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Author Topic: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?  (Read 4159 times)

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Offline ramde6

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How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« on: January 03, 2012, 10:01:27 PM »
Hello Pipho, just would like to know how you guys meter for exposure. Do you apply zone system when getting the right exposure? or you just look for a middle gray area in the scene to spot meter on? Gusto ko sana kasi makuha yung correct exposure sa unang shot palang. I've also used the grass and skin to meter on as what ive read over the net, works well but what if you don't have neither on the scene your shooting? Kindly share your techniques.

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How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« on: January 03, 2012, 10:01:27 PM »

Offline carl.casequin

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 11:04:20 PM »
I'm not well versed on this subject so I will try to follow this thread.


Offline dean

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 10:02:02 AM »
what exactly do you mean when you say "correct exposure"? 

Offline jnx414

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 10:20:30 AM »
for spot what i do is meter on a middle gray area kung meron. otherwise i meter somewhere near darks and lights meet or where i want to emphasize the limited light i have.

correct exposure is subjective i don't follow the traditional histogram shape. using spot metering to get correct exposure for me is controlling how i use the limited light sa scene, my histogram may end up either more to the shadows than the highlights or vice versa.  play with limited ambient light and use different metering modes para makita mo difference how the meter reads light.

with the d90 though i seldom use spot metering na, i always use matrix.  with my limited experience with canon dslrs i find their evaluative metering more accurate than nikon kaya i always stick with evaluative with a canon.
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 01:30:47 PM »
what exactly do you mean when you say "correct exposure"? 

Hi Sir, what i meant with correct exposure is when it is neither underexposed nor overexposed.

for spot what i do is meter on a middle gray area kung meron. otherwise i meter somewhere near darks and lights meet or where i want to emphasize the limited light i have.

correct exposure is subjective i don't follow the traditional histogram shape. using spot metering to get correct exposure for me is controlling how i use the limited light sa scene, my histogram may end up either more to the shadows than the highlights or vice versa.  play with limited ambient light and use different metering modes para makita mo difference how the meter reads light.

with the d90 though i seldom use spot metering na, i always use matrix.  with my limited experience with canon dslrs i find their evaluative metering more accurate than nikon kaya i always stick with evaluative with a canon.

Hi sir, thank you very much for your share!

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 01:43:35 PM »
kanya kanyang approach talaga. what i do in the absence of grass or humans/animals is to meter the subject or something in the subject that is not too dark or too lit. i only use spot metering on back-lit subjects or if the sky is cloudy sometimes fooling the camera meter, basta there are lighting conditions that will do this. for me, so long as your subject is properly exposed, then the rest should not matter, kahit ba na over exposed ang langit.

proper exposure is indeed subjective. sometimes, i would over expose girly pics just so that they appear fairer  ::) another instance where i would use spot metering is if i am metering for the sky, making silhouette shots. some people swear by the histogram, i dont  :P

i am not familiar with the zone system so i am not an expert, but i believe that these things should be left for the camera to calculate so that we can just concentrate on the composition. i hope i understood your question well enough  :o :o :o

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 02:01:52 PM »
kanya kanyang approach talaga. what i do in the absence of grass or humans/animals is to meter the subject or something in the subject that is not too dark or too lit. i only use spot metering on back-lit subjects or if the sky is cloudy sometimes fooling the camera meter, basta there are lighting conditions that will do this. for me, so long as your subject is properly exposed, then the rest should not matter, kahit ba na over exposed ang langit.

proper exposure is indeed subjective. sometimes, i would over expose girly pics just so that they appear fairer  ::) another instance where i would use spot metering is if i am metering for the sky, making silhouette shots. some people swear by the histogram, i dont  :P

i am not familiar with the zone system so i am not an expert, but i believe that these things should be left for the camera to calculate so that we can just concentrate on the composition. i hope i understood your question well enough  :o :o :o

Thanks for the insight! I just would like to know if you find your self using spot metering most of the time?

Offline pitbull

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 02:17:37 PM »
hello,

not really. i use matrix most of the time. the only time i would use spot is if the lighting condition is tricky.

when i was shooting film with my canon T60 back then, i get ugly results because i still do not know and cannot distinguish which lighting conditions would require spot metering. i am at the present starting to shoot film again and what i learned in shooting digital certainly helps me in determining which shots i would need spot metering. :o :o :o

the most used metering modes for me is matrix, followed by spot. i never use center weighted because i do not know what it does,really  ::) im sure that it is useful, im just ignorant about it :P

some studio product shots will require spot metering,too... i shot a white porcelain product on a light background. and it confused my D90(which i used then). this is one of the scenarios where in i started learning to use spot metering.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2012, 02:26:57 PM »
hello,

not really. i use matrix most of the time. the only time i would use spot is if the lighting condition is tricky.

