How To Use A Light Meter (Part 2)

How To Use A Light Meter (Part 2)

let’s take a look at it incidents meter reading and see what that’s all about, to take an incident meter reading you’re
gonna need one of these it’s a hand held light meter, my photography used to live or die by these in the days of film because of course I couldn’t have a look to see what my shot looked like. the way it works is this little white cone here it’s called an invercone the place and inside behind a there is a little
reflective light sensor here and that measures how bright the inside this little Coneys
I could use that’s too reflected reading if I wanted but pointy it things but was very much point because
she camera do it far more effectively first thing you do when you got a
hand-held light meter we switch it on and you I think you can say but then
here in the bottom corner there’s a little window this is ISRO
that’s the same as the ISO in your camera seamus make sure that the I say on your
camera is exactly the same as the I say when
you meet a okay in fact I said on the Mater site
look at the camera so I say you’re using set it on your light meter because if
they’re different its gonna give you the wrong exposure because they like me to
work now how sensitive the sensor on your camera
is next what we do is we hold the light meter in front of
our subject like this we point the white kind back
to the camera in so you’ve got the camera on a pointed
at you all I have to do is press the little trigger button on the side that comes up
with an exposure I don’t know if you can see this what
it’s saying is a $500 to the second at F-four point seven so ignore the 0.7
the site 3 laotian why but these are super Acura so there we go and they don’t have to do
is to get my camera pick it up manually set a 500 for the
second F 4.7 500 for the second and i cant get F for his work and a 4.5
is really really close so that should be the correct exposure
and I can line up shot and I can take a picture let’s try on the grill her and indeed we have a nice black dark frame here I don’t know if
you can see if not we’ll but the picture it suppose you want to
use a 4.7 you wanted more depth of field say what is a smaller aperture well all you have to do it is these
little up and down buttons on the side here what that will do is it
will change you aperture so I’ve gone from 4.7 25.6 in the shutter speed when I do it
goes from the five hundredth two or three fiftieth so you can still
choose which aperture you want to use field at the field in your creativity if
you wanted to use F-sixteen kiss you gonna shoot something
you want lots at the the failed you just set it here and it gives you
the shutter speed then you can pop it on to your camera so that the light meter reading from groom 125th the FIA if we go over to the
bride it’s still a 120 for the FAA is changed by point n neva stop the
sings a very sensitive same exposure re both bride and groom
because the same like is falling on them as one big obvious drawback with these
things suppose you’re on the hard even life time you going to the poll he hiked up through the Sibel town to
Namche Bazaar and you looking across to mount everest
which is probably about 25-30 miles away you wanna take a light meter reading
from Mount Everest in the sunrise you know that again hi 25 or 30 miles
through the through the Himalayas to take a rating and even if you did by the
time you got back the light would have changed wouldn’t it bit pointless really that is where the
reflective me to rating if your camera really comes into its own because you
can free up the shot and the camera will tell you what it
thinks now suppose he is a bit of a dollar overcast day with a white Scion
is lotsa snow everywhere you now know that that is going to trick
the camera into making the exposure to dark so all
you have to do mister over expose it a bit set it so
you like me to says that’s a bit too bright and then we’ll probably be about
right because you can take test shots its
digital it doesn’t matter you can just take a shot going to be darkness a bit
raw it was a bit too bright there we go now we know what we want to do and it’s the same the other way around
if you want to shoot something at night you doing night photography the cameras gonna try and brought it up
because it’s a dark subject so you need to tell it to underexposed
you can do this manually at the same with over exposing by the
way to do it manually just as I did we could use the exposure
compensation but if you don’t want talking about take the exposure compensation link
below the film equally these things a brilliant for doing what
we’ve just done port rights close-ups macros products things like that you can
get a perfect exposure every time with one click setting on the camera where
you go brilliant if the light is in changing
the look pretty constant today because the day when the sun’s going out
you gotta keep re metering so they go two different ways to Mater
me the one is right neither one is wrong it’s just about knowing how to use them

100 thoughts on “How To Use A Light Meter (Part 2)”

  1. Hi – I've never heard of pointing an incident meter at the light to get an exposure apart from when measuring flash heads so you can set up their light output. But then you fire the two together with the meter pointing back at the camera to set the exposure. I say point the meter at the camera and expose correctly. Not over or under. – Mike

  2. Hi – If you point the lightmeter's invacone directly at the sun when your subject is at 45 degrees to the sun you'll get a higher light reading and end up under-exposing the image. Another example is if your subject has their back to the sun and you point the light meter at anything other than the camera the reading it'll give you will be way higher than it actually is. – Mike

  3. I've heard both ways but according to Sekonic you point the meter at the camera unless you are trying to isolate light sources to get particular amounts in studio.

