Skip to main content


Lesson 3 from: Anatomy of a Photoshoot

Mark Wallace

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

3. Metering

Lesson Info


When we go in here, there's a couple of things that we need to know about and that is how how metering works and how metering works in the camera as opposed to how mentoring works actually in this and so what we have is we have a video that's going to really help illustrate um, why you can't use your built in light meter in the studio because there's a really big reason why that doesn't work, and so we're going to play that video here you're going to see the different types of meeting that are available. There are two basic methods of me during light incident metering and reflective meeting your cameras built in light meter uses reflective metering here's how it works light travels from its source and reflects off the subject and into your camera's lens. When the light enters your camera, it travels down the lens and then it hits a mirror. The light is then reflected at a forty five degree angle up into the pinter prison and finally out the eyepiece. The mirror and pinter prism allow u...

s to see exactly what's coming through the lens, some of the light is allowed to travel through the main mirror and had a secondary mirror. This smaller mirror reflects the light onto a light meter this built in light meter is what your camera uses to showyou meter readings in the viewfinder when you press your shutter release button, both of these mirrors moved out of the way this shutter opens and the exposure is made when you were using flash heads that air sink here camera, they don't fire until the shutter is completely open, which means that your built in light meter has no way of seeing in me during this light. For studio work, you'll need an incident light meter instead of meeting like that reflects off the subject incident meters measure the light that is actually falling on the subject itself. You simply place the meter next to your subject and take a reading in a normal studio set up, you'll set your camera and light meter to the same shutter speed and iso setting. When you take a meter reading, the light meter will tell you the correct aperture value, and you'll set your camera accordingly. Once you're totally set up, you'll only have to worry about the aperture value. All right, so the aperture value the reason for that we're going to get into greed detail on why it's the aperture specifically and it's coming up before we get there? There's another principle that you have to understand when we have a studio strobe and we're using a meter were actually trying to control too different. Sources of light at the same time. So we have all the ambient light that's, the stuff that we can't control. That's the stuff that's floating around, maybe coming through the windows or the sunlight, etcetera. And then what we have is we have our light from our strobe itself. And so we can actually control those things independent of each other. And soto understand how those two things work independent of each other. We really have to understand how our camera's shutter works. And so howard camera shutter works. Andi, can we have a video that really illustrates this turn a second or two of them? So before we get into the video, we have to know what these shutters names are and how it sort of works inside the camera. We have these two things inside our camera. They're called our curtains, so the shutter has a first curtain and it opens and that reveals light to the sensor. And then the second curtain closes and those two things reset and everything is good to go. Now that can change based on the speed of your shutter. And so, to illustrate this instead of using my little hands were actually going to show you a video on what normal normal shutter looks like, so nicholas play that first normal shutter video. When you press the shutter release with your finger it tells the camera to open the shutter the first curtain opens to reveal the light to the camera sensor then the second curtain follows behind to hide the light then the curtains reset and wait for you to press the shutter release again let's watch that again notice in this animation that the first curtain opens completely before the second kern begins to follow this only happens it slower shutter speeds usually speed's under two hundredth of a second now watch what happens when we speed things up when the shutter speed is faster the second curtain can't wait for the first curtain toe open all the way if it does it won't make it across in time notice in this animation that the shutter is never fully open faster the shutter goes the closer those two things are to each other so the faster your shutter is the closer those two curtains are to each other okay so slow shutter first curtain opens all the way up then the second curtain closes but at a certain speed that second curtain doesn't wait for the first curtain to be all the way moved across that's called sink speed that's what sync speed is sink speed is as fast as you can possibly get your shutter without the second curtain closing so normally that's about two hundredth of a second maybe two hundred fifty three seconds so the first curtain all opens up all the way and then the second curtain closes anything over that the first curtain opens and then the second curtain starts to move before the first curtain is all the way up now that is really