Metering Modes with Fairy, Silver Mist

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Let’s get technical, technical. I wanna get technical. Let’s get into intermediate photography skill level in regards to metering. Don’t you walk away when I am talking to you. You can do this. It’s a good lesson that will broaden your knowledge, starting with an explanation of metering.

Your digital camera’s metering system reads the amount of light in the photo you want to take. It then determines what the proper exposure (aperture, shutter speed) is based on the amount and variations of light it reads in the entire scene. Generally, when using a shooting mode like auto, the camera’s metering system does a decent job.

When you learn to use the three metering modes, you’ll find you want to use them in certain situations. The pictures you take are less likely to be washed out. It’s time to go over sample shots. Hooray! Oh, and yes, I know the tips of Silver Mist’s wings are cut off. I don’t like using the LCD screen on my camera but it was an extremely hot and humid day when I took these and well…the viewfinder would have looked like it went for a swim had I used it. Moving on…

…to the first photo taken with Evaluative as the metering mode. Your camera secretly divides the image into many fragments from which layers of light are measured. It then mathematically decides how to balance the image. Often times it is the most precise way of taking into account varying light sources, heat, and brightness.


Center Metering does exactly what it sounds like, the camera takes lighting information based on light from the center of the image and the immediate surrounding area. For this photo, that means looking at Silver Mist’s blue dress, the palms behind her, and most likely her face and legs.


Lastly, we have Spot Metering. Whatever focal point you select is where the camera will read light. I chose her right wing (our left) and as you can tell, it looks much better than in the other two photos. The exposure is just right, it’s not washed out and it’s not too dark…no, these wings are juuuust right. This third image is the best overall exposure with awesome contrast that never loses detail.

I specialize in concerts and 99% of the time, I use spot metering to read the light on a singer or musician’s face where lighting is hopefully the brightest.

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One Reply to “Metering Modes with Fairy, Silver Mist”

  1. Hi Lisa. I’m sure it’s just me but I can’t tell a difference in the photos, lol. Scrolling up and down to view the differences makes it difficult to compare. Is there any way you could post comparative photos side by side going forward? Thanks for your photo tips, I enjoy both the tips and your writing style.

    Lisa responds: Hi Mary. I have tried to post photos side-by-side but it doesn’t work. We have a photo width maximum when we post. Sorry.