    Hey…don't worry dude…we all make mistakes 🙂

  4. Mike is absolutely correct in this video. The lumisphere should be pointed at the camera, or more precisely, in the direction of the light axis of the camera. The lumisphere is a dome to mimic the human face so that it factors in all of the available light wrapping around and coming from all directions. The meter can be pointed directly at key and fill lights when trying to achieve certain ratios but that is different from simply trying to get a proper exposure.

  5. Great video. I m learning lot from your video. U mention about Nepal where I m from. Have u been there to shoot himalaya. Anyway nice job, keep it up. Thank u. Cheers.

  6. If I could have a British accent this is exactly the accent I would want. This accent would play very well with the ladies here in the states,

  7. Sorry, dumpyourtv, but you are mistaken. You can point the invacone to the light source if you are using flash in a studio to tell you what the output is, but outside using ambient light, you aim the cone at the subject. The reason the cone is a semi sphere is to create an average reading of what light the subject is receiving, and a subject recieves light reflected from surroundings as well as the sky. I have been shooting fashion on beaches around the world for 15 years straight, its my job.

  8. Hi Mike,, I'm doing a portrait on white seemless vinyl,, I got light coming in through a large window with verticle blinds up,, therefore casting a nice stripe shadow on my seemless,,, Where do I get my meter reading off ( sekonic L308 ),, do I put the little white ball one the bright or shaded area when taking a reading of the persons face, and the same question with flash through a 'stripped Gobo'.. do I meter the lightest parts of the face or shadow.Or maybe a bit of both ???.

  9. It depends on what you want to achieve. If you meter in the shadow areas the highlights will become very bright. If you meter in the bright areas the shadows will become dark. There's no right or wrong – its up to you to choose the look you want. If you're not sure I suggest doing a metered shot for both so you can see the effect. Hope this helps.. Mike

  10. Thanks for the reply Mike,, I did manage in the end..After making a better 'gobo' to duplicate blinds I worked it out without the meter. I also found out the closer the 'gobo to the subject the sharper the contrast between light and shadow,,, with different results,,,Big thanks……Jiummy

  11. Hi Mike
    Only just found your channel and its a big thumbs up from me,
    Well explained and answers some questions people might be embarrassed to ask.
    Thank You.
    Mark Cook

  12. In the in incident light meter you can also change the shutter speed right?

  13. Hi Ivana – I'd love to do an interview with a pro fashion photographer one day because it's a genre I've never worked on and I'm sure everyone else would be interested too. maybe one day when i'm rich we should do it? But seriously – if you're interested please send me an email via our website. Sorry i missed your post by the way.

  14. It looks very much like the meter is showing 4.07, not 4.7

    Forward to @2:34, you can see very well that you are toggling between 4.07 and 5.62

    why drop the middle number? if you do, the second reading would mean 5..2 instead of 5.62

  15. MMmmm – well…. I can see the possible advantage of Lumidisk when metering for archival photographic copying but I've never used one and everything works fine. I think it falls more into the 'here's another gadget we can sell you' category.

  16. I do not agree.
    If the ball is pointed at the subject you measure the reflected light and the incident light.
    The result obtained would be similar to the value detected by the camera.

    There is an external exposure meter with the pointer. In this case you can make measurements of reflected light at various points and obtain the average.

    Thank you for the videos you've made​​. They are built well (with great sound).

  17. Hey thank you. Please help us spread the word and grow the community by 'liking' 'G+ing', sharing our videos and linking to us on photo forums, Facebook etc

  18. Great video!

    When someone watching your videos asked you what light meter to buy, what would you answer?

    My opinion would be that most average Youtube watchers probably won't get good value for their investment.

    What do you think?

  19. Thank you. I agree that for most people a hand held meter won't be a great investment because it's so easy to check exposure in the camera and adjust it if you need to. With film there were no second chances – you had to get it right. I only use a hand held to meter studio lights these day. Sekonic are good and not too expensive…

  20. Thank you so very much for explaining the why and how of a light meter in such a clear, 'non-snotty' language 🙂 ! Many other videos slam you in the face with bulks of read-outs and numbers, without actually explaining any background or anything! Thumbs up for you!!

