General Metering

A guide to each metering mode on your camera

Vintage Camera Showing Agfa Lens

General Metering - Your DSLR will have a number of metering modes that at first glance can seem a little confusing and overwhelming. Which do you use and when?

It is so important NOT to delete images that you think are under or over exposed. It is all too easy to do this when reviewing them on your cameras LCD screen. The amount of times that I have saved a shot later on using Photoshop is incredible.

Some of them have even ended up being my favourite shots. Of course, shooting RAW and the extra latitude for error that it gives can save you many times when exposures go wrong.

General metering example

The shot below was fairly underexposed at a wedding shoot. This was due to myself taking a few test shots as the lighting was complicated. I did get the shots right in the end. However, if this was the only shot I got, I was safe in the knowledge that I could pull the details during RAW processing.

Hover over the image to show the edited version. If on a Smartphone, tap the image and then outside the image to see the before and after.

It all takes practice with all the general metering settings on your camera to find which one suits you for each shoot. Before I go into finer details about capturing an image, here is a quick rundown of each metering mode that your camera may have. We go into more detail on the following pages:

  • Evaluative
  • Partial
  • Spot
  • Center-weighted Average
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