Monday 2 February 2009

Techniques-Metering my way

Firstly there is no right way of metering a scene, As long as you get the right exposure in your image whether using Manual, Evaluative/matrix, Spot, Centre weighted or whatever its the final image that matters, I know that Martin is a fan of manual metering where he sets both shutter speed and aperture as he mentioned in his post, Well i am a fan of using AV and matrix metering where i set the aperture and control the depth of field but i allow the camera to set the shutter speed although i control this by using exposure compensation if needed, When i used the Canon 1D MK3 i used to start by flicking on the live view feature and view the live histogram,check this and adjust as needed, This way i knew that when i took a shot the exposure would be spot on, A great feature and one i really miss on the Nikon,These days Camera metering is extremely accurate and using both the Canon and Nikon systems i can say that the Nikon system is between 1/3 and 2/3 of a stop better in keeping whites from blowing, I noticed this when shooting side by side with another Canon photographer who was compensating more than me to stop his whites from blowing, This all helps when processing meaning that you need to adjust less to bring the whites or shadows up, I do in certain circumstances use manual mode,These would normally be in heavy snow where i set the camera to manual and spot metering, After i have set the aperture that i want i will then take a reading off of the snow and add 2 stops, This keeps the whites nice and white, I always do a test shot after setting up and then compensate as necessary, I also use manual when shooting at night for badgers, Here i am using flashguns to emualte daylight and know that the light will be constant which is the important thing when using this mode, I have in the past used manual mode in constant light for birds in flight but this is more of a whim for me as i get just as good results using AV, When i set up for manual like Martin i tend to look for a mid toned object (doesn't have to be grey-Could be mid Red,Blue,Green) and meter off of that but if you understand tones you can meter off of parts of the sky and add +2/3,Off of a white subject like a cloud and add between 1.5 and 2 stops or even off of a black subject and take away 2 stops, Its all down to the tone, The histogram that you get with a digital camera is your best friend along with the flashing highlights you should always have a correct or near as damn it exposure, I am a fan of exposing to the right and started to slightly over expose my images before i had ever read about it, It started when shooting Chamois in snow, By slightly over exposing but making sure i didnt blow the whites i noticed that i had better detail in the dark fur, You need to learn to read a histogram and understand what the tones are that are in it, By exposing to the right you are making sure that the maximum amount of tones are present in the image and can then adjust the exposure in processing, Adjusting slight over exposure doesnt cause grain to appear in the final image but bringing up a dark exposure does,This becomes more important when using high ISO where grain can start to show, Careful exposure means that there will be less processing and as such less grain, Once you have used your choice of metering for a while things will start to come naturally and when you look at your subject say a swan you will know of using AV/Evaluative metering that you will need to compensate by say -1/3 or -2/3 to stop the whites blowing-practice,practice and then practice some more and keep an eye on your best friend-the histogram



  1. Thank you for the detailed tips on wildlife photography. I plan to visit Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary to shoot monals and will keep referring to your blogs often.

  2. Good luck with your trip,Let us know how you get on