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setting up exposure metering and speed light

pjslpjsl Member
edited August 2018 in general photography
I like the way to set up focusing on the white dress and checking the histogram.
That is a great concept. Thank you for the bandh youtube "direction of light" explaining that.

Now I have a question:
If I don't have a white dress , how do I do? I briefly saw you could focus on the sunlit area(?), or white cloud(?)
After check shot, do I adjust histogram in Lightroom(which I did)? When  I did check the lens correction and camera vivid(my choice),
histogram shifted to dark and I adjusted it.  But I like the color and mood before I adjusted in Lightroom.  The black color did not look
black but more like dark blue. Is it because the angle of the camera to the plane of the subject?

Now regards speed light, I never used a speed light before and don't own one. I am a hobbyist and I guess I could use speed light once in a while at parties and friends' children wedding. Profoto A1 is a little pricey. I have Nikon d800e and what do you recommend for speed light? 


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Hi there ... 

    I know it is just how you phrase it, but you need to distinguish between focusing and metering. The two things are not connected. 

    Back to your question about metering off the white dress. If your subject doesn't have something white to meter off, you wouldn't as easily be able to use the histogram. Then you could simply meter off a neutral tone - the traditional "middle grey".  That has worked, and will always work. 

    More about exposure metering techniques here:  Exposure metering

    You wouldn't meter off the clouds, or sunlit area ... and still use the histogram. The histogram method works best if you are metering off the brightest relevant tone of your subject. 

    There are two key elements there: 
     - brightest relevant tone  (ie, not specular highlights)
     - your subject.  (ie, not something random)

    Your example you mention of your metering where you didn't like the end result - it is most likely because you didn't meter off the brightest tone (and set that on your histogram) ... OR .. meter for a middle tone like you normally would with your camera's meter. 

    For a speedlight for your Nikon, the best value for money at the moment is the Godox V860 II
  • pjslpjsl Member
    Hello Neil,

    I appreciate your response very much. I have read those articles you mentioned ,some of them more than twice. These are very new to me but I could testify that the white dress metering method has resulted in very nice color renditions.I was pleasantly surprised. Now I am curious and anxious to learn the rationale, rules or theories involved.

    In cases where there is no white dress ,which is the most cases to me since I do landscape ,birds,wildlife , macro and travel photography. I like to learn how to use middle grey , neutral tone method.( I have a xrite color  checker classic but never used it and do not know how to use it.)  I will watch youtubes regards how to use middle grey. I am going to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs soon and hopefully I could utilize it.

    As to a speed light, I heard about Godox V860II and was not sure until now. I am going to order it soon and practice before I go to a wedding this December in Cancun. I am excited and yet nervous how the photographs will look like.

    I wish to bring Softbox, umbrella , reflector and stands(currently I do not own any of them) .
    I like to take group photographs using them but the weights and troubles of carrying and setting them up deter me from buying them.

    Any solution or recommendation will be quite welcome.(By the way I did watch your youtube on location photo taking at someone's apartment with male model.)

    Once again I like to thank you and tell you that I enjoyed your presentation at BandH a while ago and  I bookmarked it and watched again lately and wanted to learn more about it.

    Thank you


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