Light meters, some consider them an ancient relic and others see them as an invaluable tool. I personally don’t leave home without it as it allows me to get that light dialed in exactly in camera which in turn means less post processing afterwards.
To use a light meter, you need to dial in two Settings. Your ISO and Shutterspeed, the light meter then tells you the fstop for a correct exposure on those settings. Once you’ve got those settings dialed in, press the measuring side button which will set the fstop to 0 and the light meter is then waiting for the flash. There are a few ways to fire the flash, but the easiest is to have your flash trigger in hand and push the flash test button. The flash will fire, and the light meter will give you a reading.
Now, lets put the light meter to work. I’m going to keep it simple with some cheap speed lights and umbrellas. I have my main light at a 45 degree angle to camera right. Now on the opposite side I have my 2nd umbrella pointing to fill in the dark shadows. I’ll set my light meter at ISO 100 which is my base ISO and my shutter speed 1/200 of a second which is my cameras flash sync. Check with your manufacture to find out the sync speed on your camera as it can vary. I am choosing those settings because I don’t want any of the ambient light in the room to affect my shot just the flashes. Now that the lights are set up, I’m going to use the light meter to dial them in. I’m going to meter my main light until I get f4.
There’s no hard rule on that, it is just the fstop I’d personally like to go for. Once I have that light dialed in, I want the shadow side to be f2.8, so my shadows will be one stop under my main light. After I have both of those dialed in,
I’ll do another reading with both lights to then get my overall setting which is the one I will set my camera to. Then, I’m ready to take my photos. The settings will not change as long as the flash power stays the same.
There’s the basics of using a light meter, I personally find it very helpful to get my settings dialed in before the person I’m photographing has even shown up. This is handy if you’re taking photos of young kids who lose interest very fast, the CEO who only has a couple minutes between meetings or the complex light set up where you want things dialed in just right such as backgrounds, hair lights, fill lights. I hope you found this video informative and please be sure to subscribe to online creator studio for more great content to come.