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Back to Basics (Episode 6): Metering Light, Metering Modes and Exposure Compensation

by Philippe Dame on January 20th, 2012

In continuation of my Back to Basics series on core DSLR topics, this 6th instalment covers another set of important and related topics:

  • Metering Light
  • Camera Metering Modes
  • Exposure Compensation

The most important part of knowing how your camera meters light is that you can better predict when it will fail you and how to compensate. This is when you can employ exposure compensation or use a light meter.

Some people don’t even know their DSLR has an exposure compensation feature and/or simply choose to make all exposure adjustments during post-processing. If you find yourself brightening a lot of underexposed photos, you will want to watch this episode. Not only are you wasting time, you’re hurting the overall quality of the photo (see Episode 5 for more on that).

I also outline the metering modes offered by your camera. I can’t say I change my metering mode often as I use any metering as just a starting point. I usually spend more time tweaking my exposure compensation to get it “right”. I also find I spend more and more time in manual mode for full control. That said, even in manual mode I benefit from my camera’s built-in light meter (see “There’s No Such Thing as Manual Mode“).

As usual, I hope you enjoy the video – please share your feedback in the comments below. New topic suggestions are always welcome!

For the best viewing experience, go full screen and select 720p quality.

More Learning

Mark Wallace and the team at Adorama TV’s “Digital Photography One on One” did a great series on metering. Their clear overview contributed greatly to my own understanding and thus to my video.

Don’t forget to watch all episodes of Learning DSLR: Back to Basics.

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