Proper Metering Technique: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Proper Metering Technique: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace


Hi everybody and welcome to another episode of ‘Exploring Photography’ right here on an AdoramaTV. Today I am joined by Azul Sofía. She is our model here in Mexico city. Now, we’re going to be covering
something today that a lot of people have asked me and that is where do you
point your light meter? Do you point it at the camera or do you point it at the
light? It’s a very important thing to understand because you can get radically
different results and we need to know which way to point that so you can be
very intentional about your exposures. So we’re going to talk about this. The first
thing you need to understand is this thing right here. This is called a Lumisphere. It’s this little white dome and they come in all different sizes, but they have the
same shape which is a half sphere. What that’s doing is it’s gathering all of
the light in a 180 degrees, so all the light over here, all the
light here, all the light here, all the light up there, all the light down here. It’s gathering all of that light and it’s averaging it to a middle gray, for a proper exposure. So, when you have light like this, so I’ve set up this softbox here, very, very strong side light
on Sofía, so this side of her face is illuminated, this side of her face is
totally falling into shadow. So, if I want to make sure that I expose for the
shadows and the highlights, I want to take into account all of these different
types of light here, the dark and the light. I need to point my Lumisphere at
the camera because what that Lumisphere is doing is it’s taking this light and it’s
averaging it with this shadow, and that’s going to preserve our shadows. So some
people call that metering for the shadows because you’re going to preserve the detail in that shadow area, but if I don’t care about the shadows, I want to get a really high contrast to secure a kind of look, well then I would meter toward
the light. Now that Lumisphere is only seeing the light coming from our key
light here and it’s ignoring all these shadows here, so what that’s going to do
is give us a different exposure and all these shadows are going to fall into
darkness. Now, to illustrate this we do a couple of meter readings here so I have
my camera set up to ISO 200. I have it set to my sync speed which is about 125th of a second and what I’m going to do here is I’m going
to take a meter reading toward the camera right here. We do that, and that’s metering right at 7.1. Now if I take this and I meter it to the key light, just like
that, now I get a reading of f 9, so there are two very different exposures, so let me show you these exposures. We’ve already taken some pictures earlier. Now this
first image at 7.1, you can see that we’ve preserved the shadow detail and our
highlights are a little bit hotter than in this second picture where I metered just
for the highlights. Now our shadows have fallen totally into darkness and our
highlights are exposed a little bit darker and so we have two different
pictures with two different metering styles. One, we’re preserving the highlights, the other we’re preserving the shadows and that’s how that works. Now in practical
terms usually you might have more than one light so if you do, if you have
several lights and you want to meter for different light ratios, well you would
meter to one light and just expose that to the Lumisphere and the meter to the second
light and see what the difference is. Or if you have a hair light or a kicker light,
something that’s coming this way toward the camera, well obviously you would have to point your meter to that light to see how much light is falling on your
subject so you’re metering for the highlights on your subject, metering for the highlights on your subject’s hair, metering for the highlights on your subject’s face but
when you want to average everything and get a total exposure you point that to
the camera and get that entire meter reading. Now that we know that theory we’re going to shoot some pictures and show you our results. Well that’s all there is to it. If you want to make sure you preserve your shadow detail, meter to the camera. If you don’t care about your shadows, meter to the light. And you can see by the shots that we got, we were able to create some really high-contrast images that preserve some shadows and also some where the shadows fall completely into
darkness. And that was as simple as just pointing the meter at the right place. Well, thank you so much for joining me in
this episode of ‘Exploring Photography’. Don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV. That way you don’t miss a single episode and also check out the Adorama Learning Center. There are hundreds of videos all about photography and specifically about
light ratios and metering and Lumispheres and all that kind of stuff so
check it out. It’s absolutely free. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank
you Sofía for being a fantastic model today. I will see you again next time

64 thoughts on “Proper Metering Technique: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

  • April 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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    Crystal clear.
    You are probable the first one to explain the difference by metering towards the camera vs metering towards the light and showing the difference by shots taken with different values,
    99% of the tutorials are telling people YOU HAVE TO MEASURE TOWARDS THE LIGHT !!
    Well it's cleared now, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • April 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm
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    Good explanation Mark. Have a safe trip.

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  • April 12, 2016 at 2:32 pm
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    Are you in Mexico City? If so, are you planning some kind of workshop or something? Thanks for the video!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm
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    Good video. How's the bike doing?

