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Metering Modes and Back Button Focus

Lesson 6 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Metering Modes and Back Button Focus

Lesson 6 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

6. Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

Metering Modes and Back Button Focus

what I'm going to do is I'm gonna go super quickly but I'm gonna quickly run through a little bit about mita ring if you want to go in depth prettified has a ton of classes that dive more into the essentials of exposure and how your caramel works um eatery modes but it it's something I want to touch on on dh as you may have noticed I'm all about practicality so sometimes for sake of time I might just say it like this is the one to choose for now then just leave it at that but of course there's a million other classes if you want to get deeper into things so my example of this is if I say so I'm just going to tell you for this whole class shoot raw okay like I don't know I just need to say it because when you run into one of those situations with really bright highlights in the dark shadows if you can't quite control the exposure range like you wanted teo at least you've got that raw to fall back on in case you make mistakes so that goes without saying every picture I took in this prese...

ntation was shot with raw if you don't shoot raw I don't know okay so um here's the thing let's talk about mentoring we all probably have kind of heard how your cameras meter works if you heard the whole eighteen percent gray thing and okay what you really need to know is when you're taking a picture often your cameras meter gets confused in really dark scenes or really of really dark things like if you take a picture of something that's black it usually lightens it up a bit so it looks kind of grayish if you take something that looks white it often looks a little bit darker and kind of grayish and I'm like really contrast the scenes your camera doesn't quite know what to do like I said I'm not gonna drive into that extremely deep but what it means is you need to be smarter than your camera um and you need to know how you want to outsmart it and what tools that yu want t o use in general you were going to use manual exposure were aperture priority with exposure compensation and I did want to talk about which one why and it is definitely personal preference so so manual manual is great for those situations where the light's not changing too much but perhaps your camera is just confused for example if you're shooting in a heavily backlit situation you may have run into this where alright you're shooting and let's say africa priority we'll talk about what that as you're shooting or program whatever you're using okay and you take a picture and it's really under exposed then you slightly recomposed and now it's correctly exposed then you recompose a little bit and and it jumps all over the place because if you're leaving your exposure up to your camera and it's trying to even out your exposures at one point it goes to a lot of light and darkens it down and another point where you focused and composed it says oh it's really dark and it lightens it up in other words when you leave things up to your camera it's not consistent that's the main thing you have to know is when you're not controlling every aspect of your exposure your camera makes decisions it kind of bounces all over the place so manual is what gives you control over everything you set the shutter speed you set the africa er you said the s o this is great like this is what gives you the most control the problem are the downside is if you're in an atmosphere with drastically changing lighting situations and you forget to make the adjustments let's say it's a bright sunny day a cloud rolls in you totally forgot about it and you're clicking away and you look and you are too stuffs under exposed what aperture priority does for you in contrast what africa priority does for you is you go ahead and set the africa er looking at the scene you go you know what my favorite apertures two point two cpic would after sure you want to shoot at you go ahead and you pick your eyes so that's a pretty bright sunny day I'm gonna shoot at s o two hundred and then based on what your camera is seeing it sets your shutter speed for you it will be inconsistent at times it will not always be spot on but if you're shooting away and that cloud rolls in it helps you it got darker we probably need to let more light and like it will make a change if you should emmanuel it will be exactly what you told it to be I actually hatched when I should events on location I will shoot aperture priority I'm okay with that because I just got to be I'm trying to be close to not screw up um especially if like changing a lot but I used this thing called exposure compensation and what that means is basically if my pictures too dark I say listen camera I'm taking a picture of the scene and you were like a staff to dark the whole time I don't know what you're seeing why you're confused but I dialled my exposure compensation overto one and it says camera whatever you're saying I don't know it doesn't matter but go with stop brighter than whatever you're seeing and then vice versa if it's over exposed I can say okay camera I don't know why you're shooting over exposed but I'll send it over to to whatever you're seeing just under exposed by two stops it is nice it is convenient for events but it's not consistent and it doesn't give you the most control if I'm shooting a fashion shoot for example where I'm controlling everything I'm checking exposure I'm going to