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