How to Use a Light Meter in 7 Easy Steps

how to use a light meter

If you don’t want to worry about inconsistencies in exposure using an in-camera light meter, especially when using studio lighting, then learn how to use a light meter.

When I bought my first light meter, it seemed so complex.  But it’s really not!

It really is as simple as these 7 steps:

  1. Enter the ISO that’s set on your camera into your light meter.
  2. Extend the round white plastic dome on the meter by turning the wheel.
  3. Aim the light meter (the round white plastic dome part) at your camera’s lens.
  4. Push the button on the side of the meter (or have your subject or assistant push it).
  5. Fire the flash.
  6. Enter the shutter speed and aperture settings, which the meter gives you, into your camera.
  7. Take a perfectly exposed picture.

The End.

A few more light meter pointers:

  • If you’re taking a portrait, have the person hold the light meter under his or her chin.
  • If you change your flash power or the direction of the light, you need to take a new meter reading.
  • If you have a newer light meter model, they are made to be aimed at the camera lens.
  • If you have an older light meter model, they might need to be aimed at the light source. Check your light meter’s user’s guide.

In-camera light meters are great inventions, but using a handheld light meter correctly is an easier way to get a perfect exposure every time. Most people will use their in-camera meter because they’re lazy (like me). If I use a handheld meter, it really cuts the post-processing time because I don’t have to make any exposure corrections in Photoshop or Lightroom. This is a great example of a little more work on the front end leading to less work (and more fabulous images) on the back end.

Don’t Have a Light Meter?

Light meters come in all shapes, sizes and brands. A Sekonic Light Meter is a good trustworthy brand with decent price to boot!  You’ll be so glad you bought one and remember, it will help cut your post-processing time significantly. You just can’t put a price on that!

2 Replies to “How to Use a Light Meter in 7 Easy Steps”

  1. Wow, it really is that easy. I’ve never had anyone explain it to me that way before. I definitely think I’m going to buy the Sekonic. Lovin’ the idea about saving time on editing photos!

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