Gentle meters

sekonic light meter - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

Gentle meters may be a useful instrument for photographers; particularly those that use off-camera flash.

Point out a mild meter in images circles and also you’re sure to get some fierce responses. Positive, some photographers might be detached and fewer might be in favor, however most might be adamant that you just don’t want one. I was someplace within the center.

I may positively see their utility, however I simply by no means thought I wanted one. Earlier than just a few months in the past, I had picked up a lightweight meter as soon as in 14 years. It seems that I used to be simply making excuses to not spend the cash on one thing that could be one of the vital highly effective instruments you should purchase when you use off-camera flash lighting.


There are quite a lot of motives and causes that you just would possibly keep away from utilizing a lightweight meter within the digital period. For instance:

  • You may simply chimp the LCD display screen.
  • It’s straightforward to repair it in uncooked processing.
  • They’re too costly for what they do.
  • The histogram is sufficient for testing publicity.

I get it. All of those sentiments got here out of my mouth over and over.

Chimping and the Histogram

photographer checking settings - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertphotographer checking settings - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

When you can chimp your exposures to get them proper, this will take each time and guesswork. A lightweight meter takes away each of these issues.

Positive, you may look behind your digicam after every check shot (chimping) when you’re establishing your lights. This works positive for one or two lights, however what occurs when it’s good to create a exact lighting ratio?

How do you make sure that your fill mild is precisely three stops beneath your key mild? How do you make sure the rim lights are a fair publicity together with your fill? It’s potential, however all of that takes time and guesswork.

I bear in mind doing a fundamental 4 mild setup just a few years again and it took the higher a part of an hour to get the ratios precisely how I had deliberate them.

Since beginning to use a lightweight meter, I arrange an much more difficult 5 mild setups, mixing actually onerous mild with very tender mild. It took me solely 10 minutes to get proper. I don’t learn about you, however I may do with much more cases of saving practically an hour of capturing time.

b/w portraits of a man in a suit - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertb/w portraits of a man in a suit - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

These pictures use 5 lights at a really exact distinction ratio. Utilizing a lightweight meter meant that the setup time was solely 10 minutes.

Repair it in Uncooked Processing

raw processing in Lightroom - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertraw processing in Lightroom - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

Fixing your exposures on the uncooked stage is a viable possibility, however it will possibly take some time that could be higher spent elsewhere.

Sure, you may repair the picture later in uncooked processing. So long as your highlights and shadows aren’t clipped, uncooked processing is a viable instrument right here. Nevertheless, wouldn’t it’s a lot nicer to get it proper in digicam?

Give it some thought this fashion: with a lightweight meter, you press the check button in your strobe, examine the studying and dial it into your digicam. The entire course of takes about 20 seconds. Until you progress the sunshine or your topic strikes, each subsequent photograph is now correctly uncovered.

Presume it takes about two minutes of fiddling to regulate the publicity of a picture in Lightroom or ACR. When you’re engaged on 20 photographs from a set, you’ve simply misplaced 40 minutes of time to a process that might have been negated in twenty seconds.

Too Costly

I get it, I actually do. This was the primary cause I prevented getting a lightweight meter for therefore lengthy. A couple hundred {dollars} for an honest mild meter is a tough tablet to swallow when there are such a lot of issues that you could purchase on your images at a a lot lower cost. Why spend that form of cash on one thing you employ so briefly when you may spend that cash on lights, modifiers, journeys, studio time, props, and so on, and so on.

It’s all a matter of how a lot you worth your time and comfort. A lightweight meter will prevent time and it’ll make chunk of the set-up course of simpler. Ultimately, I’ve discovered that the worth tag has been value it.

Altering My Thoughts

model using a light meter - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

model using a light meter - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

I had a shoot the place I solely had 10 minutes to arrange. I borrowed a lightweight meter from one other photographer simply to make my life simpler. That one time utterly modified how I felt about utilizing mild meters. In minutes, all the potential advantages and values of getting a lightweight meter in my bag grew to become obvious.


As you’ll have guessed from my earlier factors, it comes down principally to time. Sooner set-ups imply you get extra time really capturing, which makes it extra probably that you just’ll get the shot that you just’re after. Much less time processing means you will have extra time to work on different issues, like planning and arranging your subsequent shoot.

Additionally, when it comes to portraits, a lightweight meter will show you how to decrease the time that your topics are ready on you between units. No person, completely no person (particularly paying purchasers), needs to attend round for big chunks of time whereas their photographer is messing with the lights.


model with long hair - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertmodel with long hair - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

On this picture, I needed to experiment with a gridded stripbox as the important thing mild and an enormous octabox as fill. Utilizing a lightweight meter made getting the precise ratio between the key and fill lights that I needed a breeze.

On high of time, the a number of mild methods {that a} mild meter opens up makes it greater than definitely worth the worth. With a lightweight meter, you may dream up any variety of lighting configurations, plan them all the way down to the precise distinction ratio and set it up with no fuss.

You desire a onerous mild supply as a key at f/8, with two big modifiers offering precisely two stops of fill at f/four and two background lights at f/22? That’s a set-up that popped into my head one night time shortly after shopping for my mild meter. I went into the studio the subsequent day and set it up.

I wouldn’t have bothered earlier than, as attempting to get the ratios proper between these mild sources would have been a serious headache.

metering the light - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertmetering the light - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

Metering for every mild individually and adjusting their publicity took a couple of minute or two. This solely must be executed as soon as.

behind the scenes lighting setup - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertbehind the scenes lighting setup - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

If the publicity from the octabox was off, it could have destroyed the impact of the lighting from the a lot smaller striplight.


lighting diagram - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

lighting diagram - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

Think about that you just’ve simply had per week the place you’ve saved a number of hours at each establishing and post-processing. When you used only a little bit of that point to start out drawing out and planning new mild set-ups, what number of do you suppose you can provide you with?

Getting it proper in-camera

Why I've Become a Light Meter ConvertWhy I've Become a Light Meter Convert

When coping with tough topics, like white shirts on darkish backgrounds, a lightweight meter may be an absolute blessing when it comes to getting it proper within the digicam.

As I already talked about, the power to get your publicity good each single time is a large profit. In actual fact, when working with flash, I’d posit that utilizing a lightweight meter could be the one Most worthy step you may take to make sure good exposures and making your workload that a lot simpler.

I’m a Complete Convert

sekonic light meter - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convertsekonic light meter - Why I've Become a Light Meter Convert

Over the time I’ve had it, my mild meter has turn into indispensable. Because it suits in my pocket, it now comes all over the place with me.

Ultimately, I remorse that I postpone and regularly excused myself from shopping for a lightweight meter for so long as I did. Within the few months since I purchased it, I’ve saved a ton of time within the studio not messing about with lights whereas folks had been ready on me. My post-processing workload has lightened fairly a bit as fixing distinction ratios in post-production is all too time to eat.

Each of those components collectively imply that I now have extra time for planning shoots and lighting set-ups than I had earlier than. These set-ups are additionally getting increasingly more advanced as time goes on and most of them would have been subsequent to not possible for me to place into use and not using a mild meter to make sure the exact publicity ratios.

When you’re like me, and also you’ve satisfied your self {that a} mild meter is a superfluous little bit of package, I can solely encourage you to problem your personal assertions. Might a lightweight meter prevent time because it has for me? Might it open new potentialities?

It’s potential that the reply is not any. I can’t presume to know or perceive your scenario. All I can counsel is to a minimum of ask your self the query. It could very effectively be that mild meter could possibly be as invaluable a instrument to your images as it’s changing into to mine.


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