Know More About Metering Modes

Know More About Metering Modes

Modern DSLRs are equipped with a function known as Metering Mode.  Metering is letting your camera read the light that is entering the sensor and accordingly adjust the shutter speed and aperture. The recommended exposure is displayed on the bottom half of your viewfinder and also on the bottom half of your LCD screen when you turn on the “Live View” mode. There are three basic metering modes in most cameras:

  1. Matrix/ Evaluative Metering
  2. Center-Weighted Metering
  3. Spot/Partial Metering   

photo by dylan m howell

Photograph by Portland wedding photographer Dylan M Howell.

Matrix Metering: It can be said to be the default metering in every DSLR.  The entire frame is divided into a grid and then analyzed on the basis of light intensity and distribution across the frame.  It takes light from all corners of the frame and then calculates an average which is set. This is the metering mode from which you should start shooting if you are in your early days in photography. Thus this mode more often than not sets the perfect exposure. But this mode may fail in certain situations where there are extreme light and dark areas in the frame.

Center-weighted Metering: Sometimes you would not like to consider the exposure in the entire frame. Center-weighted evaluates the light in the middle of the frame and its surrounding and not take into account light from the corners. This metering mode is common across most point-and-shoot cameras.  It does not consider the focus point where it is focused and takes into account light from the middle of the frame. This works well for subjects which dominate the center of the frame like portraits. This is also useful when the Sun is behind the subject and also when the background is over-exposed.

Spot Metering: It evaluates the light only around the focus point and ignores the entire frame. It considers a very small part of the image, approximately 5 percent and does not read information from the rest of the image. This mode is useful in bird-photography since the birds have to be well exposed irrespective of the light at the foreground or the background. It works well for back-lit subjects also.


When the camera is set to “Manual” mode, there is a bar which appears with markings in both left and light along with a 0 in the centre. If the camera focuses on a bright region, the bars will show “+” and on the other hand the bars will show “-“ when exposed on a dark region. Increasing or decreasing the shutter speed will help in getting to 0 which is known as the perfect exposure. The metering mode may sometimes not execute properly if it has to expose different light intensities in the same frame. There is no ideal metering mode and it depends on the situation and the kind of lighting that helps you portray the image in the way you want.  A sound knowledge of metering modes and how these modes impact the image is to be understood to get your exposure right.

Why do many photographers not stay in business more than five years?


Why do many photographers not stay in business more than five years?

In these modern times it seems that the professional photography is slowly, but steadily going away. Many factors contribute towards this. It cannot be said for sure when will completely go away, but at some point many of the professional photographers that work today will stop working within the next five years. In any case the transition has started, and no photographer can change the fact that this is a fading industry. Those photographers that can easily adapt to the latest technology trends and modern times are those that will continue to work consistently. Those that are not able to adapt simply cannot stay in the photography business for more than five years.

As already mentioned, technology is constantly moving forward at fast rate. People`s tastes, perceptions and values are all changing and something that has been popular yesterday is no longer popular today. The main point on which photographers should pay attention is that all of those factors cannot be controlled by them, so the best thing to do is to get over them and try to adapt.

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Why Some Photographers Still Operate?

One of the main reasons why some professional photographers are still in the business, although their work is not going so well, is because they cannot find other better option to earn their living. They have trained to become photographers all their lives and are simply not qualified to work anything else. That gives them a couple of options. One option is to try learning something totally different and then try to get a job in another field, and other option is to keep working with photography as long as possible and hope that the things will turn around for the better. Also many of the photographers choose to stay in the business despite the negative forecasts simply because the first option is not certain thing as well.

Today, technology gives better opportunities to the amateurs and beginners to make photos of great quality. In the old times, photographers had to load their cameras with films, took shots, processed the films and later printed the photos. All of a sudden, digital processors came out and completely replaced films. Now the digital cameras are loaded with tiny memory cards that can store thousands of images. There is no need to pay attention on expiration dates of films, no need to think about the roll exposures, and no need to worry about the number of rolls taken on the photo shoot.

Ever since the day when the computer technology appeared, long gone are the days when you had to process films and make photo prints. Most of the photographers today are presenting their work on their websites and other places online, without ever making any prints. Anyone who still makes photo prints is a rare exception. Today there are hundreds of programs, websites and applications that allow you to directly post and share your photographs with anyone. Also, any person today can go online and edit photos by using powerful software. All of this has contributed towards the fading out of the professional photography industry.

Making and modifying photographs easily today means fewer customers for the professionals. As previously noted, attitudes, values and tastes are changing rapidly with the evolution of technology. Taking photos is a fun and easy activity today. Smartphone cameras are coming with bigger quality each day and many new cheap cameras have powerful zooms and great lenses. That takes the worry out of the standard photography. Now there are many people that have another attitude and they often say – why should I pay someone to take photos when I can do that easily, get paid, and have fun along the way?

Regardless of what professional photographers think, the public perception is that professional photography is not that necessary today like it was in the past. Average people think that they can do the same job as any professional photographer, so they seek to save some money and do everything by themselves. Also many people cannot afford hiring professional photographer, so they decide to do the job themselves regardless of the final quality of the pictures. That lowers the income of the professionals, so they often decide to stop providing their professional services within the first five years from starting.

If you are starting to ask yourself what is the future of professional photographers, the answer is still not clear and unknown. There are many possibilities and options, lots of trends are coming back, so nothing can be said for sure. What is known is that the industry is changing rapidly, so those professional photographers that do not adapt to new trends will be quickly left behind. The number of successful photographers will continue to go down until it becomes a rarity.