important for a very specific reason because the flash fires when the first curtain is fully open and if you mess it up you can have problems so we have another video called sink speed or slower that illustrates what you can do to mess up your pictures so the eagle lets play that when our camera shutter speed is set to sing speed or slower a few things happen when you push your shutter release button the first curtain opens and as soon as the first curtain is fully open the flash fires then the second curtain closes normally if we have our shutter speed too high we'd have problems let's take a look when you pressure shutter release the first curtain will begin to open but before it's fully open the second curtain begins to close when the first curtain is fully open the flash fires just like it did before but this time part of the sensor is covered by the second curtain this will cause our photo have a black area and the faster your shutter speed the more black you'll have in your photo okay so now you have that it's live isn't it wonderful so uh if you set your shutter speed too fast you're gonna have that black bar at the bottom of your image now the thing is that black bar at the bottom of the image isn't going to be a solid black bar is gonna be faded a little bit and so sometimes if you get just a little off maybe you're two hundred fiftieth of a second maybe three hundred it's not obvious that that's what's happening and so I don't know how many times I thought I had a light or some kind of thing in the way and I've actually moved from lee move it move it and then I realized oh it's my sink speed so just for safety you khun khun back that down a little bit okay so now that we know about sink speed what we want to do is we want to tie that into how we do some basic meeting and so we're going to do is john if I could just get a strobe out here of any kind may be the d one out here so we're gonna have a stroke come out here I wanna show you how this works and if I can gonna zoom this in really really close now on our light meter um we have a couple of things this is a say connick l seven fifty eight we've got some different meters in here we're using this one because I can uh, tight onto that thiss has a built in radio trigger and so what's happening is well, but this guy right out here, okay, great. So this is a good job. Thank you. All right, so what we're gonna do here is throw this up here. I've got a little pocket wizard receiver on the bottom of this. And what that's doing is when that fires, when this fires it's got a little radio signal, it goes to this, and that triggers that light. Now, what I would normally use if we didn't have a radio trigger is actually a physical cable that goes from this light to that one. And so we're forgoing the cable and using a trigger, and so you may or may not have that in your meter. If you don't, then you're just gonna have that actual trigger. So what we've done here is on this light meter, we have a shutter speed of two hundred fiftieth of a second. The reason I have two hundred fifty set up is because the cameras that I'm using the sink speed is two. Fifty. Now, the second thing we have on the very top, I don't know if you can see that, but right up there there is an ice oh, value. Now that s o value it has teo connect with what your cameras set to so normally in the studio there might be a reason that you would have a higher eso value but usually want to use the absolute lowest I s so value possible so that you can restrain the ambient light so we could get rid of that so we haven't set to one hundred and then over here is just a aperture value and so when I push this side button there to meet her, it is going to give me an aperture value. What I would do is I would set my camera to the aperture value and so once we have these two things set up, we're just meeting for the third, so I'll do that and we just got that toe one and the reason for that is our other light turned off their radio and I could meet her again pao lots of power that's f twenty nine lots of juice and so we have two things that were really only meeting for the third, which is the aperture value and so that's that's all that happens now the crazy thing is because the shutter is fully open when our flash fires the shutter speed doesn't really matter anymore I know that's crazy, but as faras the strobe is concerned, the shutter speed doesn't matter because everything is happening when that shut our yeah, the shutter is fully opening so this guy is going to flash at I don't know ten thousandths of a second for five thousand dollars saying something really, really fast and so if you have your shutter and it opens up let's say two hundred fiftieth of a second so it opens up it's open and we're gonna slow everything way down there it is slow the flash fires plow it comes on it turns off well, the shutter is still hanging open right it's just sort of hanging there you have to do to do and then eventually that second curtain closes and everything resets well, the only light that the camera sees is the light that came from the flash. In fact, let me prove this out so, kelsey, if you could bring my camera over here really quickly and then what we're gonna do is we're going to use the live view so we need to live cable is well, it's going to do this on live you wanna show you this? So, carly, if you don't come out here just for a second and john, if you could take this guy off