when i was shooting film with my canon T60 back then, i get ugly results because i still do not know and cannot distinguish which lighting conditions would require spot metering. i am at the present starting to shoot film again and what i learned in shooting digital certainly helps me in determining which shots i would need spot metering. :o :o :o

the most used metering modes for me is matrix, followed by spot. i never use center weighted because i do not know what it does,really  ::) im sure that it is useful, im just ignorant about it :P

some studio product shots will require spot metering,too... i shot a white porcelain product on a light background. and it confused my D90(which i used then). this is one of the scenarios where in i started learning to use spot metering.

Thank you for sharing! Very informative.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2012, 02:54:48 PM »
I read somewhere that spot (and partial) metering is used when your subject (at the center) is poorly-lit and against a bright background, the article described it as the subject and background have high contrast. if the subject is sufficiently-lit, you can use center-weighted average, otherwise, use evaluative metering.

kagaya din ng sabi ni pitbull, pwedeng subjective din kasi yung exposure..

see this sample:


you can see that the "properly-exposed" image is worse than the "under-exposed" image, based on the metering mode used.
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Offline carl.casequin

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 02:56:49 PM »
If you are asking getting the correct exposure with just one shot (without bracketing of course) then there is a light meter.

A sekonic light meter can help since it can meter a one degree of light reading. With the lightmeter you can then get exact exposure regardless if the scene is backlit. For landscape you may need to get the average metering of the entire area, this is done with the sekonic really easy but you have to remember the readings in order to average it. This approach is tedious but after the process you can have just one shot just like in film days.

With matrix metering you may need to bracket your shots but you will need to bracket for +-1 stop and +-2 stops separately for some camera.

Hope this helps...



Offline pitbull

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 03:50:22 PM »
galing nun animated gif  :o :o :o

i have a lightmeter also  ::) but i use it for chroma   ::)

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2012, 03:58:47 PM »
I use matrix metering for landscape and CWA for portraiture.

I learned the sunny 16 technique so that I can at least estimate the exposure reading within at least a stop. It also helps me a lot with exposure compensation because I never shoot in full manual unless shooting at night, using flash or stitching panos.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 05:02:50 PM »
I hope you will find this thread useful:
http://www.pinoyphotography.org/forum/index.php?topic=577.0

Offline jnx414

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2012, 06:16:59 PM »
for me, so long as your subject is properly exposed, then the rest should not matter, kahit ba na over exposed ang langit.

proper exposure is indeed subjective. sometimes, i would over expose girly pics just so that they appear fairer  ::) another instance where i would use spot metering is if i am metering for the sky, making silhouette shots. some people swear by the histogram, i dont  :P

same kami ni rico ganito din ako. take note that the camera's meter reading is just a guide giving you a setting from which you can either stick with or adjust to your liking.  that's the same treatment i have for the histogram, it's just a guide.

noong gamit ko at d80 pa ayun kagulo ang metro.  i can only use either spot or center but with the cameras now matrix/evaluative more or less gives the exposure i want.  some instances would really push you to use spot like dun sa sinabi ni rico na white porcelain on a light background or a poorly lit foreground against a strongly-lit background. it has its own use pa din naman.
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2012, 08:19:16 PM »
You don't need middle gray to use the spot metering, the basic of zone system is that know what zone is that shade/color your metering. Example white is +2 exposure, so you zero your camera light meter to +2, while black is -2, Dark colored leaves are -1, light colored leaves are +1, etc.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2012, 08:32:15 PM »
is it true that human skin is generally the middle grey?

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2012, 08:38:59 PM »
is it true that human skin is generally the middle grey?

It depends on the complexion of the person.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2012, 09:13:09 PM »
There are several schools of thought regarding correct exposure.  Methods also vary.  In the old days before matrix and computers, spot metering is a big advantage.  And we used to meter only with our eyes since in the old days, a camera with a light meter is expensive.  Use whatever you are used to and that which consistently provide good results.  The zone system of Ansel Adams is a good start.  It's always better to determine beforehand which part of the scene or image where you want more detail.  Photography is all about light.  If you can see it.  You can shoot it.
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2012, 09:25:57 PM »
is it true that human skin is generally the middle grey?

many people regard the middle grey concept as a myth. people even believe that camera makers set their meters to this shade. this is what i read somewhere in the net a long time ago :o :o :o

personally, as long as the subject(people, leaves, cars, etc) is in perfect exposure, then the rest should not matter at all, at least this is how i look at it. this goes for focus as well.

the middle grey concept is actually very useful, we even use that in airbrushing and i believe some painters use this concept as well. for us, we call this "neutral grey"

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2012, 12:22:05 AM »
There are several schools of thought regarding correct exposure.  Methods also vary.  In the old days before matrix and computers, spot metering is a big advantage.  And we used to meter only with our eyes since in the old days, a camera with a light meter is expensive.  Use whatever you are used to and that which consistently provide good results.  The zone system of Ansel Adams is a good start.  It's always better to determine beforehand which part of the scene or image where you want more detail.  Photography is all about light.  If you can see it.  You can shoot it.

