Here’s an example of why you should get your camera off matrix metering mode and use spot metering in photography. Thinking more about which part of the image you are exposing for will give you more interesting photos.
Spot Metering Vs Matrix Metering
A semi interesting shot of a lot of people in a coffee shop would be created if the image below had been matrix metered. Metering for the face of the girl in the middle of the shot means she becomes the focus of the shot and really stands out from the crowd. Much better.
The image was created by Simon Kane on our Street Photography Workshop.
To do this, set your camera to spot metering and take a reading from the part of the image you want to expose correctly, in this case, the lady’s face. Then, in manual mode, adjust your settings until the exposure meter is at 0 while the spot is on the area you’re aiming to expose.
Get The Correct Exposure
Correct exposure in photography is one of the most impactful methods to take your images to the next level.
Once you have mastered it, you will find yourself no longer intimidated by contrasty, direct light. Instead you may find yourself seeking out this type of light so you can create high impact image like these:
A meter reading was taken for the brightest part of these photos. The scenes were quite contrasty, so exposing the brightest part of the image (exposing for the highlights) really brings out that part of the image. The shadows drop to almost black.
Relying on the camera’s metering would probably have resulted in an image with brighter shadows and overblown highlights. That’s the way your camera’s meter thinks, it wants everything to be a medium tone.
Controlling exposure in images like these is tricky, but rewarding when you get it right. Using spot metering in photography will challenge you, but the results will be worth it.