All posts about light meters.

Why you should use a meter

I won’t call any names
But again a totally useless and ridiculous video online on why you should not use a lightmeter.

Guys listen
Learn how to use it (it’s incredibly simple, just hold it in front of the area you want correctly lit and take the reading).

No need to take test shots and when you change locations or setups the exposure is always equal so you deliver something that is of constant quality. Which not only doesn’t make you look like an amateur but also shaves off a load of work.

In essence when I take a shot I never have to touch anything in the raw convertor unless I want to for creative purposes or to counteract filters I am using.

A few things that always comes back

1. I don’t know any model that’s 18% gray
No dummy me neither and that’s why you SHOULD use a meter because the camera meters reflective and the meter incident. So first learn how a meter works before telling people this kind of nonsense

2. It kills creativity
Oh please. Just look at my portfolio (not creative?)
It actually helps creativity because you don’t have to mess around with getting your lighting in order. And because with a meter (and colorchecker) you always have the same “perfect” base you can very quickly use the same presets and get consistent results very fast. Meaning more time for creative work.

3. It slows me down
Learn how to use the fricking thing.

4. I always over expose half a stop
Huh….. How do you know how to overexpose half a stop if you don’t meter….. That’s just the dumbest thing ever.

With a meter you get the base reading. If you want to under or overexpose you can still do that. But it’s much faster and consistant.

5. You don’t need it for digital
Lol. Ok so digital changes the whole science of light. You probably also believe that a crop sensor needs a stop extra of light because it’s smaller……

6. I use the histogram
The histogram us useless for proper exposure. It just shows you the values in your shot. If you shoot a snowman in a snowstorm everything is mostly right. When you shoot a black cat in a mine everything is mostly left. That’s about the usability of the histogram. It’s nice to see if you blew out highlights (although that’s also not true because you are judging a jpg thumbnail. Unless you shoot tethered). A histogram never gives you the correct exposure.

7. I am so experienced I can read the light
Yeah sure. And I can see the future.
Look when you use the same strobes in the same setup you can get away with it. But when I look at my work (and most) we always change setups, outputs etc. So good luck “reading” your lights. Trust me that’s just BS. I can get close due to years of experience but close is not good enough and still takes me time to correct. And I don’t want to spend time on correcting. Just get it right in a few seconds

I can go on and on
A lightmeter is a TOOL nothing more or less.
It doesn’t kill creativity. That is your own choice/problem
It’s just there to get a proper base reading so you know how to get the proper exposure thanks to the diffused value.

It’s nothing more and certainly nothing less
In my opinion every photographer that uses strobes inside or out should use a meter. If they value speed and accuracy.

If you want to look like an amateur messing around with your light and delivering images that vary in exposure and color (colorchecker) be my guest. But don’t make videos with wrong information that thousands of people watch.

Every single reason to NOT use a meter is a lack of knowledge about the meter. And that’s it.

When not to use a meter?
When you can get away with the onboard metering. So events, street and travel etc. Thanks the the evf and display we can get judge our images pretty fast. And if you don’t need the model/subject to look the same in each shot/scene using a meter can slow you down. But when you shoot one model/subject under different conditions the meter will speed up your workflow so much it leaves you plenty of time to be more creative with your final result.

Sorry for the rant but I hate it when people spread false information especially when it’s education. We can disagree on many parts but literally telling people a meter is useless is the biggest BS out there.

Any questions feel free to ask

#alphapro #sekonic #xrite #benq #photography

Using the meter for balance. 

I love using a lightmeter.
Not because it’s cool, but because it simply makes my life a lot easier and it doesn’t make me look like an amateur that’s just guessing my exposure. 

Now a lot of people think a lightmeter is difficult to use. But in essence it’s pretty simple. Just hold it in front of the area you want correctly lit and voila you have your exposure. (Don’t point towards anything, it’s an incident meter so hold it on front of the area you want to be correct. In most cases this does mean to meter towards the light source btw). 

