't shade your palm.

If shooting in Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority modes you will need to use exposure compensation of +1. In manual mode, just set the appropriate settings as above.

As you are used to using a light meter, you may want to obtain one, as this will give the most accurate reading, as 1) it will read incident or not reflected light.
ensign 13 224 1 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2010 2:53PM
Have you tried the Spot meter option if it is on the camaera. The ideas suggested about exposure compensation by Chris Gilbert and miptog will also work.
good luck
BigRick 15 2.1k 3 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2010 7:20PM
Spot meter is my choice if i am out in the sun, and the light varies alot from place to place....

make sure your little red dot is over the subject and that should give you the correct exposure for the thing under the dot.... aperture priority mode.

You might be able to change the size of the 'dot' in the menu to give you more or less coverage of the dot over the subject. Smile
StrayCat 17 19.1k 3 Canada
10 Apr 2010 7:35PM
Spot meter, or in the case of the 350D, it may be centre weighted. Meter off the subject, then engage exposure lock and compose your image. The exposure will be based on the subject.

Another method is to choose a medium toned part of the image, expose for it, and lock the exposure, then compose and take the image. Everything should fall into place.
Eviscera 14 1.1k 149 United Kingdom
10 Apr 2010 8:09PM
If you are new to it , try this.

Compose your scene.

Work out the the most creative aperture in a.v

Zoom into the brightest element using spot meter , and lock that exposure.

Zoom out , and drop the e.v compensation about 1 stop.

Laters , try and simulate the same camera readings in manual mode , then you can fine tune your exposures.
Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2010 11:48AM
thanks will now go and have a practice with your suggestions and see how I get on Smile

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.