I have an embarrassing confession to make: I did my first dozen-or-so free engagement sessions without understanding how to use my meter. I’m one of those self-taught digital photographers who decided photography was a cool thing, bought a camera, and put out a shingle advertising a business. I would take a picture, look at the back of my screen, and then change my settings to try to make the picture brighter or darker. Once I figured out what the meter was — and how to read it — my photography improved dramatically.
Most dSLR cameras offer the ability to use a spot, center weight, or matrix meter. The spot meter is the go-to option for many Engagement photographers because they aren’t as worried about blowing out the sky or any white clothing; creamy bright skin ranks highest on the list of priorities.
The key to using the spot meter is moving your camera around to point the center of your lens at the portion you want to expose for. Look through your viewfinder, and you’ll find a mark indicating the center of the frame. Position that mark on the portion of the photograph you want to expose for, usually the skin if you are doing portraits. Look at the meter in your camera and aim for settings that indicate somewhere between correct to +1 exposure (the nearly +1 is for those who are most interested in exposing for the skin).
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