Using a light meter...have I got the idea?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by Bend The Light, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Bend The Light

    Bend The Light No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a Shepherd Light Meter which I intend to use in the studio. I just want to be sure I am using it properly.

    So, here is it:


    [​IMG]
    How to use light meter small by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

    So, I decide to read the light coming directly from the studio light, and so set the meter to "incident" with the little dome covering the sensor.
    I set the ISO, in this case to 100.
    I press the flash button on the side which triggers the flash (I have it plugged in to the unit).
    I read 2 LEDs.
    I turn the dial to "2"
    I read off the aperture below (in this case, f2). (measurements are given as 1/125 seconds for shutter)

    If I have shutter at 1/250 I need to open up by a stop (which would mean going to f1.4?)
    If I set the shutter at 1/60, say, I need to stop down by a stop (going to f2.8?)


    So does that sound right? So what if I have 2 lights?

    Another thing - what if I want to read reflected light? I set it to the reflected setting, but this time read the light coming from, say, a person's face. This would read a combination of more than one light?

    Another question - If I make a measurement of the face, reflected light, and then make a reading of reflected light from clothing, for instance, and they are different...what do i set?

    Hopefully there are some folks who can help...I HAVE read the manual, but the manual is about how to take readings, not what to take readings of, or why. :)


     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    No manual?
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Like this manual? Not 100% sure if it's the same model, but it's similar enough to get you going. BTW, you image requires a log-in to a Yahoo! account to view the larger version (which I don't have) and my eyes are too tired to see the small details in the image, so that's about all I can offer.

    Edited to add:

    1. Yes, your procedure sounds right.

    2. Remember, there are two exposures going on here, one is the ambient exposure affected by your shutter-speed, the other is the strobe exposure, affected by the aperture. Determine your ambient light exposure by your shutter-speed, and then ignore it. Adjust the aperture to get the look you want.

    3. When determining your exposure, I generally do it in a specific order: Determine how much ambient light I want in the scene and set the shutter speed to allow that much. Then I position and meter my fill light (having already decided in my mind that I will probably want my fill 'X' stop(s) below the key, then I postion and meter the key.
    4. You wouldn't normally read reflected light in a studio setting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  4. Bend The Light

    Bend The Light No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, which is why I said in the first post that I had read the manual...but it didn't say anything much other than how to take a reading...nothing about why or what readings to take...:)
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Oops, apparently neither Sparky or I can read... :er:
     
  6. Bend The Light

    Bend The Light No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That exact manual, yes. :)

    The aambiant light bit...I get that, because the flash is only firing for sucvh a short time, the shutter can be pretty quick and still get all the light from the flash. If the shutter is slow, it still gets the same flash light but allows more ambient too. I see that. So, to decide how much ambient I want, I just practice and see how the look goes, and if I want none at all, I keep the shutter speed up and meter for the aperture?

    I see that about reflect6ed metering now...make sense. Thanks
     
  7. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    But you need to be aware of your camera's max synch speed.
     
  8. Bend The Light

    Bend The Light No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, it's 1/250th, I think. At least, if I set it to fixed sync, it says 1/250. if I set it otherwise and go into shutter priority or manual, with the flash up, it still only goes as fast as 1/250. So would that be it?

    Thanks
     
  9. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Sounds right, unless you have a Nikon capable of High-Speed Synch, or another manufacturer's equivelant.
     
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