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  • April 12, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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    can you link me to a video on metering with just the camera?

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  • April 12, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    Excellent explanation Mark! Great quality presentation as usual!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 4:23 pm
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    I was looking for a video like this. Thanks Mark!! Next explain us how to read light without light meter by exploiting the sunny 16 rule, and showing us all the different light conditions!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm
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    Thank you Mark for these explanations.

    I was always a bit puzzled about THE TRUTH: in the various episodes I have always (mostly?) see you pointing the meter to the camera and your good friend Gavin Hoyen pointing his meter to… the main light.

    Now, I suggest to have a session together… I suppose this is a matter of style and taste.

    Reply
  • April 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm
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    Great video and very informative… it took me a moment to think of who your model favored and then it hit me… Tilda Swinton!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm
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    Merci pour cette vidéo, qui explique bien comment mesurer la lumière avec le flashmètre. je possède cet instrument mais je ne savais pas comment l'utiliser. Un grand merci !!!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 9:09 pm
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    About metering back to the camera: If your key light is farther than 45 degrees from the camera and you meter to the camera you're going to get overexposure.

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  • April 12, 2016 at 9:49 pm
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    great video!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 11:20 pm
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    Thank you, Mark!

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  • April 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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    Sekonic must spend a fortune getting these videos made to keep their business alive! I mean if it wasn't for respected photographers telling people they need a light meter they'd of died out years ago! Look at the screen and if you like what you see keep shooting if you don't change something. Also use a bit of creatively and don't rely on an over priced gadget that can only tell you what's 50% grey!!

    Reply
  • April 12, 2016 at 11:51 pm
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    Great video Mark! Always good to remind us how to properly use our light meters 🙂

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  • April 13, 2016 at 6:09 am
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    Thank you Mark!!

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  • April 13, 2016 at 7:11 am
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    Had a feeling it worked like this, but nice to see an video about it here 🙂
    Good to know for low key

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  • April 13, 2016 at 10:50 am
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    Very simply and clearly explained, thank you!

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  • April 13, 2016 at 8:16 pm
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    Great explanation 🙂
    What kind of music is that, I think it is cool :), composer ?

    Reply
  • April 13, 2016 at 10:52 pm
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    Thank you, Mark

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  • April 14, 2016 at 1:05 am
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    Mark how can I use Key light and fill light and how to set them properly?

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  • April 14, 2016 at 3:37 am
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    Great info here and presented well. Sophia has a wonderful look. Very interesting face to photograph.

    Reply
  • April 16, 2016 at 3:57 pm
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    Mark, how on Earth did you trigger remotely the flash with an L-308S?

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  • April 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm
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    Great demonstration… and good music at the end, too (starting at 3:50).

    Reply
  • April 18, 2016 at 9:53 am
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    The most sensible video on flash metering on youtube bar none.

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  • April 18, 2016 at 9:07 pm
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    very interesting video , thank Mr Mark

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  • April 19, 2016 at 2:49 am
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    Today I learned something new. Tyvm for sharing.

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  • April 27, 2016 at 2:18 am
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    I meter by taking a photo and seeing how it looks on the screen 😛

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  • May 15, 2016 at 6:13 am
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    Best explanation!!!

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  • May 26, 2016 at 12:46 am
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    What a beautiful girl.

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  • June 2, 2016 at 12:27 am
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    beautiful model 😍😍

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  • June 22, 2016 at 8:06 am
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    As always, fabulous tutorial Mark. Thanks!

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  • July 3, 2016 at 8:15 pm
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    ya this what we were confusing about proper direction, now we get it

    Thanks Mark

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  • September 8, 2016 at 12:26 am
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    Great video. A question, is Sofia a profesional model? And how can we connect to her? Is she from Mexico? Thank you.

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  • November 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm
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    Thanks again for such a great tip Mark Wallace!

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  • December 27, 2016 at 4:30 am
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    do azul sofia got an instag? she got quite unique looks to her.
    id be interested in contacting her if anybody knows how to get a hold of her. thanks

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  • January 5, 2017 at 1:37 am
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    Thank you for having an expert on this topic. The way Mark explain it, makes totally sense. Let's shoot better pic's now.

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  • January 8, 2017 at 4:23 am
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    Unless I missed it…can anyone tell me what might happen if you metered facing toward the shadows? As in, not toward the camera or the light?

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  • January 10, 2017 at 3:43 pm
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    Great video. Hard to find this kind of instruction.