+1

It's important to determine which scene you want details. Because of the limited dynamic range of the digital camera preserving details on the highlights or shadows might result in the lost of the other. So if you want details on the white spot meter on the white, anything higher than +2 EV will result in blown highlight, the same goes in the shadows never go pass -2 EV, otherwise details will be lost.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2012, 01:06:43 AM »
+1 on this last post of estib and greenfield54. that is how to control light in a scene regardless if you're using spot or other metering modes. in the end you decide what and how your subject should be lit.
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2012, 09:46:14 AM »
is it true that human skin is generally the middle grey?

estib is right it would depend on the subjects complexion. From a tutorial i've read online, as a guide, Halle Berry's skin is the perfect example of middle grey, if your subject's skin is lighter then you should compensate it by overexposing the shot and vice versa if the skin tone is darker.



Thanks everyone for sharing. I really appreciate everything that you have posted here!





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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2012, 10:59:37 AM »
Try shooting a dark person wearing a white suit.  You'll get blown suit or underexposed head unless you bracket (not practical) or adjust in PP.
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2012, 11:55:35 AM »
I used spot metering the other night to take a picture of the moon - I was able to capture the moon details with the haze around it, unlike a moon with a completely flat background when I used matrix metering.

I'm not sure though if it was because of the change of metering or an effect of a very cloudy night.  ;)

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2012, 12:08:54 PM »
Try shooting a dark person wearing a white suit.  You'll get blown suit or underexposed head unless you bracket (not practical) or adjust in PP.
i was hesitant to share this sana kanina baka magalit ang mga medyo maitim, but since you started it na, i will follow  ::)

i have friends na maitim, sri lankans, southern indians, blacks etc. you really have to know how to expose properly when they are in a group of fair skinned people, kahit asians lang  :o :o :o medyo tricky hehehe.

if you expose it properly, iitim lalo yun friend mo. if you meter the dark skinned guy, off na yun iba. what i do is just play with the EV na lang hehe or lightroom :P

white subjects, shadows give it detail. dark subjects, the highlights and reflection gives it detail. yan na lang iniisip ko.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2012, 09:35:49 PM »
i was hesitant to share this sana kanina baka magalit ang mga medyo maitim, but since you started it na, i will follow  ::)

i have friends na maitim, sri lankans, southern indians, blacks etc. you really have to know how to expose properly when they are in a group of fair skinned people, kahit asians lang  :o :o :o medyo tricky hehehe.

if you expose it properly, iitim lalo yun friend mo. if you meter the dark skinned guy, off na yun iba. what i do is just play with the EV na lang hehe or lightroom :P

white subjects, shadows give it detail. dark subjects, the highlights and reflection gives it detail. yan na lang iniisip ko.
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2012, 12:32:47 PM »
if your subject's skin is lighter then you should compensate it by overexposing the shot and vice versa if the skin tone is darker.
/quote]

same goes with a scene.. tried shooting a beach scene.. white sand..
normal exposure.. sands turned gray..

tried spot metering, overexposed to 1/3 stops and worked my way up..
got the exposure i wanted..

this is what drive others crazy, including me... ;D ;D ;D

you overexpose the meter of a bright scene and vice versa?

inputs pa mga masters..  :) :) :)
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2012, 06:56:23 PM »
thank you for this information.

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2012, 10:14:24 AM »
Thanks for the insights

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2012, 04:23:06 PM »
i have friends na maitim, sri lankans, southern indians, blacks etc. you really have to know how to expose properly when they are in a group of fair skinned people, kahit asians lang  :o :o :o medyo tricky hehehe.

if you expose it properly, iitim lalo yun friend mo. if you meter the dark skinned guy, off na yun iba.

hahaha totoo lalo na kung makinang na yung skin. masakit sa ulo sila shoot.  :D
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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2012, 10:49:46 PM »
please continue folks.. ;D

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Re: How do you spot meter for accurate exposure?
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2012, 02:53:18 AM »
A very technical matter that makes me say "wtf, have i been doing things wrong...". lol

Spot metering is a hit or miss for me.  :(

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