Tips for Consistent Metering

Tips for Consistent Metering

With so many sources of varying information out there, how do you decipher what the best metering technique is? After hundreds of thousands of rolls, we have learned that keeping it simple is your best bet for consistent, accurate exposures:

Use a Handheld Meter.

Handheld light meters allow you to accurately read the amount of incoming light hitting your subject.

Bulb + Placement.

Where you place your light meter in relation to your subject is important. Place your meter directly in front of your subject, bulb out, facing directly toward where you will be standing when you shoot.

Stretch Out Your Arm.

And stand to the side of your meter to avoid bouncing any reflective light off of yourself, which would affect the meter reading.

Meter Frequently.

Light changes constantly. Meter frequently to ensure consistent exposures. Consistent exposures lead to consistent scans—and help your film move through the lab more quickly!

Can't Meter Your Subject Directly?

Is your subject too far away? Not a problem, as long as you and your subject are in the same light, simply reach your meter high above your head pointed bulb out away from your subject and boop take a meter reading.

Test Your Meter.

Did you know most light meters aren't perfectly calibrated? In fact, it's common for them to be off slightly, and you may need to compensate accordingly!

Here's an easy way to test your light meter:

  • Set the ISO to 200.

  • On a clear day in the mid- to late afternoon, take a reading bulb out in open shade.

  • Your meter should read f/4 at 125.

  • If it doesn't, calculate the difference and compensate accordingly for future shoots!

Recommended Light Meter:

We like the Sekonic L-358 or Gossen DigiPro F2.

    • Related Articles

    • Tips for Tack-Sharp Images

      Shoot Above f/2. Yes, apertures above f/2 and f/2.8 do exist—and they photograph on film beautifully! The smaller your aperture number, the smaller your depth of field. When shooting at f/2 or f/2.8, your depth of field is quite shallow. As such, ...
    • How to Make an Exposure Ramp

      If you are new to film, transitioning to a new film stock or just haven't been happy with your exposures, we have a solution that will save you time, money and energy in achieving your ideal scans—exposure ramps. Exposure ramps help you learn a film ...
    • Base Fog

      What is Base Fog? OK, don’t freak out—all film has base fog. What?! Yep, it is called “film base plus fog” or “FB+F.” “Base” is the density of an unexposed, processed area of film. It is a section of the film that has been developed, yet never ...
    • Learning From Your Negatives

      When shooting film, your negatives are your road map to understanding the relationship between your exposures and your scan results. Your negatives can also clue you in to common camera problems, like film flatness, or film stock issues, like base ...
    • Exposure Reference Sheets

      What are Exposure Reference Sheets? Your negatives are your road map to understanding the relationship between your exposures and your scans. Exposure Reference Sheets are included with every roll of Signature Process + Scan. They provide a thumbnail ...