Spot Metering | Transcription

The last camera setting and technique I want to talk about is when shooting in manual mode, and only do I recommend this in manual mode, I highly recommend that you guys use spot metering as your metering mode. By placing your camera’s spot meter over your subject’s skin, from the exposure reading, you can dial in at the correct exposure for your subject’s skin tones and get the perfect exposure within one single shot.

We only use spot metering during portrait sessions and while we’re shooting in manual mode. The reason for this is quite simple. If we’re shooting in aperture priority, shutter priorities, or any of the other program modes, P for professional. I’m just kidding. That’s not what P means. It means Program. The camera is going to be basing and adjusting the exposure based on whatever that little tiny spot meter is covering. This means if that spot happens to be over something dark, like a suit, when you press the shutter, the exposure is going to be too bright. The camera’s going to basically compensate for that dark object, and it’s going to yield an overexposed and blown out image.

If this spot meter happens to be over something bright, like let’s say the sky, then when you press the shutter, the exposure is going to be too dark, because the camera’s going to be compensating for the bright object, for that bright sky, and it’s going to yield a dark and underexposed image. Using spot metering outside of manual mode will result in inconsistent and often unusable exposure, but when used correctly, and in manual mode, spot metering over your subject’s skin will guarantee that the exposure comes out correct on the first try. This will end up speeding up your shoot process.

It’s going to make you look like a camera whiz, which we all love, and it’s going to allow you to focus on other things rather than trying to figure out your overall camera exposure, and sitting there chimping, and looking into the back of your camera, which is never a good thing.