this stand here, all right, so what we're gonna do here, so I've got a flash put it right there on carly here we go, here we go okay, it's. Now, our flash is all set up here is our live you cable. Excellent. Have these guys running around is pretty awesome, isn't it hysterical. Okay, so what I've done here is going to set my camera to shudder. I mean, sorry to manual mode. I'm going to set my shutter speed here two to fifty, which is my sink speed. I got to figure out what aperture value to use, and so I've gotta meet her somewhere. It's right there. Yes. Come on over, john. Yeah, it is. Okay, I'm just gonna meet her this right here. Want to explain exactly what I'm doing here? And that shows me three point two. So if we could just add a little bit more like they're there for you right now, we're meeting at four point five. All right? So we'll make sure everything is good. I'm s so. So what is it? Two hundred? I'm sorry. Six point three is a rapper. True value. I'm explaining really clearly what we just did, but for now I have my aperture said it. Six three my shutter speed at two. Fifty and my eyes so it two hundred this only goes to two hundred on this guy, so what I'll do is I'm going to take a picture but I'm gonna make sure that my pocket wizard is officer the flash is not going to fire so carly looked right this way beautiful bam! I just took two pictures in rapid succession now you can see that right here with these settings we have almost no photo it all and the reason we have any photo at all because we have really bright video lights but normally in the studio we would have zero photo at all and so here it is there we have it and so normally I'm gonna turn my flashback on here. Okay, now when you take a picture looking right at me there we go. Beautiful. Now my flash fires there you go, totally radical difference and the only feeding him with these big bright lights that first shot would be absolutely black because there isn't enough ambient like normally at those settings in it s o of two hundred and a shutter speed of two fifty to get anything to come in. And so in fact what we want to do is we're going to kill all these video lights for a second. So, um when I kill all those guys, I want to show you how we can even slow down the shutter speed, even mohr and how we can show how we can freeze some of these actions here try it one more time I'm gonna make sure that you understand that we got no normally no uh light so this video lights turn enough okay and john if you can kill the overhead lights as well all right way still have lots of light streaming in from this window but that's okay so two fifty it's six point three flashes off here we go let's take a look at this picture so yeah still we have a little bit of light coming from the window very very very dark if I turn on the flash here we go alright so all we're seeing is that light from the flash and so we can sort of ignore the ambient light most of the time now if I took this power up a little bit so and we need the meter here chelsea that's right there okay all right we're gonna go to a question really fast we've got a technical something going on so what are the questions that are coming out of? We have a question um from m s nolan who would like to know how do you determine what power you initially set your strobes to? Ok, good question so normally what I'm doing is I'm I'm concerned mainly with my depth of field and the sharpness in the image and so aperture and lens focal length and closeness to the subject those three things determine the depth of field and so I know based on experience using my seventy two hundred which is what I normally use in a full frame sensor that around f ten is going to give me depth of field enough to go from the back to the front to have all of this in focus and so normally I'm starting it around ten now there might be a, uh an issue where say wanna really milky look or something really dreaming what I could do is, um I meet her so I have a really wide open aperture something like two point eight or something like that so that's that's how I start that is just by saying how much do I want to focus on my real consideration is what's in the background so how much background do I want to show or hide and don't need to eliminate now for this example specifically I want to make sure that I can overpower the ambient light and so I might need a much smaller aperture to really get rid of the ambient light and so I would crank up the power of my flash to do that so cool. Thanks. All right. All the working yes. No. Yes. Okay, thank you very much. All right, so kelsey's gonna help buy me a ring for me? Kelsey is my faithful producer slash assistant, so if you could meet her that really quickly twenty two twenty two okay, now I want to show you something else that we can do here so it's bob to slide a twenty two there we go okay, now we do that one more time with no flash there we go okay with no flash we have the only thing that we see is the reflection of your hearing that's pretty cool from that light so we've eliminated all the ambient light so now the only light that we have is the light from the stroke ok, normally we wouldn't be battling this much ambient light and so the shutter speed normally does not matter in a studio what we can do though is we can use this shutter if we slow down the shutter speed the slower the shutter speed gets the more ambient light we get in the higher our shutter