  21. Hi Mike, Great and awesome videos. Very easy to understand. Stylish presentation with details which are easy to grab. Awesome teacher. . Thanks for sharing. 

  22. Honestly Mike, it's amazing how simple you make these concepts. They seem a lot more complex on other videos/sites, you're a Great Teacher, thanks a lot Sir !!!

  23. Not sure if this is said in earlier comments.
    If you take a 18% gray-card you can easily use your camera's light meter as a incident light meter.
    – Keep the card in front of your subject
    – Aim the camera on that card and set the appropriate settings for shutterspeed and so forth, so the meter is in the middle.
    Then you also know the exposure is correct, and it is much cheaper then a light meter. 😉

  24. Mike, do you know of a great light meter at a decent price. Obviously I dont expect you to know every brand known to man and follow up on their prices, but I am curious to know if you are aware of a decent (preferably good) one for under $100 US? Or ones to avoid for that matter. (as in, dont spend only $30, they are probably junk) 

  25. at 1:24 , you say that we point the meter back to the camera ! Does it mean I have to press the button of the camera too???

  26. I have that same meter, left over from my 'chrome' days, still in my bag, though don't use it much nowadays.

  27. @Murtada Rabah I can't answer on your comment so i think you need to change your G+ settings. You don't need an incident meter these days. I was using it to show everyone that the reflected meter reading made by the camera would change according to how reflective the subject matter is – even though the light falling on both is the same. Once you know your camera will get this wrong you can take steps to fix it when you make the exposure…

  28. Hello Mike,
    Great video, but to get the correct exposure, don't you need to set two parts of the triangle. You set the ISO and shutter speed on the light meter, and it will tell you the aperture? Or, you set the ISO and aperture and it tells you the correct shutter speed?
    Or, have I miss that in the video?
    Just curious. I'm thinking if you know you want ISO 100 and you want F5.6 you just don't know the shutter speed, the light meter will work out the answer to the last equation.
    Anyway, great information.
    Thanks for the videos.

  29. Hi, great video, I have a question. Why do you have to point the incident concave towards your camera? Therefore, what kind of distance would you need from the meter to the camera? And finally, what if you don't have someone to hold your camera for you whilst doing so, eg – on the street. Regards.

  30. I have a Nikon D3200 and still have a Polaris SPD100 from my film camera days. I am thinking of getting an adapter so that I can use my Carl Zeiss lenses from my Contax RTS11 with it. Since I will have to use the manual setting of the Nikon D3200, do I have to use the Polaris light meter? What I mean is, will my camera's light meter be disabled when manual setting is used? Great video BTW.   

  31. Wow, what a great couple of videos! I had no idea that the incident meter would give the same reading for the black and the white subjects. Thanks so much for this upload. How much would one have to spend for a decent IM?

  32. When we see, we only see the reflection, don't we? Let's say, there is a tree lit by sunlight. The tree is seen as the reflection of the light by the tree. Some parts reflect green light (leaves), some brown (bark). So, doesn't it make sense to depend on the reflective meter than the incident meter? We are not worried about the sunlight and its intensity, are we?

  33. There are dozens of light meter videos. As a retired teacher, I have to give you kudos. Maybe you are a teacher too! But if not, you are a natural. You explained and illustrated perfectly clearly. Thanks so much.

  34. Once again, Mike, a beautifully explained lesson.
    You mentioned Exposure Compensation; I absolutely swear by this adjustment. In general, I underexpose by a 1/3 of a stop.
    Re. the camera's light meter. If I'm shooting in manual mode, I find myself deliberately over or underexposing an exposure. I use the meter as a guide, not a rule.
    In S, A or P modes, I'll use Exposure Compensation to adjust the exposure.

  35. Oh great, I am from Nepal. Nice to hear it mentioned from you.
    Just about to start the journey of learning photography, interestingly very long and dark/snow months are right ahead in the corner here in Finland.
    Very informative and simplified explanation, thank you!

  36. Great explanation. I use a D3300 for shooting video, and usually lock in the shutter speed to 1/60 or 1/120. In the video you showed how you can adjust the aperture setting on the light meter, but can you also adjust the shutter speed, so that the light meter tells me what aperture I need to use?