shoot manual so it's consistent and it's right on every time it is personal preference some people just on lee on ly shoot manual because they want the most control other people don't quite feel comfortable in knowing that if I forgot to change something I might totally lose the shot it's personal preference but that's usually what you're going to use on location would be one of those two and so here's an example where I would shoot manual uh because my camera just had no idea what was going on was taking a picture of her I wanted the sun in the scene so I wanted just peeking around her head and what this here says this was aperture priority my camera said well really bright highlight lot of right area closedown let's be dark let's have it was fast shutter speed for aperture priority let's darken this down I'm like no but I want high key I want hayes so you could try to do it with exposure compensation but what I found when I did that is when the sun duck behind her head now the exposure was all messed up I just told it to weigh over exposed now it doesn't seem that bright highlight it put it back to correct exposure but I told it to go to stop so casey kind of the the downside what I recommend is you learn what works when for me I know in backlit situations or when I have total control I just go with manual it's going to give me more control over the situation if I just I know I need the shot it's an event like I really is long needs to be close I don't want to worry about screwing it up I'll put on africa priority just to make sure I got the shot and then I'll tweet my exposure compensation to get it close so that is just my take on what ideo flooding you know those exist the next thing is meeting motes what do you set your camera on from meeting loads and canon nikon everybody calls him slightly different but this is usually what you see something like this for what this means you've got your center weighted it looks at the whole scene and says that the center's more important so if the center's bright it's probably gonna darken everything down a bit all right the next one is you have spot metering you've got your one spot and for our cameras it's actually your center point you take the reading with the center point of ah of your focus so you take that spot metering and I'll say you know what I would like to spot meter and this is what we're going to get to over there this is what I was holding out on some of the questions someone was saying ok well how do you figure out how bright that highlight is on the head if you want to try to try to even out your exposure you can take that spot meter you said it to that you put that center point right on that highlight and it will tell you how break that isthe it will give you a reading for that spot or maybe there's a dark shadow you can also read what that dark shadow is just by putting that center point on and so what you'll see is you'll just see your exposure change I'll tell you what the correct exposure would be for the highlight what the correct exposure would be for a shadow I don't use that very often but that's a good way if you don't have a meter to try to meet her use your spot meter to see with the highlights and the shadow reed okay the next one on the lineup is partial it's like spot but the thing with spot is it's taken like a few pixels it's like I don't two to six percent of the circle in the center so if you were aiming for the highlight on the head but you were like an inch off it would give you a totally different messed up reading so you've got to be like really exact and sometimes you gotta moving subject that's going to be kind of difficult so what this partial does is it just makes that little spot area a little bigger and takes an average of it but it's still lets you pinpoint that highlight that shadow for trying to determine your exposure so we went through all of that right but I don't I don't use those it's that you should know them because you could use the partial or the spot for taking meter readings most the time I use the value of evaluative what it does is it takes a look at the entire scene it does put a little bit more weight in the centre but it's it's comparing it against a lot of different possible scenes that could be existing and it gives you it's best guess and in my experience it's pretty good guess it's not always great but it's it's better yeah very well out of one eye I mean if you move your spot around known different cameras you can actually move this does it still go toward the center doesn't go toward that spot so for valued if it's a little bit more on the centre but not much it will take in consideration your focus point okay so it will say I focused on her face in this upper right hand corner it knows that that's what's in focus so it's probably more important which is why and this is also called matrix metering as well as a couple different names it's just the one that does the most for you it makes the easiest on you to get a decent exposure eso yes it definitely considers where your focus points all right power in through this okay so this is the visual version of it right center waited spot partials a little bigger evaluative it's just looking everywhere trying to help you get the best guests for exposure um I did this test in a crazy really intense situation really dark skinned model heavily backlit caught like middle of the day and I just had her held still and I just ratcheted through the different options for metering so some of them were pretty close so for here for spot I'm needed off her forehead and I said okay give me the correct exposure if we're basing off this highlight so its