In the field of photography, perfect exposure is something that every photographer wishes to achieve. A photo that shows every detail of the subject is a perfectly-exposed photo. Light is the parameter to control here. Well, we can explain it to you with an example. Let’s imagine; you take a photo of your grandma in a dark room without the flash. If you use a modern DSLR camera that comes with an inbuilt Light Meter; your grandma will be exposed to some extent. Anyway, most of her features will be missing in the photo. Then, you take another photo with the same camera and settings in a room with a light source. Now, compare the two photos.
The second photo will be a more detailed one when compared to the first one. The reason behind this change of exposure is the amount of light in the scene. So, higher the amount of light in the scene, more the exposure. Anyway, high amounts of light necessarily don’t guarantee a perfectly-exposed photo. It depends on your camera too. You cannot take quality photos with a VGA camera, no matter light and other conditions.
Do I need a Light Meter? Well, many amateur photographers ask it from experts in the industry. In this article, we explain all about it. So, the answer to the question is, yes. Modern DSLR cameras come with an inbuilt meter. Anyway, this meter may not be the best option for bright locations. Expert photographers determine the light in the scene with their eyes. So, they manually change the setting of the camera according to what they feel about light in the scene. Is it practical? Beginners in the photography industry might not get it right that way. Also, even the experts in the industry can make wrong judgments about it. Photography is an industry where you can’t afford to make mistakes. You might not get a second chance to recapture a scene if you get it wrong the first time. Which means you need a reliable method of determining light in a scene that lets you set camera settings accordingly.
The inbuilt Light Meter in DSLR cameras
Yes, the inbuilt meter in modern DSLR camera works up to some extent. Sadly, it is a reflective meter. You can understand how it works so. A reflective Light Meter measures the light intensity that enters through the camera lens. The top advantage of DSLR cameras — they have made taking photos easy. When you set the camera to the automatic mode; the camera sets the settings itself for you. However, we must see the downside here. The light that reflects off a subject and the actual light in a scene — are they both the same? No, the amount of light reflecting off a subject depends on several factors such as the color tone; the amount of light absorbed/reflected by the subject, and the light source.
So, depending on the scene; the inbuilt Light Meter can make wrong judgments about light. As a result, you will capture over or under-exposed photos. No matter it is over-exposed or under-exposed; it is a “bad photo.” Can you afford it as a photographer who wishes to develop a reputable name in the photography industry? We don’t think so. Anyway, if you take photos just for fun with your DSLR camera; the inbuilt Light Meter is more than enough.
Professionals in the photography industry criticize taking photos with auto camera settings. According to them; taking photos with auto camera settings makes you a “blunt photographer.” You should train your eyes to determine the conditions such as light yourself.
Handheld Light Meter
Professional photographers make use of this versatile meter to capture perfectly-exposed photos. How would a handheld meter lets you capture perfectly-exposed photos? Well, we should understand its mechanism here. While inbuilt meters measure the amount of light reflecting off the subject, the handheld meter measures the amount of light emitting from the light source. In other words, it measures the actual amount of light in the scene. Now, you can understand the benefit of it. You can change the camera settings to what the handheld Light Meter suggests. A quick tip: change your camera setting to the manual mode when using a handheld meter.
How should you use the handheld meter?
Well, you shouldn’t hold the meter to the light source here. Instead, go closer to the subject that you want to capture. Every handheld Light Meter comes with a light sensing device, which you need to face towards the light source (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/images/images1000x1000/sekonic_401_311_l_308dc_u_digicinemate_light_meter_1219218.jpg.) As you see in the picture, it is a simple device that comes with an LCD screen and a white ball. You can select the mode that you want by pressing the “mode button.” Is it practical going closer to the subject? Is that what you are thinking right now? Yes, this was the downside of the handheld Light Meter in the past. Thanks to the modern technology, now we can buy handheld meters that can measure incident and reflective light, and you can get accurate readings with the handheld Light Meter (reflective and incident.)
Manual and digital meters
The use of handheld meters started with manual products. Instead of an LCD screen, manual meters come with a scale and a moving pointer/needle. It looks similar to a Voltmeter. We don’t have to explain to you the downside of manual Light Meter here. Getting accurate readings with it is not easy. So, investing money in a digital meter is highly advisable here. Anyway, manufacturers now don’t produce manual devices today. In other words, manual meters are becoming obsolete now.
Some final words
How much would you spend on a handheld meter? You can buy a handheld meter for $400 today. A quick tip: consider the cost for a Light Meter as an investment. Using it can change your photography career positively. Anyway, amateur photographers consider using this device as an additional step. Still, when considering the benefits of using it; you should take that risk. Becoming a reputable photographer is not easy today. You should work harder to stand out from ordinary photographers as a unique photographer.
Contact us today and find out our Light Meter product range. We have a meter for your budget and requirements. Follow our blog for more articles on photography and devices that you should buy to become a reputable photographer in the industry. Let’s meet again with another article so!