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Metering on a DSLR #photography

There are three different setting for metering on my Nikon D3200. Metering sets DSLRs apart from other cameras and can help us get just the right exposure, especially for portraits. When we focus on a shot we also meter the light that is being reflected into the camera from our subject. The metering mode I use the most is ‘matrix’ and it measures the light across the whole frame.

matrix metering

Matrix Metering

I used matrix metering for this shot of the fence with the supermarket in the background. You can see the dark clouds and I had my ISO set to auto which can be better when the light keeps changing with moving clouds. The camera measured the light right across the frame and it is a reasonably sharp shot at 1/250 of a second.

Centre-weighted metering

Centre-weighted metering is useful for taking photos of people when you want to measure the light from their face and perhaps overexpose the background. You can also shoot towards the sun and backlight their hair, blowing out the background, making it completely overexposed.

spot metering on the clock tower

Spot metering

I took this picture of our recently cleaned town clock and used spot metering so I was actually metering the light reflected from the newly cleaned brickwork. The sky was blue but in this picture is completely over-exposed. This image is a little too good in some ways because you can see how dusty the tower is after cleaning and you can see where repairs have been made to the roof on the building in the background. The building in the background is a little over-exposed too. Spot metering can also be used for portraits. The spot you measure is also the spot you focus on. If you use spot focusing you can put the focus point on an eye or between the eyes to get accurate focusing and metering.

If you’re thinking of getting into serious photography, then learning about focusing and metering can make your photographs so much better.

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