Metering in Manual Exposure Mode (Podcast 392)

Following on from our Why Expose to the Right (ETTR) episode a few months ago, I received a question from listener Christopher Pearson, asking how I meter in Manual mode, so today, I'm going to explain my techniques for metering in manual mode. First of all, I want to explain...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • shelle singer
    Posted at 01:37h, 26 October Reply

    thanks Martin for a great episode. I now better understand why and when I should use the exposure button and when to use the compensation button.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:36h, 26 October Reply

      That’s great. Thanks for stopping by Shelle!

  • Marc de Boer
    Posted at 14:27h, 28 October Reply

    Martin, the shutterspeed in the two images of the viewfinder are reversed. At two stops +, you have to get an shutterspeed of 160. Not 640.

    Greetings Marc

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 14:39h, 28 October Reply

      Of course. Thanks Marc! I’ll fix that. Except the 640 is accurate. I need to make the 2 stops faster shutter speed 2500. Doh! 🙂

  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain
    Posted at 00:17h, 30 January Reply

    I’m an enthusiast natue and wildlife photographer using manual mode most of the time.

    For wildlife shots; I overexpose dark subjects and underexpose bright subjects. The metering is always in Evaluative mode. However, when the subject is located in a low light area; I use Spot metering and crank up the ISO if necessary using wide apertures.

    May I have your comments on the above.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 16:22h, 08 February Reply

      If you are doing exposure compensation manually, you need to do the opposite of what you say. The camera usually over-exposes dark subjects, so you would under-expose them, and visa versa.

      Personally, I just expose to the right for everything. If the subject/scene is very dark, I might pull it back in Lightroom later, but I still expose to the right at the time of shooting to create the highest possible quality base image. If you didn’t see my other post on this, take a look here:

      I depend more on the histogram and highlight warnings, so rarely use spot metering, but I too also increase the ISO when necessary. It’s better to use a higher ISO when shooting rather than brightening in post later.


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