Alright everyone, set your cameras to manual! Get ready, get set, start clicking... not so fast! Hold up, what is this metering business? I'm about to tell you, so pay attention. Light bulbs are about to go off!
Your camera has different metering modes. Again I pulled out my Canon T3 for Tuesday Tip purposes. On it, you will find the metering mode after you push "menu" and scroll to the right. It is different on each camera, so please refer to your camera manual.
Cameras are usually set to a default "Evaluative Metering" or what they call "Matrix Metering" for Nikon. Now I usually set my camera to "spot metering" which is not even an option on the T3. For now, I want you to keep the default setting and forget it. Down the road you may want to explore the differences between metering modes, but for our purposes now, I think it's fine to keeps it right where it is.
In this image, you will see lots of stuff that we talked about last week. You can see the mode, "M" for "manual", the SS (1/320), the aperture (F1.6) and the ISO (800). Below that is your camera's meter.
Canons go -3..2..1..0..1..2..+3
Nikons are opposite, +.....0......- and do not have numbers.
I just so happened to click the shutter when the little blinky that shows where on the meter it was metering at was gone. It's important to know that it was blinking right under the zero. When your camera is on auto, it sees a scene, meters for the light that it "evaluates," and sets the three elements so that the meter will fall at 0.
The camera set this image at f/7.1 1/400sec ISO 800, the meter was at 0. As I just shook my head thinking, "why camera why?"
In manual mode, I walked up to Pluto and filled the camera frame with him. I set my aperture to f/1.6 and my ISO to 400. I then adjusted my SS until it was reading a 0 on the meter. It ended up at 1/400sec. I could have then lowered my ISO which would have brought my SS down, because 1/400 is kind of overkill for an inanimate object. It wasn't super important to me (ISO 400 is just fine), so I left the SS at 1/400. Then I stepped back to include the rest of the scene. Without adjusting my settings, I took the shot.
So remember that image that you took on the gorgeous beach, but your family was so dark? This is why. Your camera is not smart enough to figure out that it should expose for the people in the scene and not the bright background of the sky and ocean. But you are smart, and that is why you should take control of the camera and tell it what to do.
I handed the camera to the boat tour driver to take this image, but not before I metered and set the settings myself. ; )
So there you have it. Is it starting to make sense? Homework... put your camera in manual mode. Practice filling your frame with your subject and then set your settings (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) so that the meter will read 0. Then back up and take the shot. Do this in different lighting scenarios and see how that makes a difference. We will talk about how to choose your focus point next week.
As always, email me with your questions. I really hope that this is helping you all!