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Perfect your exposure in the studio

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Tips from Digital Photographer, by Mark White
March 3, 2015

Learn how to use a light meter with studio flash in this quick-fire tutorial

Using a light meter might sound like an outdated technique, but in fact it can make a dramatic difference to your pictures. We used a Sekonic model in this tutorial, but a similar method applies to most models.

1. Set the Meter mode

You need to specify how the flash will be triggered. Here, the flash has been set to trigger via a cord, as indicated by a “c” next to the flash symbol.

2. Select Incident mode

Reflected metering is the light reflected off the subject, but this mode can be slightly innacurate. Incident metering is light that falls on the subject. 

3. Think about ISO

In order to achieve an accurate meter reading, you will need to tell the meter what ISO you will be shooting with, such as ISo 100. 

4. Set the shutter speed

Before taking a meter reading, specify the shutter speed. It’s best to set this to the maximum flash sync speed that your camera is capable of.

5. Rotate the lumisphere retractor ring

For portrait photography, you need to rotate the lumisphere retractor ring on the top of the meter to ensure that the dome is raised.

6. Take the meter reading

The reading must be taken with all flash units firing, as light is additive. The dome should point back towards the camera from the subject position.

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