In this shot I actually used a combination of reflective and incident. First reflective to meter the outside and when I got the look I want (I metered a cloud and and opened up 2.5 stops. This is done because the reflective meter will give you the value for 18% gray so you have to calculate from there) 

Now that I know the exposure to get the sky the way I want I simply use that same aperture to set up the strobe and done. 

As you can see. Using a meter takes out all the guess work. Want to know more about lightmeters? Check out my instructional video about the meter on 

Tip : Strong backlighting

In the 70’s they knew….
Using strong backlighting can be cool, it creates cool lens flares and it really spices up a shot, I won’t say that after the 70’s the photography went south and flat but in all honesty I sometimes am stunned by the questions I get during workshops about lens flare and backlighting, so I thought it would be cool to write a small blogpost about them.

Whenever I post an image with a strong backlight people ask me for the filter I used?
Now don’t get me wrong I do use filters… I love DxO filmpack and Alien Skin Exposure for tinting my images and I use a LOT of MacPhun intensify to spice up the pop of my images, but the lens flares are in 99% of the cases 100% real.

The shot on top we shot during last weeks workshop with iris and is just a strobe right behind our model without any modifier.
If you meter in front of the model (in this case pointing towards the camera) the exposure on her face will be correct, in fact it’s the scatter light from the studio lighting her face. This is also the cool thing about using an incident light meter (A sekonic in my case), if you hold it in front of the area you want correctly exposed you will get a proper exposure. Now it’s up to you to determine the look you want. In this case I only used one light so it COULD be that the backlight is way too strong, you can than do a few things. You can feather the light (turn it away from the model), or move it to the side of the model so not all light is hitting her (when using a reflector), or (when using a bare strobe) move it further back, or use a reflector in the front, all these techniques will do one thing, lower the contrast between the backlighting and front light.

In essence it looks like a very easy setup, but if you just throw in your lighting you will probably fail, or need a lot of Ps work, so make sure to meter correctly.
If you want to learn techniques about metering, check out our video on the light meter via Video downloads

When you want to do these kind of shots make sure to practice a lot with a mannequin or doll before doing it live with a model.

Some more samples where I used strong(er) backlighting from the sun and strobes.


Want more in-depth tips and techniques?
Check out my book “Mastering the model shoot” or get one of my instructional videos via Direct video downloads

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Sekonic news

You know I love light meters right?
Well I’ve been testing a new Sekonic for a while now and can tell you that’s it the “perfect” meter for all you Elinchrom users out there.
It doesn’t include a 1 degree spot meter (for that you still need to get the 758) but for the rest it’s one cool meter.


Sekonic LITEMASTER PRO L-478DR-EL/L-478DR-PX Series
Additional Radio System of Elinchrom and Phottix

Sekonic announced two new light meters compatible with the systems of its alliance partners Elinchrom and Phottix.

The new models of L-478DR-EL Series and L-478DR-PX Series, developed with cooperation of Elinchrom in Switzerland and Phottix in Hong Kong, offer wireless triggering and power control of Elinchrom flash units and triggering of flashes and radio triggers using the Phottix Strato II protocol, respectively.

Both use Sekonic’s breakthrough DTS (Data Transfer Software) system that automates meter calibration to the camera-in-use and expanded Cine features that put these meters in a class of their own. Each meter features a distinctive, signature-color rubber surround and name badge for the flash brand it controls.

Flash Triggering with Phottix Strato II Protocolproducts 
The L-478DR-PX flash control screen allows selection of a single group or a combination of groups for flash brightness measurement. The F-number value for the light being measured appears in a central area on the screen as well as over respective group selection button.

The measured value for each group is maintained as a visual record of the brightness-difference of the lights in use so that lighting ratios can be easily determined. The L-478DR-PX group selection and triggering is compatible with Phottix flashes and radios that are compatible with the Phottix Strato II protocol. This includes flashes connected to the Strato and Strato II receivers and the Atlas II transceivers. Compatible Phottix flashes include the Indra360, Indra500 and Mitros+ series flashes designed for use with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras. For more information about Phottix products, see