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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 12 Jan 2018 (Friday) 11:47
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Basic lightmeter questions

 
kat.hayes
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Jan 12, 2018 11:47 |  #1

Using a Sekonic 478D and taking a portrait with natural light

1. Should I always have the dome all the way out when measuring overall exposure on the subjects face?
2. How close should I place the unit to the subjects face?
3. I’m in a room naturally lit and the window is about 12 feet a way so there is no direct light shining on the subject. Should I still point the done in that direction?

Thanks




  
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Wilt
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Post edited 7 months ago by Wilt. (6 edits in all)
     
Jan 12, 2018 12:05 |  #2

The hemisphere dome should be out for ALL BUT the shooting of flat objects (e.g. paintings).

The retracted dome should be used for


  1. the shooting of flat objects (e.g. paintings), or for
  2. taking readings of individual light sources to calculate ration of light emitted on the subject by each source


You want to measure the light striking the face, so you want to be somewhat close to the face so as to measure light as it strikes the face...if you are too far in front, you might not be in the 'same light' as the subject.

You should point the hemisphere AT THE LENS, to measure the light as seen by the camera. You point a meter at the SOURCE, only to measure relative intensity of individual sources, but NOT to measure what f/stop to set on the lens for exposure.
(There is a school of metering that says to point the hemisphere AT THE MAIN -- but I believe that technique is to minimize the possibility of having highlights overexposed and blown out on transparency film; and pointing meter at the lens prevents muddy color on color neg....pointing at the lens also is of benefit then in inherently practicing ETTR for digital to some degree!)

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PhotosGuy
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Post edited 7 months ago by PhotosGuy.
     
Jan 12, 2018 12:06 |  #3

1. Why wouldn't you?
2. Right at the face, with the dome pointing at the camera if you want to average the light & shadows. Dome pointing at the light if you just want to measure the highlights.
3. "no direct light shining" from what direction? In most cases, I would go with #2.

Edit: Wilt beat me by 56 seconds! ; D


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kat.hayes
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Jan 12, 2018 12:17 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #4

Any idea how accurate this meter is? Is it a good overall meter? I purchased it used.

Thanks.




  
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Wilt
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Jan 12, 2018 12:22 |  #5

The Sekonic 478 should be a superb meter. My own personal bias is against color displays on any product that will be used outdoors in bright sun...like trying to use your smartphone, it often washes out!


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kat.hayes
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Jan 12, 2018 12:33 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #6

I’m still fairly new to photography and lighting, so I’m trying to make sense of all of this. When using studio lighting, I will have the key light shining on one side of the subject’s face, and a reflector reflecting light on the other side of the subjects face, so that side will be in partial shadow.

1. What is the best approach for using the meter for taking a reading of both sides of the subject’s face? I can get a reading on the lit side showing a good exposure, though what should I be looking for on the side that is more in shadow?

Thanks.




  
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Wilt
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Post edited 7 months ago by Wilt. (3 edits in all)
     
Jan 12, 2018 13:18 |  #7

kat.hayes wrote in post #18539444 (external link)
I’m still fairly new to photography and lighting, so I’m trying to make sense of all of this. When using studio lighting, I will have the key light shining on one side of the subject’s face, and a reflector reflecting light on the other side of the subjects face, so that side will be in partial shadow.

1. What is the best approach for using the meter for taking a reading of both sides of the subject’s face? I can get a reading on the lit side showing a good exposure, though what should I be looking for on the side that is more in shadow?

Thanks.



  1. Retract the hemisphere.

  2. Point the meter at the Main (Window), take a reading
  3. Point the meter at the Fill (reflector), take a reading
  4. Compare 2:3 to derive contrastiness of lighting (3:1 not contrasty; 5:1 moderate contrast; 7:1 high contrast)
    (e.g. f/4 reading 2, f/2.8 reading 3 = not contrasty 2:1 (...Main is 1EV brighter than Fill (if Fill does not cover the full face overlapping area lit by Main)
  5. Raise the hemisphere, point meter at the lens, take a reading...set on camera.

...shoot

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kat.hayes
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Jan 12, 2018 14:19 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #8

1. Why retract the hemisphere in this scenario?
2. The reflector is positioned at an angle to the subject and the camera. Do I point the meter at the reflector from the camera’s current vantage point, or do I reposition myself to get a better reading of the reflector?
3. You mentioned “e.g. f/4 reading 2, f/2.8 reading 3 = not contrasty” what is the “2” value in the f/4 reading 2,” and the “3” value from the f/2.8 reading 3?
4. After going through and comparing the contrastiness of the lighting, what is the purpose of taking the final reading in your step 5?

Thanks for your help!




  
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PhotosGuy
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Jan 12, 2018 14:32 |  #9

Read about Incident Light Meters: https://jimdoty.com …_meter/exp_inc_​meter.html (external link)

https://photography.tu​tsplus.com …ed-photographs--cms-24142 (external link)


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Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
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Jan 12, 2018 15:59 |  #10

This might help:

https://www.rangefinde​ronline.com …itive-and-source-methods/ (external link)


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davinci953
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Jan 12, 2018 16:56 |  #11

There's good information in the thread already. You might find it helpful to view some of the tutorials that Sekonic has on their web site. As a start, the following video seems to answer many of your questions.

https://www.sekonic.co​m …for-better-portraits.aspx (external link)




  
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Angmo
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Post edited 7 months ago by Angmo.
     
Jan 13, 2018 23:34 |  #12

kat.hayes wrote in post #18539430 (external link)
Any idea how accurate this meter is? Is it a good overall meter? I purchased it used.

Thanks.

Head outside at noon on cloudless day. Point the meter at the sun Sunny 16 rule. Should be dead on. If not calibrate it.


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kat.hayes
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Jan 14, 2018 19:16 |  #13

Thanks everyone for the great info. Been reading through all of it.

What is a good approach to using the light meter when using a 70-200mm and shooting from a distance, with moving subjects like kids or a dog when there are clouds changing the lighting, or it is golden hour and the lighting is changing while the subjects are also moving?

Thanks.




  
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Alveric
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Jan 14, 2018 19:31 |  #14

Unless you are in the shade or under a bright lamp, your subjects are under the same lighting conditions you are. So take a reading at your location and shoot away. That's what I do when doing landscape photography.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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PhotosGuy
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Jan 14, 2018 21:26 |  #15

kat.hayes wrote in post #18540951 (external link)
What is a good approach to using the light meter when using a 70-200mm and shooting from a distance, with moving subjects like kids or a dog when there are clouds changing the lighting, or it is golden hour and the lighting is changing while the subjects are also moving?

Tough question to try to answer all the options here. What did you do before you bought this light mener?


FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
Classic Carz, Racing, Air Show, Flowers.
Find the light... A few Car Lighting Tips, and MOVE YOUR FEET!
Have you thought about making your own book? // Need an exposure crutch?
New Image Size Limits: Image must not exceed 1600 pixels on any side.

  
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Basic lightmeter questions
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