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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 28 Jan 2015 (Wednesday) 07:17
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Spot metering portritats

 
cleyvosier
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Jan 28, 2015 07:17 |  #1

I was told that the best way to get exposure right for portraits is to spot meter off subjects face. So do i just hover over get the exposure and then go to manual lock in the settings then focus and recompose i'm lost?


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sandpiper
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Jan 28, 2015 07:54 |  #2

cleyvosier wrote in post #17403885 (external link)
I was told that the best way to get exposure right for portraits is to spot meter off subjects face. So do i just hover over get the exposure and then go to manual lock in the settings then focus and recompose i'm lost?

Spot metering is great, but you need to know how to use it.

When using spot metering you still have to take inro account the tones you are metering from, in fact more so than with evaluative. Whereas Ev has usually got a range of tones to take into account and comes up with a reasonable average (most of the time) getting in close and spot metering from one predominant tone can give inaccurate results. A meter doesn't give the correct exposure to reproduce what you point it at, it gives a suggested exposure based on it attempting to reproduce that tone (or tones) as an average grey (14-18% grey, depending on how it is set up in your camera firmware).

So, let's say you take two models in identical lighting, one with black African skin colouring and the other with a pale complexion, such as a typical redhead where the skin can be very pale, and spot meter their faces. The camera will attempt to reproduce each face as the SAME mid tone, and therefore will give an exposure reading that will significantly overexpose the dark skinned model (trying to lighten them to grey) and a very different reading that will underexpose the pale skinned model (trying to darken the tone). The correct exposure will be somewhere inbetween. You can either use experience to take a spot reading and then think "OK, they have quite dark skin, so I need to reduce exposure by X amount" or else take the reading from a grey card in the same light and that should be about right.

The other option is to get a separate light meter, one that can take incident readings, and measure the light directly as that way it won't be affected by any tones it is reflected off.




  
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Jan 28, 2015 08:52 as a reply to  @ sandpiper's post |  #3

Sekonic offers an effective demonstration (external link) on how incident metering generates exposure results that are not biased by subject tones.

By contrast, spot metering is often employed for a metering technique called the zone system (external link), which requires careful analysis of a scene. For portraiture, incident metering is far simpler and is still accurate




  
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Spot metering portritats
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
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