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3.2 Metering

Proper positioning is key to getting even lighting, but how do you know it’s perfectly even? In this lesson you will learn how to use a light meter to ensure perfect lighting.

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3.2 Metering

In this lesson I'm gonna show you how to use a light meter to ensure you're getting a very even exposure and to help you to dial in exactly where you need to position your lights. So if you're going to use a constant lighting source like I'm using here, you're going to need a light meter that can measure a constant lighting source. If your light meter has other features that can measure strobes, that's totally fine. But for this application it really only needs to be able to measure ambient light or a constant lighting source. Now usually these lighting meters will have a few different settings. It'll have kind of this lumisphere here, and then if we slide this over, this also has a reflectance meter here. Both of these are not the best way to measure the exposure for a flat surface right here. What you wanna use instead is a lumidisc, which is flat. And what this does is it basically replicates this flat surface here. So if a take a measurement right in the center here it's showing me f4 at one-sixth of a second here. And the thing that I want to see here is what kind of exposure difference that I'm getting here from one side to the other. So if I take a measurement at the close side of my rig I'm getting f4.5. If I go to the opposite side I'm getting f3.2. So that's not as even as I would like, but remember I do have another light. But let's see if I can get it closer just by moving this light further away. Now I'm getting f2. Now I'm getting f1.6, so it is evening out the farther we're getting it away. But the problem is that that light is just not bright enough and that's not going to give me a good exposure. It's gonna lead to really long exposure times. So I'm gonna pull it back a little bit, and I'm gonna turn this other light on here. 6.3 on the edge here, 7.1 in the middle, and 6.3 on this edge. So if I want a more even exposure, what I'm gonna have to do is move these lights further back. So there we go. So take one more reading here. I think this should be fine. Now I'm getting f4, f4, f4, f4, pretty much f4 everywhere. Does seem to be a little bit darker right here. So I think what I can do is just move this a little closer, [COUGH] because I think the camera here is blocking just some of the light. There we go, now I have f4, f4.5. So I'm gonna actually move this off in this direction. F4, f4, f4, f4, f4. So now everywhere it's giving me f4 and most importantly in the middle, f4, f4, f4, f4, f4, f4. Everywhere is f4. So I did have to kind of account for the fact that the camera and this rigging here was blocking some of the light but now everything looks super, super even and it's not exactly symmetrical. But because these lights are big and I've metered it I know that everything is nice and even. Now I'm not shooting at f4, so what I need to do is to just click up on this or down so that it reads f11. And now what it tells me is my exposure on my camera needs to be 1.3 seconds. So I'm going to set the exposure for f11 and 1.3 seconds. And I'll just do a quick test photo. We'll see what this looks like. [SOUND] Nice. That looks very, very even in terms of exposure. Now if you don't have a light meter, one thing you can do to try and make this work for you is to get a plain sheet of white paper that's not very reflective and take a photo of it. Then in either Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom, you can check the exposure by hovering your mouse over and basically move your lights. And check your exposure this way to make sure that your exposure is going to be very, very even across where you're going to be shooting your photos. Now this way does take some more time. But it is a pretty good way to make sure that you are getting a very, very, good exposure. So again, you don't necessarily need a light meter to do this, but if you do have a light meter it will make it much, much faster to do. And it is a very handy tool to have in the world of photography. So now that you know how to use a light meter to dial in the exposure, and to precisely position your lights, it's time to talk about color calibration. And that's coming up next.

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