Often I’m asked where to point the meter when metering.
You have to realize that the light meter is an incident meter, meaning it meters the light falling on the meter…. so if you know which part of the subject you want to be lit correctly you hold the meter in front of that part. In the studio this often means you meter towards the light source, however sometimes you don’t, like in this shot that I took during the Photokina.
I wanted a nice “wraparound” effect around my model so I pointed actually in between the light source and the camera, meaning the face would be lit slightly lower than “normal” and the model would get a nice highlighted accent on her nose and arm. A little bit of “steam” on the lens created the rest.
Remember the following for proper use of the meter :
1. It’s not hard, it’s a very simple device that just gives you the value to set the camera for a proper exposure.
2. Point the meter towards the light that hits the subjects part you want to be rendered correctly, remember that light is EVERYWHERE, it’s not just in the hotspot of a light source, but it can be a reflection etc.
3. Point the meter in REFLECTIVE mode towards an area and you will get a value for 18% gray, with this you can very quickly calculate the way to go pure white (most cameras +3) or to pure black (most cameras -4.5).
For much more information get my book “Mastering the modelshoot”