light metering


TPF Noob!
Jul 30, 2010
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Ok friends, I work in a portrait studio, which I love, but we have been taught guidlines. Posing, where to put the light, metering our lights. My question is if i go somewhere w a two light setup, or even one light, how do I know what to meter my subject at? At my job, we meter our main light at 8.05, fill and main together at 11.0, hair lights etc. What confuses me, is how do I figure out what to meter my subject at? Lets say I wanted to shoot around dusk w the sun behind my subject? Help a brother out lol. I have all this equipment available to me and I still have that question in my head. Thanks in advance guys!;)
If your Flash meter does both spot and flash metering, Take off the diffuser and point the spot meter at the sunset, The trick when the sun is in the image is that the ball of the sun itself at snset is about 3 stops brighter than the adjacent sky, So you have to make a decision what you want to expose for. Do you want it dark except for the ball of the sun or do you want to see the light of the sky and have some blowout on the ball of the sun.

Once you have that measurement, Say it is f/8 @1/200 ISO 100

Now measure your flash/Strobe at the subjects face, point the Flash meter ( Now set to flash metering) at the camera position and test fire the flash. Adjust the flash power until you get a reading of f/8 at ISO 100

And you should be good to go with some minor adjustments here or there. The trick to it all is to have a good blend of flash to ambient so the image doesn't look flashy

If you Flash Meter does not do spot or ambient metering, You can use your camera's meter to meter the background and then adjust the Flash Power to match that aperture reading
lets say its a night shoot , and i have one speedlight in a lit up city? im more of a hands on person so bare w me please lol
Set your camera to expose for the background, what ever that may be Say it's f/4 1/25th ISO 800. Set you flash Meter to ISO 800 and then Measure the flash light hitting your model, Adjust flash power till you get f/4 light

If your model does not have a lot of ambient light on them then even with the slow shutter speed you won't see movement on them because the flash will freeze them. But you will need to be ona tripod because camera movement will be seen in the background city lights

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