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I try to focus on one technical aspect of photography every few weeks and spend time trying to learn what my feeble mind will allow me to retain.

This month I have decided to dedicate to Exposure and all aspects of it. That of course included aperture, shutter speed, ISO and of course light metering in order to achieve proper and creative exposure.

I bought Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, which I found to be a fantastic read, but still felt a little left in the dark.

So to all those who may take pitty on me, do you have suggestions for good settings in manual mode that are best for indoor/low light settings (I have a 50mm f/1.8 prime, 70-300mm IS and a 17-85mm IS)

Any suggestions on a formula or calculation to achieve good exposure is greatly appreciated.

Tags: beginner, exposure, help, tipsandtechniques

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Hmmm giving you a round a bout manual mode for each lens even in an indoor/low light setting could kinda difficult - how much indoor light do you have, and what aperture are you going to set for? This would give you your shutter speed. For the most part you would put each lens in it highest aperture which in turn would allow the most light to come in, probably 400 ISO minimum and shutter speed - fast enough to capture the motion you want to get. What are trying to take pictures of inside? A flower vase sitting still or a bunch of 3 year olds that won't sit still for a moment.

And then you can experiment: you are going to have a give and take somewhere because of how much light, the speed of the object you're taking pictures of and the aperture settings capable by your lens. I'd experiment on something slow first - really slow - remember you can add more indoor/low light to what you are taking pictures of: open the shades/curtains on the window(s), move a lamp(s) closer to what you are taking a picture of and change your white balance in post or get a flashlight and use a slower shutter speed and move the flashlight around a bit to get more light.

In other words you have a lot of variables so I would set up some tests/experiments and see what your camera and you can do in post and have fun!!
Sorry for the rather open ended question here. I should narrow it down a bit. I most often photograph running children in my home. In the day I have great light, but at night in the family room where all the activity is, there is only ambient light, which is not much at all. I prefer to use my 50mm lens as it has the largest aperture of all my lenses, plus I like the dof I get.

I guess my question really is, how do I meter for light? Do I do evaluative? Spot? Where should I find my meter light source before I recompose the scene? Since it is low light, I wondered if I need to meter off of something much brighter?
If you are metering you want to stand where your subject would be and point the meter to where you and the camera would be. Usually in a house like that I wouldn't worry so much about dof as do i have the picture I want. I'd much rather have the picture as crisp and clean rather than have the refrigerator behind them in focus....just my opinion. If you're in a small area you can probably meter for the room and not have to meter for another room.
"If you are metering you want to stand where your subject would be and point the meter to where you and the camera would be."

Only if the meter is a hand held, incident meter. In-camera meters are reflective meters and measure the light reflecting off the subject. Incident meters measure the light falling on them, so they are used at the subject.
"I guess my question really is, how do I meter for light? Do I do evaluative? Spot? Where should I find my meter light source before I recompose the scene? Since it is low light, I wondered if I need to meter off of something much brighter?"

Metering mode determines what part of the scene in the viewfinder the meter will consider. Evaluative, matrix, multi-segment, etc... break the scene up into many sections, and assign a different amount of influence to each section. For instance most folks compose so the subject is in the center (not saying that's good, just the way many do it), so the most important section is the middle. The top of the scene is often bright sky, so the meter doesn't count that as much, etc...

Older versions of the same are like center weighted metering. It breaks the scene into 2 or 3 sections: the center and everything else, with the center getting most of the influence on what the meter recommends.

Spot metering means the meter only measures what's in the very center of the viewfinder.

In general you want to meter off something that you would like to come out middle gray tone (your meter only sees tones, not colors). Depending on the dynamic range of the scene and ability of the camera this can be problematic sometimes. If important highlights are being lost you may have to meter a brighter part of the scene. If important shadow detail is being lost you may have to meter something darker. Just remember that the exposure the meter is giving you will make whatever you are metering middle gray tone. If you want it lighter you have to overexposure from the meter's suggestion, and vice versa for darker.
There's no certain setting of exposure for different lighting situation. Some suggest on a bright sunny day you use f/16 at 1/125 sec. @ ISO 100 but it really depends on what you are metering. You can always use your camera light meter as a guide. I find this site to be very helpful
Dear Lee-anne,

The idea is to caputre a situation in a photograph with the maximum amount of detail.

Now exposure plays an important if not -------the role !

I am trying to understand exposure and realise that there are to many parameters. I have read an article some time back on "Shoor to the right" pl check this concept as it has helped me a lot !


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