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  • January 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm
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    Exactly that i was looking for !! Fabulous. Can you give more examples, when you have keylight, fill light. Must i mesure all light together ? one by One ? face to camera or not. Example : When i mesured, the key light F8, then fill F4.. and i re mesure key light with fill light… the global mesure was changed… so On my camera i need to modify F8 to up.. but i don't want.. All because i added the fill light…. can you please advise?

    Reply
  • February 24, 2017 at 10:15 am
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    Mark, another phenomenal tutorial! THANK YOU!

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  • March 20, 2017 at 1:02 am
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    so good.

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  • June 8, 2017 at 3:31 pm
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    I loved the simplicity here. What if you have a kicker or backlight on the hair..how does knowing that exposure help though…exposing for that light source alone…should I be exposing somewhere in the middle for all light sources measured then?

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  • August 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm
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    Thank you so much!! Excellent video that answered all of my questions.

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  • August 27, 2017 at 12:57 am
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    helpfull…..

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  • October 7, 2017 at 3:34 pm
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    Mark, what specific lighting equipment did you use in this video?

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  • October 9, 2017 at 1:08 am
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    There is more to metering than you have explained!…tell the whole story!

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  • October 31, 2017 at 8:22 pm
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    the meter in both cases is at different distances to the main source of the light which gives you different readings. if the source was not so close to the face the readings would most probably be the same.

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  • December 2, 2017 at 1:38 am
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    Thnx for this

    Reply
  • January 18, 2018 at 3:48 pm
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    Hi all, very new To photography so trying to educate myself. Does
    The light meter tell you what setting to have your camera on or just tells you what light is in the room? Thanks

    Reply
  • January 20, 2018 at 12:10 am
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    This is great, thanks for posting the tutorial. I've been shooting film (motion picture and still photography: 35mm, 16mm, Super8, etc) for years but have only recently become interested in shooting with strobes. This is exactly the tutorial I need!

    Reply
  • February 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm
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    Do Azul Sofía have an ig, anybody can tell me?

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  • February 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm
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    Woow her eyes are just hypnotizing!

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  • June 6, 2018 at 9:29 am
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    It's ISO, not I.S.O. One word, not an acronym. I find it weird that so many pros aswell as educators don't get this right.

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  • August 2, 2018 at 7:28 am
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    Hallelujah and there endeth a longish period of bewilderment and confusion with so many conflicting truths from so many different voices… Logic prevails 🙂 thank you, + liked, I'm already subscribed 🙂

    Reply
  • August 21, 2018 at 11:21 pm
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    It's Lorde!

    Reply
  • October 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm
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    Yeah,but what do you do with the number u get from the meter.

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  • October 24, 2018 at 6:23 pm
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    Expose for the highlights and use white board or whatever to glow those shadows up

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  • November 13, 2018 at 10:23 pm
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    This model is deep… I liked when she started modelling as opposed to standing still. Very artistic.

    Reply
  • December 29, 2018 at 7:05 pm
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    Great tutorial. Just a question! Why do you meter from under her chin? Is it okay to meter from her nose pointed to the camera? Everyone I've talked with does it from the nose to the camera. Is that okay too?

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  • January 15, 2019 at 8:35 pm
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    Hello! Mark, Thanks for this valuable informative video. I have an issue with my meter, Previously it used to show me the ISO in increments of 100,200,400,and so on, but recently when I took out my meter to use it after a long time, its suddenly showing me ISO in increments of 87,170,340 and so on, What could have gone wrong? Please help me to reset it back to normal ISO speeds. Thanks.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2019 at 6:04 pm
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    Thanks a lot for this. Finally someone explains.
    One question.. If the meter has the option to shift the lumisphere in and out, should i use it inserted when i measure towards te lamps?

    Reply
  • March 2, 2019 at 8:52 pm
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    Of course another way to preserve the shadows is to make sure that the shadows are no more than 2.5 stops under the highlights.
    And pointing to the camera does NOT preserve the shadows if the shadows are 3 stops less than the highlights. This will only work if the mod and angle are sufficient to give wrap. (and light does NOT bend and wrap, only seems to).
    There are more important reasons to aim at the camera.
    To measure if overlapping of light will give too much exposure on an important part of the subject.
    If the part facing the camera is already at ETTR, then overlap from other lights could blow it out.

    Reply
  • June 28, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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    Nice and informative, Thank you Mark.

    Reply

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