Exposure plays a good role while taking images at a particular place of photography. This article is all about metering and exposure in photography. Before talking more about metering, let me tell you that there are different types of exposure metering modes available for your camera. You can go for two of three modes at a time to get your desired exposure.

Okay, so starting over with explaining you the three types of metering modes-

The first one we have is the Spot Metering Mode. Well, the word itself is self-explanatory, but I will explain it to you to make it more understandable. Spot metering generally concentrates on the subject placed in the middle of the scene. Thus it only exposes the subjects at a particular spot.


"spot metering"
Image Courtesy: Digital Camera World

Looking at this funny little figure, might not explain you how spot metering does the job. What it’s trying to explain is that the curvy mountain that you can see in this image is an object at a particular spot. And the grey floor is a platform where the camera ignores the exposure settings to be applied. What it means is that, your camera will not expose any subject present on the grey floor but it will only expose the center object.

Okay, now what about the background of that exposed spot? Well, you’re not the only one to have this question on your mind. Don’t worry I have a simple answer for your question. The background of the exposed spot is not exposed along with the spot. The background remains unexposed and only the spot is remains exposed.

But finally, these metering modes are only for a small portion of the image. As these exposure settings can only be applied at the center of the image, they can only be used at specific situations. So if you are thinking of limited exposure for your images then Spot Metering Mode would do for you. For example, if you are shooting photos at a studio or a place where you don’t have much availability of light and you only have to expose a particular person in the center, then going for spot metering can help you out.

The second mode of metering is namely the Center-weighted metering for exposure. This mode is a bit more similar to the previous one but with a slight difference. The similarity is that the exposure settings are adjusted at the center but with the edges falling slowly increasing the area of exposure compared to the previous one. You can clearly observe the similarities and differences in the image below.

"center-weighted metering"
Image Courtesy: Digital Camera World

The difference seen among the two is that center-weighted metering exposes dark colors of the subject instead of exposing the whole of the subject. Your cameras are designed intelligently by intelligent electronic engineers. This mode is intelligent enough to identify between highlighted and dark colors of your image and apply the settings only as required. What it does is, it only exposes the dark colors of the subject keeping the highlighted colors unexposed. Your camera knows that highlighted colors are already bright, so if it goes for exposing even more the highlighted colors of your image, then you get that irritating overexposed regions in your photos like this one.

"metering modes" "metering correct exposure"

Well, center-weighted metering alone cannot work best for you. You still have to go for spot metering along with this one. So forget about getting vibrant photos alone with this metering.

The third type of metering is the Zone or Matrix Metering Mode. In this metering mode your image is divided into number of zones. You can choose by yourself in how many zones the image to be divided. Different brands use different number of zones. There are ranges of number of zones for an image to be divided.

According to professionals and daily DSLR users, this mode is the most accurate mode for metering. The reason why these zones are made for an image is for making them interesting as well as exposed appropriately. You can selectively expose a part of an image in a particular zone. So whatever changes you make stay balanced.  You don’t have struggle a lot to deal with those unwanted hot pixels in your image. Also, the mode simply ignores the areas that are out of focus in a zone.

There are instances when these modes fail to apply exposure settings appropriately. The very best example is winter photography. This usually happens in images of people in black jackets playing on white snow. And to avoid this, your camera has different scene mode with appropriate exposure setting pre-applied for you.

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