Metering Modes And Reflective Light

Reflective light metering modes measure the light that REFLECTS off of your subject and into your camera.

Metering is important because it helps guide a photographer to an amazing exposure!

Modern cameras have built in meters that will determine the correct shutter speed and aperture in any light situation.

Reflective VS Incident Light Meters

Keep in mind. There are TWO TYPES of light metering!

This article will cover REFLECTIVE LIGHT metering.

The other is Incident light. Light that is falling onto your subject or scene. You’ve probably seen these hand-held meters. They have the little white bubble domes on them.

Reflective Metering Modes In Your Camera

Today, cameras have built in light meters that automatically measure the reflective light.

Reflective Light Metering Modes…

Multi Segment Metering

Multi (On Sony), Evaluative (On Canon) OR Matrix (On Nikon)

Different names for different manufacturers. They are all generally the same thing. The standard metering mode on most cameras. Usually it is the default mode unless you change it.

It works by analyzing the entire frame and splitting it into highlight, mid-tone, and shadow zones.

It compares the data from these “zones” with your focus point and offers its best exposure!

This technology keeps improving! Most photographers rely on evaluative (or matrix) mode. It’s great for all types of genres and lighting situations.

Center Weighted

Sometimes the light can get tricky!

If your subject is in an area with shadow, and behind them is a very bright background, it may not be a good idea to use evaluative metering. Why bother metering the blown out, highlighted areas?

A center weighted light metering mode is just that! It favors the center of your frame. You’re telling your camera that the center of the frame is the important part.

Photojournalists sometimes prefer center-weighted. They tend to shoot with closed up apertures and wider lenses. Placing their subjects in the middle of the original photo gives them some wiggle room to crop the image later.

Spot Metering

What happens when your scene is lit unevenly?

What happens when a portion of your scene is dark, and the other portion bright?

Spot Metering only evaluates the light around your focus point.

Use the spot meter to tell the camera which area to concentrate on.

Reflective Light Metering Take-A-Way

Photographers use amazing built in reflective light meters. Meters that come standard with modern cameras.

Be sure to meter and achieve the image you had in mind.

Always be mindful of the light sources and where they are falling around or on your subjects.