Miraz Light At Work Photography

Metering Light. For FREE !

I not-so-recently  came across a really nifty app to meter light. We know that the display on our dslr lies every single time to us when we're chimping. Unless we're actually looking at the histogram on the display and not the picture. How does it lie? Its a combination of our brain and our eyes. When we look at a scene, our eyes are programmed to overcompensate. The same applies to when we are looking at an image in the camera's display. To top that, the way our brain is wired, since "we've" taken the picture, it obviously tells us there's nothing wrong with it. So unless we check the histogram on the camera display we're being fooled. Come to the rescue - light meters ! A top end one with all the bells and whistles sells anywhere between $250 and $400. So, if you have that much to spend, by all means go ahead and invest in it. However, if you are trying to save money for other gear (think fast lenses) then here's a great option thats FREE. Does it work in all possible scenarios? No it has its limitations. But it works most of the time. Oh and did I say its free?  So what is it? Its an iPhone App called Pocket Light Meter.

Here's an example of how to use it and what it does. Forgive the lack of a better subject. Then again, the subject was delicious enough that I had to eat it all up leaving only crumbs.

Note that since I shoot outdoors and indoors, I have an approximate idea of what ISO I need. But here's my thought process (I do something similar for each session. Since this was shot indoors, I knew I had to bump up my ISO past its minimum of 100. I usually like the ISO to be 400 inside my home on bright sunny days since I have tall windows with lots of non-direct sunlight . It might very well be different in your home depending on the amount of light outside and the amount and direction of light coming in to your setting. Next, at the back of my mind, since I was shooting with a 50mm so I knew I did not want my speed to drop below a 100 at any cost.  I also like to shoot open and from my experience I've learned that my 50mm's sweet spot is f2.8. Yes I lose out on a few stops of light but my image is sharper at f2.8 than at f1.8. So here's the Pocket Light Meter app screen on my phone.

Yes I was aiming at the appetizer plate. And the crumbs. Lets not get into what the crumbs were left behind from. I put in the ISO of 400 and the aperture of 2.8. The app showed me the "Time" which is the shutter speed. As you can see its over 1/100. So I pick up my camera and take this picture after dialing in these settings. This is the raw original SOOC.

Here's the exif data

And here is the histogram.

The clipping on the histogram corresponds to the shadow in the bottom right corner but overall, as you can see, it is quite evenly distributed. If I would have increased the ISO to 500, I would have parts of the plate blown out. However, with the focus of my image being the plate, I was content with my shadows being clipped than the plate being blown out.

If you haven't downloaded this app yet, go get it NOW !



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