While they were once a fixture in every studio and photographer’s gear bag, light meters seem to have fallen out of fashion ever since digital photography came along. And while it’s true that we now have a lot more options for exposing our shots, the humble light meter can still play a very valuable role in nailing the shot quickly and consistently.
The cost of messing up the exposure of a shot, twiddling some dials and shooting another isn’t as expensive as it was in the film days, light meters can still save you a lot of time and hassle. And in this great video, Daniel Norton walks us through how to use a light meter, along with some tips and tricks to make your life a little easier when using one.
I’ve been using a light meter for years. Right now, my main light meter is the Sekonic L-758 – the predecessor to the L-858 that Daniel uses in the video – and I still have my old L-718 as a backup. I don’t use it on every shoot. Sometimes I can afford to take the time to experiment and getting perfect exposure isn’t as essential but for some shoots, they provide a level of consistency that just going by the camera’s built-in reflective meter or the histogram can’t.
This is especially true with long-term projects that can potentially span multiple weeks, months or years with different cameras where all the images need to match each other. And, of course, it’s still extremely handy whenever I’m shooting film, particularly with flash!
Even though I don’t use it on every shoot, I don’t think there will ever be a time that I don’t have a light meter in my bag. How about you? Do you use one? Are you thinking about getting one?