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when do you meter somewhere else than the subject?
Say,.

I got a dilema about this. So when do I meter off somewhere else besides the subject? I tried some city night shots by metering the sky and the shots came out horrible..

But my question is when do I meter off the subject?.

Thanks,..

Comments (8)

Bluejay wrote:.

Say,.

I got a dilemma about this. So when do I meter off somewhere elsebesides the subject? I tried some city night shots by metering thesky and the shots came out horrible..

But my question is when do I meter off the subject?.

Hey...!! There are many M-A-N-Y subjects where metering is more accurately done from a target OTHER than the subject, or where the guidance of metering the subject is better ADJUSTED before shooting..

How much time have you got?Regards,Baz..

Comment #1

A little theory foryou..

The point of taking a meter reading is to set the camera for the proper exposure, based on the idea that you've got a mid-tone right, so that anything brighter than midtone turns out lighter, and anything darker than midtone turns out, naturally, darker..

So, if the main subject is really light, and the metering system is set up for this to be a mid toine, everything in the shot will turn out too dark..

For instance, a polar bear in the sun shine. The reading will result in the bear being grey..

Thisis the reason so many beach shots turn out too grey, and the same for snow shots..

So, if the main subject is really bright, or really dark, look for a midtone subject to take a meter reading from..

Kodak and other ocmpanies make "grey cards." These are sheets of cardboard or plastic that are a midtoned grey, and you hold this in front of the meter, take a reading, set it manually on the camera, and then everything brighter than grey will be fine, as well everything darker..

BAK..

Comment #2

Hi,.

A couple of examples based on the forum questions..

A, Sunsets. Meter on the sky without the sun but (say) one frame over to the left or right..

B, Landscapes. Point the thing down to exclude the sky, or most of the sky. Take care not to lock the focus on the ground in front of you. (Grass, btw, is a good substitute for a grey card but, again, you and you camera, might mean a slight adjustment.).

Above all, look at the results and list what you get wrong and learn from it. And experiment with EV compensation and look at the histrogram. F'instance back lit shots can usually be done nicely with about +1 or +1 EV compensation; it saves a lot of time once you know that..

Also snow, sea and sand cause problems; this is where the grey card works best. And incident light readings or readings from the palm of your hand and a slight adjustment work well, sometimes..

Regards, David..

Comment #3

BAK wrote:.

A little theory foryou..

The point of taking a meter reading is to set the camera for theproper exposure, based on the idea that you've got a mid-tone right,so that anything brighter than midtone turns out lighter, andanything darker than midtone turns out, naturally, darker..

So, if the main subject is really light, and the metering system isset up for this to be a mid toine, everything in the shot will turnout too dark..

For instance, a polar bear in the sun shine. The reading will resultin the bear being grey..

Thisis the reason so many beach shots turn out too grey, and the samefor snow shots..

So, if the main subject is really bright, or really dark, look for amidtone subject to take a meter reading from..

Kodak and other ocmpanies make "grey cards." These are sheets ofcardboard or plastic that are a midtoned grey, and you hold this infront of the meter, take a reading, set it manually on the camera,and then everything brighter than grey will be fine, as welleverything darker..

BAK.

The above is all correct..

You have to remember that a camera (set to "auto" or "program") is designed to take a photo of a "grey" card. It is going to reproduce anything you shoot as "grey" (or midtone)..

So you have to keep everything in the metering area as a grey-midtone..

IF you have to take a photo of something white or black; (dark or light); you have to change the exposure-compensation before you meter off the white or black item/area..

For example ... IF you are in SNOW .... set to a +1 or +2 (or even +3 if a lot of shiny reflection). The camera will then reproduce the white area as a "white" instead of GREY..

If the item is very dark, you need to change to -1 or -2, or the black item will record as GREY..

BUT ... another consideration in every photo is the dynamic-range of the blackest part of the image to the brightest white..

IF the range is very great, you may not able to properly expose everything in the image. In other words .... you can indeed change the exposure compensation as described above to make either a very white or very black part of the image correct .... BUT MAYBE NOT "BOTH" at the same time..

An example is a brightly lit SUNLIGHT part of the image; contrasting to a very "shady" dark area. You most probably CANNOT take such a photo unless you properly expose either for the bright or dark area ... but not both..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #4

Bluejay wrote:.

I got a dilema about this. So when do I meter off somewhere elsebesides the subject? I tried some city night shots by metering thesky and the shots came out horrible..

But my question is when do I meter off the subject?.

This is one of those situations where the answer is - you're asking the wrong question .

Meter the scene as whole but use exposure compensation. How much? Unfortunately only experience and judgement can tell you that but try -1 stop. Or you may not need any, if there are lots of lights in the shot..

Then check your histogram, remembering that if the shot is intentionally dark it should be further to the left than normal. But if it is bunched up hard against the left and cut off at zero, you have gone too far..

The other thing that I would advise with these trickier shots is use RAW - more scope for fine-tuning (or fixing mistakes!) later...

Comment #5

I appreciate your patience on giving me your suggestions, it means a lot ... But you guys are right, best answer is keep experimenting it myself...

Comment #6

To obtain a correct exposure, you always meter the area that reflects 18% of light back. In real life, that corresponds to a mid-tone gray, hence the term 18% gray..

So is your subject close to 18% gray? If so, meter it. If not, don't meter it...

Comment #7

If you want something to read, here comes the obligatory reference, pick up Understand Exposure by Peterson. A pretty good book..

Bluejay wrote:.

I appreciate your patience on giving me your suggestions, it means alot ... But you guys are right, best answer is keep experimenting itmyself...

Comment #8

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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