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Understanding Camera Metering

Understanding how your camera meters light is like unlocking the secret language of photography wizardy. Read on to learn more about how getting back to the basics can greatly improve your photos.

Photographer Ming Thein shares a great overview of camera metering, introducing it with:

One of the more important – yet almost always overlooked – aspects of camera operation is metering. Simply put, the meter determines what your final exposure is, and how bright or dark your image looks relative to the scene. Unless you are shooting manual – and even then – the camera’s exposure is determined by the meter. Add the fact that the eyes of a viewer tend to go to the brightest and/ or highest contrast portions of an image first (i.e. this should be your subject) – and it’s clear to see why it’s absolutely critical to understand both how metering works as a fundamental concept and any camera-specific peccadilloes that might exist. The last thing you want is to find that your camera drastically underexposed a once-in-a-lifetime shot of some critically important event because you didn’t know (or forgot) that the meter was extremely affected by point light sources

Hit up the link below to read the entire article.

Understanding Metering, Part One: Introduction

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/4/13

Comments (2)

  1. J.B. Goode

    Although it’s important as a photographer to understand metering, most creative and serious photographers will remind you that “auto” is a four letter word. A major part of evolving as a photographer you must study light, understand f-stops, exposure time and white balance. If you insist on using auto, you will take pictures. If you learn to understand and control light you will become a photographer.

  2. J.B. Goode

    I wrote that b4 reading the article. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to shut up until it’s time to speak. Very well written. Trying to grasp the subject well has left me light-headed :-)

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