  37. You couldn't walk over to the mountain but you could take a reading from the sand on a beech and if the subject is too far away you could attach the spot finder onto the meter.Regarding the days of film they are still here!

  38. Light meters give you equivalent combinations of shutter speed and f-stop for a set ISO. In film making (video) you are locked into a set shutter speed. Are there any light meters which just as easily roll-through combinations of f-stop and ISO for a set shutter speed? I hope my question makes sense.

  39. Greetings,

    I wanted to know in the studio when metering light… and you have a dark subject wearing white.. would you use the incident light meter in the same manner?

  40. Mike what could be the problem with me still getting underexposed images using my sekonic l-478dr lightmeter iso the same im not standing in front of the meter either

  41. Keep in mind the light meter doesn't take into account the T stop of the actual lens. This means the light that ends up reaching the sensor. The only absolute accurate method of obtaining a perfect exposure would be to use a gray card and get the spike down the middle. Light meter is only as good as the camera/lens its calibrated to and this can get tricky if you have a lot of lenses. When you look at things from this perspective then the light meter is not all that accurate. It's more consistent than the camera's built in meter though.

  42. Hey Mike, great video and easy to understand explanation! Was wondering if you do any photo critiques. I mainly do or like to shoot landscape/waterfalls, and wildlife. Thanks again

  43. "Point it back to the camera". Ehm. Isn't it "point it straight towards lightsource"? Because you are measuring the light falling "on to" the subjects from the lightsource?..

  44. This was hugely helpful for my head to better understand my camera's light meter Mike; shooting in very low light without flash and managing my iso in almost the dark of jazz clubs where the light is bouncing off of all sorts of things. This short video has helped me understand how to expose for the piano player's neck in a very small jazz club to help grab a different exposure. Maddeningly difficult, as the musicians move a bit. However, the guy's neck gave me the image I wanted instead of the reflective reading off the camera as the light bounced off of peoples' glasses, shiny piano top etc. Great experiment and I did not bust my friends meter:)
    Thanks again for a great video!
    (with everyone awkwardly staring at me as I meter off the piano player, doesn't bother me cuz I can show them the brilliant image I capture afterwards; of course then you get more people looking at you as the guy who looked almost pissed off now has his eyeballs almost leaving his head whilst in shock at the sweet exposure. good times practicing photography!)

  45. Recently started to use 6×6 film and looking for a good meter. I have looked at the Sekonic L308s, in which I like how it works! But I know there is also a Sekonic L208 which may be better for those sceneries! Just looking for the best one for the role, Id like to start portraits later on but at the moment it's ​more street portraits and so on.

  46. Hey Mike.  Is there any situation that will make it necessary to use a light meter over taking a second or third shot when using digital?

  47. great video as always. but would i actually need to walk over to mount everest to take an incident meter reading? surely the light falling on the mountain could be the same light falling on my location provided i am in the same light either sun or shade i could take the appropriate reading? Or i'm missing something? 

    PS hope you are enjoying Kampuchea

  48. Hi Mike. Just a general question about light meters- can I substitute a lux meter, to measure the light coming from a studio strobe, instead of a photographer's light meter (which seem to be so much more expensive!). Ta.

  49. Mike, I just started watching your videos on photography, it's really very impressive way to explain different topics. You are really gifted with outstanding instructional techniques, congrats.

  50. Nice tutorial on metering. I have an issue with my Minolta F IV light meter, Previously it used to show me the ISO in increments of 100,200,400,and so on, but recently when I took out my meter to use it after a long time, its suddenly showing me ISO in increments of 87,170,340 and so on, What could have gone wrong? Please help me to reset it back to normal ISO speeds. Thanks.

  51. Excellent explanation of the incident light meter. Thank you for sharing.
    For incident metering of distant subjects here is my technique, put the light meter in the same type of light in my location as is the distant location; your example Mount Everest, light reading will be the same. Consider this, take a basketball place it on the ground, next take a sesame seed walk 82 feet, 25 meters, place the sesame seed on the ground. What you have is the sun (basketball) 82 feet away from the Earth (sesame seed). Notice how the light fills the side of the sesame seed facing the camera. Now, you can see you do not need to walk to the subject, just put the light meter in the same light as your distant subject, you will get the same incident reading as someone at the other location.

    FYI: Your video would have been a much better with the recording camera mounted. The bouncing camera quickly became annoying difficult to watch.

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