Metering? Someone told me to do this? Wondering...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ababysean, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    At the very beginning meter ONCE. Take your subject or your palm if its close to the subjects skin color and fill your ENTIRE camera screen with their skin. Meter off this. For Caucasians you meter one stop above the '0'. After you do this meter at the beginning of the shoot IGNORE your light meter unless you have drastic change in light.
    Your meter will change ALL THE TIME. It will read your background and your foreground and try to find a happy medium. So if you background is pure white its going to scream over exposed when your background doesn't matter and you will end up underexposing your subject
     
  2. o hey tyler

    o hey tyler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What are you wondering? This seems to be more of a statement...?
     
  3. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    woops! I just copied and paste what they wrote and didn't post my question!

    I am wondering if this is a good technique to use? I seem to have a problem with their being different skin tones in the same person, same session, same location.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Which of the 3 metering modes are you using?
     
  5. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    Usually I use center weighted, sometimes spot.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, the method described by the OP is an attempt to equalize all exposures made during a session. A similar method is to take an incident light meter reading, which will help you "peg the high tones" and will allow the shadows to fall where they may...

    Using the described method will eliminate shot-to-shot variations on sequentially-made photos, which can actually be desirable...many times it is best to get the highlight exposure "nailed" or as I call it, "pegged", and then disregard the meter's variations caused by large expanses of background which is relatively unimportant.

    One issue about metering a lighter tone, like a Caucasian palm and then opening up one f/stop; that makes perfect sense if your meter is dumb and color-blind: if you have a Nikon camera that has color-aware light metering, it can tell, by color analysis of the red,green,and blue values, what the actual color of the object being metered actually is, so it's not necessary to open up one stop. For the majority of other cameras, opening up one f/stop or a little bit more, will ensure that Caucasian skin is rendered about the right brightness value in the final shots.

    One place where the OP's metering method does work splendidly is when photographing a person in front of a dark background, like a hedge or treeline. A person standing in front of dark trees or hedges when using centertweighted or "dumb matrix" metering will often require an exposure that is around 1 and 2/3 f/stops darker than what the light meter indicates, to avoid over-exposing the person. So, let's say you want to shoot a family group or individual portrait session using a dark, shaded shrub hedge or bunch of dark foliage as your background...as you zoom in and out, including more or less person and more or less background, the exposures will yo-yo all over the place, when what you REALLY WANT is a good,steady exposure that has been "pegged" for the brightest highlight values on the person's skin...so, in front of a dark backdrop, a shutter speed faster than the meter indicates is needed, faster by around by 1 to 1 and 2/3 or even 2 full f/stops' worth of exposure,is often needed to get the skin tones pegged.

    So, yes, the method the OP asks about is a good method. One caveat to keep in mind: using Manual exposure mode, a variable aperture zoom lens will lose aperture value as it is zoomed out...the method of metering the OP asked about works best with prime lenses or fixed maximum aperture zoom lenses.
     
  7. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    This is what she told me as well... I never heard such a thing! All this time I've been chunking all the photos where the background is blown!

    Of course the background is blown. I meter for skin. If I had metered for the sky to be correctly exposed they would have been 2-3 steps underexposed. You cannot get skin AND sky exposed together since the sky is way way way lighter than skin.
    The ONLY way to get the sky exposed correctly AND skin is to use a flash and i dont use flash.


     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, no, there is not one "ONLY" way...the easiest, and I think the best way, is to use reflector fill,not flash. The second way is to buy a Nikon D3x or a Fuji S5 Pro or S3 Pro...those cameras have exceptional dynamic range in backlighting. Reflector fill is easy to visually check out.
     
  9. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    I'm so excited about this I'm going right now to check it out! lol
    Even though it is 1040am and I'm sure too bright to test.
     

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