What Do Metering and Exposure Do in Photography?

In photography, metering and exposure are two of the most important thing we can get involved with when making pictures.

Metering and Exposure In Photography Sam D’Amico’s Photography classes were voted the Best Art Class in Washington, DC.  

What Are Metering and Exposure?

Whether working in an automatic or manual exposure mode, the meter is a tool in our camera that measures the intensity, or brightness, of reflected light.

And increasing or decreasing exposure, among other things, controls the tonality or brightness of our pictures.

Additionally, working together, metering, and exposure help us create the recording of light that we call photographs.

Why Are They Important?

Metering and exposure are important in photography because they operate together to measure light intensity and create a picture at a standard tonality based on the light intensity.

And a standard tonality is crucial because it’s a known baseline to control exposure.

However, we don’t need to leave the picture at a standard tonality since exposure controls the tonality of our photograph that’s recorded onto light-sensitive material (digital sensor, film, etc.)

Still, getting our metering and exposure to achieve a standard tonality is a good idea.

What Do They Do?

In short, metering is an evaluation, and exposure is a decision.

Furthermore, we meter to evaluate the light intensity of what we find important in our photograph.

And then, we decide what exposure settings we should use to control the tonality of what we metered for.   

It’s in this way that metering and exposure are important in photography.

Metering, Exposure, and Composition

Metering and exposure are important elements of our compositional process, and doing them skillfully has advantages.

In any fully automatic exposure mode, we lose the ability to meter because the camera does it for us. 

However, we regain the ability to meter thoughtfully in the aperture/shutter priority and full manual exposure modes.

Involving Ourselves in Metering and Exposure vs. the Camera Doing It for Us

If asked, could we tell someone what we metered off of and why we decided on our exposure settings?

In other words, did we evaluate and decide, or did our camera do it for us?

And, of course, creating photographs while getting involved in metering and exposure in our photography results in better pictures.

The Getting To Know Your Camera class teaches how to create photographs thoughtfully using aperture and shutter priority modes. 

The Introduction To Photography class teaches how to create photographs using manual exposure mode.


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Metering and Exposure In Photography

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