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Metering Modes

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Learn by Doing Photography – Metering Modes

Learn by Doing Photography – Practice your photography skills with weekly photography assignments. I will post a new assignment every Friday, you can post your pictures at the bottom of this post or on the DigitalCamFan Facebook. If you have any questions please refer to the guidelines, if you have no questions jump right in any time!

Learn by Doing Photography #33 – Metering Modes

This week we’re taking a look at metering modes. Dust off your camera manual and review the different metering modes this week. Or watch the video below by Mike Browne, which is a great tutorial talking about all the different metering modes. He talks a lot about 18% gray, center weighted metering mode, spot metering and evaluative metering modes. He covers all the bases and shows some great examples.

Amy Donovan Photography

This week is just about exploring your metering mode. Try a challenging spot where the light is not average, where there is hardly any light or a lot of contrast. I went for a sliver of light on the street and spot metered off my daughters face. You can see the sliver of light from a porch light on the side walk in the picture on the right. I had her stand right there and just turn towards the light, spot meter and took the picture.

I am so grateful my kids are always excited to try something new with me! As we were getting ready for bed last night I asked Kat if she wanted to go out front. I was going to try taking a picture under a street light, but the street lights on the street are pretty high up and I was looking for a more direct light or closer light source. The sliver of light bouncing around the car in the driveway was perfect. Thanks Kat!

My settings were 1/60 sec at f/2.8 ISO 6400 on manual

The photograph was taken with the Canon Mark III and the 50mm f/1.8

Be sure to watch the video below:



Canon Metering Modes

Metering to me is tricky business…. Sometimes I read about it and think oh I get it! Then when I’m out taking pictures I forget everything I learned.  Metering & light will take me a life time to learn. So many different variables will effect your metering. I usually follow this rule, usually not always – If I am shooting in Aperture Priority I use Evaluative Metering – If I am shooting on Manual I use Spot Metering. Is the the rule everyone most likely not.  If you have a different way you meter please share!

There are 4 different types of metering on Canons (from my experience I know for sure the Canon Rebel XSi and the Canon 60d have 4 different types of metering )

If you shot with the Basic Zone (Full auto, portrait, landscape, close-up, sports or night portrait) the camera will choose which is the best for your situation.

Here is an example I took in my front window using all 4 different Canon Metering Modes: I used my center AF point which was on the photo itself. No editing done to any of the photos:

This is where it gets fun! On the next to photos I have the spot metering where I metered off the picture, and the one on the right I metered off the grass which was in full sunlight.  Check out my silhouette pictures taken using spot metering

Evaluative Metering – Your camera takes a comparison of light from your entire view. I believe it starts with your active (AF) Auto Focus  and compares it to the light every where else. In general I think this setting will work most of the time at least when everything seems average.  If you have a high contrast image you should switch to a different setting. For example someone sitting in front of a window, snow etc.

Partial Metering – Sort of like spot metering but covers a slightly larger area. With partial metering you will cover approximately 6.5% of the viewfinder area at the center.

Spot Metering – 100% of your light is metered from the specific spot you’re metering from. Spot Metering covers approximately 2.8% of the viewfinder area.  This is when it gets fun and you can play with your exposures. For instance if you have someone standing in front of the sunset you can meter off the sunset so you end up with a silhouette!

Center-weighted Average Metering – The metering is weighted at the center and then averaged for the entire scene.  So it puts more emphasis on the the center area.