Understanding Metering Modes on Your DSLR Camera

Hey there y’all!

I personally understand the confusion and frustrations that come along with learning all the buttons and modes on your camera. In this blog post I’m gonna completely breakdown Metering Modes and what they mean. So let’s get to it!

Metering is how your DSLR camera determines the correct aperture and shutter speed.

If we went back in time, we would see the best photographers using light meters and careful calculations to determine the correct aperture and shutter speed needed to take their photo. Now, thanks to advanced technology DSLR cameras now have an automatic system to help you. Knowing the various camera metering modes available on your DSLR camera will help you take your photography to a whole new level!

What are Metering Modes and Where do you Find Them? 

Many DSLR cameras have a metering scale at the bottom of every viewfinder image.
You will see a plus sign on one side, and a negative sign on the other.
If you have too much light in the environment for the options that you have chosen to be properly exposed, you will see the arrow on the plus side. If you have too little light, then the arrow will be on the negative side.
Adjusting your settings including shutter speed and aperture until it reaches the middle will allow you to capture the best photograph.

Matrix Metering

Most DSLR cameras use matrix metering as their default mode, so if you are just discovering camera metering modes, then you may already be familiar with this one.
The camera divides the image area into smaller areas in this mode, and it takes a sample from each image area to determine the best aperture, shutter speed or both depending on your chosen camera modes.
When in doubt, the camera will attempt to determine your focus point.

Center-Weighted Metering

Center-weight metering assumes that you have put the most important aspect of your photo in the middle of your image.
Then, it measures that area to determine the shutter speed or aperture that leaves that area best exposed.
Keep in mind, that if you take a photo facing the sun, your subject will be correctly metered, but you may experience lots of blown highlights surrounding your subject.
**Often when people are shot using center-weighted metering, they become silhouettes.

Spot Metering

Spot metering allows you to set the focal point and the camera meters only for that selected area.
This option works great if you want a small subject to be properly lit, and you do not care about the surrounding scenery.
Keep in mind that spot metering usually covers less than 3.8 percent of the viewfinder.

DSLR Tips for Application

Different metering modes gives you different effects because the shutter speed and the aperture will be set differently.

Following these DSLR tips may help:

Matrix metering when you want the complete scene to be correctly focused.

Center-weighted metering when you want the middle of the image to display properly.

Spot metering when you only want a small object properly displayed regardless of its position in the image.

I hope y’all enjoyed this blog post, and if you’re looking for more photography tips you can check out my blog post on 3 Tips for Capturing Motion!

And if you would like to stay connected you can go ahead and check out my Instagram and join my Facebook Group!

Until next time, stay inspired.


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Jana Williams

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