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Lets talk about Metering with your DSLR. If you have seen this Button or setting in your camera and don't understand what the different setting means you are not along! most beginners don't even think about metering there shots, they normally let the camera do that for them and focus more on composition.

Once you get your camera out of Auto and really start breaking your images down you will be more focused on light! Light is what makes photography possible in the first place, without light there is no composition. I could talk all day about light but today lets talk about what in camera metering is all about!

When you find the Metering settings on your camera you will normally notice 3 different settings to choose from.

1. Matrix Metering

2. Center Weighted Metering

3. Spot Metering

As most of you know I like to break stuff down a simply as possible, I don't want to fill your head with useless tech garbage that you will never need to use or that will make these settings scary to try. So here we go!   

Matrix Metering.

Above you will see an image and a red box. When your camera is set to Matrix Metering mode the sensor inside the camera will look at all of the area inside the red box and take an average of light. So all of that sun set behind the deer is bright, the deer the ground the trees is all dark your camera will ad the dark space and the light space and find the middle ground value of the two. It will then use that value to adjust your exposure settings. 

This setting is great for landscapes because it takes into account a large area and gives you a balance of light across the entire scene.  

Center Weighted Metering

Same concept here. Center Weighted Metering will use a lot less of the frame as you can see from the red box to get that value. A good rule of thumb is if you look through your eyepiece you will have your focus box or the area with the cameras focus points for auto focus. This box is about the size of the area your camera is metering from.

This setting would be used when you have a pronounced subject (like the deer above) and you want your subject to have the best light and exposure possible. I actually shot this image in Center Weighted Metering. WHY? if I would have chosen Matrix the bright sky would have taken over the value and made the brown deer just a silhouette against the sky.      

Spot Metering

Lastly Spot Metering, the red box is now just a tiny spot in the center of the frame. much less of the frame is being taken into consideration with this setting.

often times people will use this in portraits to get dramatic shadows across the face of the subject. If you are old like me you will remember when you had pictures taken at school the photographer would hold a small black box with a white bubble on it up near your face and trigger the flash. he would then look at the numbers on the box to set his exposure settings. I know people still use this today but most wildlife and nature photographers do not. it is hard to not scare your deer away using a handheld light meter.


So I hope this was helpful. The only true way to learn and understand your camera is to take this info out into the field and try it out. Practice using these settings and you will enjoy your finished product so much more!

If you have any questions about this subject feel free to email me

Now Get Out There!