Light Meters

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by droyz2000, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

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    I have been working at a photo studio for about 3 months. I would say that it is a step up from JC Penny's or similar but it is no where close to a private studio in terms of quality. While I have been there, not once have I seen or been able to use a light meter, which can make for some crappy shots. I was wondering it is common practice in studios to not use a light meter and just use the screen on the back of the camera to see if your lighting is good?
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    they probably never even change their exposure unless the background changes...
    and the settings are probably written down on a card somewhere.
     
  3. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

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    You may think that and while that is a good idea, they do not have anything written down. We are told that 1/60 and F11 are what we are to shoot at all the time and just adjust the lights to fit those specs. I have started to shoot and am left taking a picture looking at it on the camera and trying to adjust my lights so that I get the correct exposure for 60 and 11. Because the screen is so small it is difficult to tall how off the lights can be.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    If nothing changes, as far as position of the subject and lights...there would be little need to change the exposure settings.

    I have a light meter, I use it to get a base reading when I set up my lights...but after a few test shot, I just use the LCD screen to see what I'm getting and adjust accordingly. Note that I don't necessarily use the image to evaluate...I use the histogram.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've used the histogram here and there to see where to make minor changes, but since I have started to practice more with studio strobes, I've come to better know and understand the kind of histogram that I can associate with a properly exposed pic as I see it in the camera's LCD.

    Another vote for the histogram and LCD method.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Note that I've never worked in a studio before so this is just pure opinion of an ignorant fool, but I no longer see a use for light metres. Even studios these days shoot with digital backs what's wrong with setting up the light pushing the button and checking the results? People who use light metres probably come from a non-digital background where it was necessary but this isn't the case today unless you're still shooting some form of film.
     
  7. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

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    I completely agree with what Big Mike is say however, we move the lights and the people all over the place in the studio. Everything is constantly changing as we change what backgrounds we use. I guess it would not be such a concern but the people who have worked at this studio for years still do not get consistently proper exposures.
     
  8. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Then a light meter would be a big help, yes meters were indispensable when shooting film and Big Mike with his setup and knowledge will adjust accordingly for a good exposure but I doubt he transgresses much from the metered reading, but in the situation you describe with changing backdrops and moving your subjects you should still use one for your base exposure, now you can chimp till you get it right, but whats the point, a $200 flash meter, plug in, press button and you'll get a reading from your subject or whatever for a correct exposure, bang these settings in the camera and off you go. H
     
  9. droyz2000

    droyz2000 TPF Noob!

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    That is all I am trying to suggest. A light meter would save time for everyone because with one push you can get spot on what you need to shoot at, instead of narrowing down with a couple of shots.
     
  10. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    correct, you cant teach your granny how to suck eggs, as they say. H
     
  11. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    A flash meter with a 1 degree spot attachment is absolutely freakin killer for really precise portraits.
     
  12. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Digital has less latitude than film. It's crucial if you want a high quality portrait to have a flash meter, and to have it calibrated to your camera. You need a precise exposure when dealing with faces and skin, if you want the end product to be high quality, especially when factoring in retouching and other special effects. Professional portrait photographers do not use the back of the camera, or a laptop screen to take portraits. They use a well calibrated flash meter, and check their metering often. It's a very simple process, and once again, getting things correct in camera is always best.

    As a side note, a histogram is useless in a portrait setup with multiple lights. There is no substitute for metering each light and setting up correct ratios.
     

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