gray card and meetering mode.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ghache, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    I have a question about using a grey card for exposure.


    using a grey card, what type of meetering should i use? point meetering?
    lets say i have a subject at 10 feet on a white background . should i just leave my camera in matrix meetering and set exposure with the gray card in the picture? how large should the gray card cover my view to get an accurate reading? same thing for white balance?


    please help!
     
  2. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    The card should cover the entire view (or most of it) if I read correctly. If you have a small one that can't do this, you can always have it centered and use spot metering. As to what metering you should use, it depends on what you're shooting. If you want to meter for only a certain part of an image, use center or spot metering, for an evenly exposed shot, I use evaluative metering.
     
  3. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    allright, this s what i tought,

    on the other hand, if i use point meetering to take the reading and put that point on the gray card and then take the reading. meetering should be allright?
     
  4. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    thanks!
     
  5. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    Remember that for a card to be useful, it needs to be in the same lighting that your subject will be in. Meaning if you are shooting something that's 20+ feet in front of you where the lighting is darker/lighter, and you meter off the card that's in front of the camera under different lighting, you're really not helping much. For example: I've always seen portrait photographers walk up to the model, put the card right next to their face, then meter off the card, remember the exposure, and walk back to where they're shooting from.
     
  6. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    make sense
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Fill the frame with the card. If you have to get closer, that's OK. (the metering mode won't matter if you fill the frame with the grey card).
    As mentioned, the card has to be where the model is (where the light is).

    Have the camera in manual mode and adjust the settings until the 'needle' zeroes out. Then you can back up and compose your shot how you want...keeping the settings that you got from the grey card.

    Keep in mind that if you want your background to be white in the photo, while having the subject properly exposed, you will need to have the background be brighter by about two stops.
     
  8. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    Thanks ! i will work on that and practice!
     
  9. jnm

    jnm TPF Noob!

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    if you tend to expose about a stop beyond the middle of the meter would you still use the middle for the gray card or would you set it based on where you end up taking the shot, +1 stop?
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The card is just to give you a base level. It gives you 'proper exposure' for the light that is falling on your card/subject.
    The advantage of using the card, over using the camera's meter on the subject, is that the card is the exact tone that the camera's meter is calibrated for, where as the subject is likely brighter and/or darker than 18% grey...and might thus fool your camera's meter.

    So the grey card method gives you 'proper' exposure...that certainly doesn't mean you have to use that exposure. If you want to exposure for a stop brighter, then you can do that. There really isn't a right or wrong...this is art, not rocket surgery ;).
     
  11. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    You might also want to try and adjust your white balance using your gray card.

    I see you are shooting with a D90, so this is how you would do it. Grab your gray card, do the same thing mentioned above in regards to filling your field of view with the card and subjecting it to the same light source. Then hold your WB button and turn your main command dial to "PRE". Now hold the WB button down; PrE will flash on your LCD. Take a photo of your gray card. GOOD will flash if the shot was acceptable. After GOOD flashes, press the WB button again, and you are now good to go with your custom white balance.
    Now if you go under your shooting menu, the 5th option down is White Balance (should say PRE), press the right arrow into, then the right arrow again at the PRE submenu. You will see your WB reference photo labeled d-0, you can store up to 5 (d-0 thru d-4). You can edit comments/labels for each reference, and you can go in and fine tune them.
     
  12. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    Thanks.

    i am definetly getting a grey card this weekend. :lol:
     

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