brightness of course she'll be dark okay same thing here I made it underneath her chin because that was a shadow so now look at that highlight way over exposed that base is the exposure off of that shadow area partial I just pointed at the middle of her face if this is a little bit bigger than spot it valued have gotten pretty close center weighted average so there's definitely a difference but this would become problematic if I had her off center and hadn't like locked my exposure in if I had something else off center that it was a meeting for the background for example so you know you have just gives me the best result most of the time but you should still know what's available so yeah you were you might choose you spot me a ring okay so spot metering whatyou can dio is in a heavily backlit situation where you want to be able to correctly meter you khun take a spot meter reading off of the silhouette for example if you wanted to say ok that background it's super super bright I know I'm not going to get details just ignore it I don't even want you to consider it in the exposure because it's going to be blown out the only thing I care about is that person's face who's currently in silhouette so if I spot meter on them I can lock in my exposure and it will just base it off of their face looking good it just ignores all that other stuff which I know I'm not going to get in my exposure or I don't want it to be considered so that's a good place to do it because you can still you can still use spot meeting when you're on manual it's like what your camera is reading off of because you will see those little numbers on the bottom so it makes it easier to know ok for manual pointed over I'll move my center spot over the person in silhouette and then I can adjust my manual reading until that person it's correctly exposed and then I can click away so it's giving me a reference of that specific part of the frame yeah okay all right let's see so lindsay before we move on from metering do you mind if I ask a few questions we definitely had questions coming on that I'm ready wonderful so first of all let's go to start with jo hi says what's unsure what's the advantage of using a light meter if one can simply look at their view screen and decide if they like the exposure or not so let's talk a little bit more about light meters versus using this in camera metering right okay so there's actually there's multiple things built in there there's actually three different ways you could be determining your exposure let's go to the first one the downside of looking at your the back of your camera um if you're shooting in the middle of the day at high noon you can't even close to correctly guess if that is the correct exposure it's too bright you can help yourself a little bit by getting a loop to look at the back of your camera so when I am doing what I'm filming out on location I have ahhh goodman loop that sometimes helps me I'll do that sometimes for checking focus and my shots it basically provides shade but even when you do that the back your camera the actual picture itself is not accurate it's just not you can actually go into your menus and make it brighter or darker so it's just like a computer where I can turn the brightness up and down so how could you judge the brightness of your picture if you can change the brightness of the screen so that doesn't really do you any good um the next part of that is in your camera you have your history graham if you really understand history rams you could help yourself with the exposure the problem is there's no one correct hissed a gram basically what I can tell is if I have things that are blown out that I don't want to be or if I have things there too dark it kind of just gives me that field or if the entire history has shifted to one side maybe I can maybe assume it's over exposed what happens if it's white snow and a person in a white dress silly you can't really tell from that when either um however using your spot metering or your valued of mita ring in camera looking at those numbers and adjusting gives you a better idea but when you're mita ring like the scene if you're meeting a scene like I can't run over necessarily to that melt in right to take a meter reading you could just point this at the scene and tried to get a reading of what lights coming into your camera but that's not that much different than what your cameras seeing so I for something like that I just go ahead and use the meter of my camera but that's when maybe that spot metering becomes important because I want to just check like all right I really care about that subject so I'm going to base my exposure on that person so it's it's basically how you want to control your exposure I am a mix between light meter and my camera not the screen and not the history ram and then time work in the chat room also brings up also remember that your screen shows a j peg of the image not a raw image so that's a great point really good point absolutely well all right so let's go to another question from lets go with amir's so when you're using manual mode you ever then use aperture priority for finding good start point and then jump into manual yeah totally I just pop it over out what's close totally great and then I think we've got one more that just want to address somebody said it can or will she explained how she implements exposure compensation like where we tell the camera to adjust the exposure if you miss my introduction this morning this course is very much about the broad general how to use our howto understand light the different types of tools that you can use we won't be getting into the specifics