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  #1  
Old 27-03-12, 14:01
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bend the light bend the light is offline  
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Default Using a light meter...have I got the idea?

I have a Shepherd Light Meter which I intend to use in the studio. I just want to be sure I am using it properly.

So, here is it:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7...513132f7_o.jpg
How to use light meter small by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

So, I decide to read the light coming directly from the studio light, and so set the meter to "incident" with the little dome covering the sensor.
I set the ISO, in this case to 100.
I press the flash button on the side which triggers the flash (I have it plugged in to the unit).
I read 2 LEDs.
I turn the dial to "2"
I read off the aperture below (in this case, f2). (measurements are given as 1/125 seconds for shutter)

If I have shutter at 1/250 I need to open up by a stop (which would mean going to f1.4?)
If I set the shutter at 1/60, say, I need to stop down by a stop (going to f2.8?)


So does that sound right? So what if I have 2 lights?

Another thing - what if I want to read reflected light? I set it to the reflected setting, but this time read the light coming from, say, a person's face. This would read a combination of more than one light?

Another question - If I make a measurement of the face, reflected light, and then make a reading of reflected light from clothing, for instance, and they are different...what do i set?

Hopefully there are some folks who can help...I HAVE read the manual, but the manual is about how to take readings, not what to take readings of, or why.
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Old 27-03-12, 19:51
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Never used a studio meter but it strikes me you need to take your incidence light reading at the position of the subject which would automatically take into account the two flash heads as it would read the combined light subject arriving at the subject. With lights point the dome towards the camera position. If nothing else try that, take a few shots, and see.
Reflected light is the same as your camera uses so if it is a portrait take the reading from the the side of the face which is receiving the most light, being careful not to get in the way of the light source yourself. I say take the reading from the face as that is the main subject and is also going to contain the highlights, expose for the highlights so they don't burn out and let the shadows look after themselves. If the shadows are too dark on the side of face towards the lesser powered light increase that lights power or move the light nearer the subject a little to even things up a bit, do not alter the exposure itself.
Hope that makes sense and someone will correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 28-03-12, 07:42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miketoll View Post
Never used a studio meter but it strikes me you need to take your incidence light reading at the position of the subject which would automatically take into account the two flash heads as it would read the combined light subject arriving at the subject. With lights point the dome towards the camera position. If nothing else try that, take a few shots, and see.
Reflected light is the same as your camera uses so if it is a portrait take the reading from the the side of the face which is receiving the most light, being careful not to get in the way of the light source yourself. I say take the reading from the face as that is the main subject and is also going to contain the highlights, expose for the highlights so they don't burn out and let the shadows look after themselves. If the shadows are too dark on the side of face towards the lesser powered light increase that lights power or move the light nearer the subject a little to even things up a bit, do not alter the exposure itself.
Hope that makes sense and someone will correct me if I am wrong.
It does makle sense, and fits with other advice I have been given. Most say that I don't need to use reflected light in a studio, as incident light is possible to measure. Not possible to measure reflected light in a landscape, for instance.

Yes, the measuring of the two lights makes sense too. Thanks for your input...notes duly taken and stored for use!
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Old 28-03-12, 10:38
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Originally Posted by bend the light View Post
Not possible to measure reflected light in a landscape, for instance.
Er, what? Not April the 1st yet is it? Your cameras always measure the reflected light in a landscape. We see that landscape by detecting the reflected light with our eyes.
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Old 28-03-12, 11:25
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Er, what? Not April the 1st yet is it? Your cameras always measure the reflected light in a landscape. We see that landscape by detecting the reflected light with our eyes.
No, I mixed up...I meant not possible to measure incident light with a meter if shooting a landscape...you would have to travel for miles to get a reading pointed at your camera. I got it the wrong way round.
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Old 28-03-12, 20:12
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Not so in many cases. If the landscape is in similar lighting conditions to where you are standing, say bright overcast or sunshine or whatever, then an incident meter reading will be perfectly accurate. This is how it used to be done many years ago before in camera metering was invented. Think Weston meter or in my personal case an old Leningrad meter using selenium. Reflective meter readings were no better as the meter's field of view was often very different to the angle of view of the taking lens and and it was impossible to point the meter exactly at the subject. The invention of spot metering helped but it takes real skill to point the spot reading at precisely the right point. Meters still get things wrong today but are far better than they used to be.
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