of what buttons to press on your camera or what setting or what exactly dials to turn on your flash because it's specific to every single model and make of flash and cameras so we won't be able to do that in this course there are lots of other courses here on creative life or elsewhere that can give you that sort of detail you can also obviously read your instruction manual so stay here tio understand how to use it and then go to your manual or to another class to learn how to actually implement it and the physical dial to press and the only thing is maybe this helps the question is let sam shooting aperture priority and consistently this is what my picture looks like and that's not what I want I would then go into aperture priority and tell it give me plus one and a third one in two thirds uh you could go ahead and take a meter reading with a spot meter to see what it's supposed to be and then go ahead and lock that in manual or you can say okay you know what I just need this to be easy my camera doesn't quite know what's going on it's giving me this all the time open up over exposed one and a third from what you think is right we're one in two thirds like trying to get it close so that is when you could yeah I use average party when I just need to make sure I get something it's funny I'm actually a spot meter most of the time and but looking at that comparison I need to try a valued because that was exactly the goal that I would want to get that that's the exposure that would be looking for is the result of value gave there I'm trying I'm a fan of making easy unless easy's not working that like that's just me person like I'll go with what's easy and fast if it's clearly and this is what you have to know so much and photography like I'll go to the easy thing if he's he's clearing that working I just have to know why I feel like that's that's the important part is knowing why it's not working and what I need to do to fix it okay this is the last thing before I jump into lighting itself that we get into that I just wanted to tell you about something awesome that you all need to dio okay so this is my challenge everybody out there definitely learned about back button focus okay right now with our cameras um most of us that don't know back when focus right you've got your trigger in your front in the front by default that helps you take exposure readings focus and take your picture this becomes problematic in several situation so here's one for example that that I have seen frequently the bride walking down the aisle right thank you I just like to have things in my hands I got here we go um so you're pushing halfway okay so let's say that I've got everything right here I've got the brian walking down the aisle and I push halfway to focus all the way to take a picture but by the time I did that she's taken her next step and she's out of focus or sports for example this is where I learned it from his sports people because what I can do is I can separate that push halfway to focus and the trigger I could put them on two different buttons so what you khun d'oh is usually it's on your f buttons it depends on how you haven't set by default it's usually in a f in the newer cameras you khun setting custom functions however you want but what that lets me dio is it lets me push that button to focus here's why it matters to good situations all right first one where it matters is if that bride is walking down the aisle at me I could put my focusing mode to continuous it's called different things been in canada nikon what that means is now it keeps searching for focus so as she's moving its tracking her walking towards me so however long I hold this button you know this keep focusing and tracking her I don't have to keep focus re composing or anything they have to keep clicking half way for it to focus I just hold this in and it tracks and in the five day mark three for example there are dozens of different focus modes based on the type of movement you're trying to capture you can get all fancy okay that has less to do with location the big one for me is I told you that I love shooting narrow down the field so what I would use to do let's say that I'm photographing her I assume in I push halfway to focus I recompose and I take a picture then I go ahead and try to take another picture if I'm shooting wide open what it might do is go and focus on the background and it's a huge pain so what I have to keep doing is focused recomposed focus recomposed focus recompose rate the whole time what back button focus let's you d'oh is I lock my focus on you and now wherever I point my camera it locks that focus in place I won't explain the limitations of that the good and the bad um if I move the focus has changed like it's not like it locked on her like a heat sensor laser beam thing that like follows her around is not that kind of lock focus what it basically says at this distance focus on that plane right there so it's great so I don't have to just keep focusing re composing again I just lock it in and I can shoot all over the place the other thing that won't really work is if you shoot at one point four I locked it in place and that I like drastically the recompose this plane of my sensor and the distance from her have actually changed so it'll still be out of focus but I use this eight tonne in location lighting when what shooting on location so that I don't just waste so much time focused recompose I can click that button lock it in place and as long as she and I don't move I don't have to keep refocusing

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

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