speed gets uh less ambient light we get okay, so that's how that works and I can even take this guy out here and let's actually shoot this wall back here so probably sit there we'll be ok can use meter that wall back there eighteen eighteen okay, you're s o two hundred yes, yes that's right okay, we have again no flash you can see pitch black now we have a flash turned on way have that whole wall right there we're actually controlling everything. What he could do is turn this flash off take my shutter speed way down and we'll get all the ambient light so the shutter is going to help control all of that stuff all right going to come back to this more and more as we go through all of this stuff but let's keep going with all of our meeting so the next thing we're gonna do is john if you could get me a tripod police we're gonna show you some more about how to meet her um different ratios so unfortunately somebody's taking my meter I took it you took it okay, great. Now raise show me during what this means is so carly we'll have you come forward a little bit having just stand here okay all right perfect don't have these guys do is they're gonna push this screen out the way and we're going to start with the couple soft boxes here move this out okay, so we'll start with the one on the right there we're gonna do is I'm gonna show you how to do basic mita ring and howto actually interact with the model and make sure that you don't make any mistakes. So what we have here is we have two large soft boxes when turned this guy on really quickly okay area so we only have one light and that's this guy here firing when I turn on the modeling light just so we can actually see it good it's normally when we're meeting there are a few things that we want to do on our light meter itself we have this little thing right here this whole thing is called a loomis fear now the loomis fear you can retract that so it could be down or it can be up normally you want the loomis fear to be up there sometimes when we need the loomis fear to be down there is some very specific reasons but what this is doing is it saying I want to look at ah hundred eighty degrees I want to see everything that's happening around me and so this is going to look at all of those different um like what's happening on the ceiling which the light bouncing on the floor what lights coming from here everything is going to be taken into account if I retract that it's just saying what's coming it into the meter itself it's not going to see anything bouncing all over the place so for example if I want to meet her this light specifically I can point this at the light but if I wanna see what this light is doing and what's happening with light bouncing off the floor and I need to have that loomis fear out the other thing is I need to meet her this there's an imaginary line from this coming straight out it needs to meet her toward the camera most times now there are times that you might say, uh, if you're meeting specifically for shadows or highlights and we're going to get to that a little bit later, you would do that either to the light for shadows um or to the camera this is highlights shadows to the camera, so I'll show you some illustrations that but normally ninety percent of the time this loomis fear going point exactly at the camera. The other thing is this loomis fear needs to be where your subject is as close as possible, so ifyou're let's say you're afraid of the model. I don't know for whatever reason she's going about you, a lot of people will will meet her out here, which, you know, this is like a foot or so away from and that's gonna be no good because you need to be right where your model is now there's a reason I keep putting this under carlie's chin and the reason is I want to make sure that her eyes are exposed correctly and I want to make sure that those were crystal clear and so to get this meter at the right location, I don't want to jabber eyeball out stafford just totally ruin the shoot has no good and models don't like it, so what we want to do is I need to put this in the same plane as her eyes and so under the chin or it's really good and it's just a good practice of her meeting outside if this is exposed to direct sunlight you can throw off your meter ring and so putting in shade under a person shin is the way to go okay, now there are sometimes that we're going to show you that you're gonna meet a different places the other thing to be really aware of I have a dark shirt on today and I'll be wearing gray shirts for the entire workshop the reason for that is if you have a white shirt on and you stand here you just became a reflector and you're gonna actually bounce in light and your your exposure is gonna be wrong so make sure that you wear something that's a little bit darker the other thing is and this seems obvious now that we have two lights but you don't want to stand between the light and the subject because you're blocking what you're doing and so you need to make sure that you're on the opposite side of the light and if you have a couple lights or several lights well either you're going to get behind like this if you have lights back here um you might have to go into worship mode and just do this okay? So we might be worshipping carly a a little bit this week so hope you're okay with that so however you did yes our life but don't whatever you do don't block the light that's gonna happen it happens all the time andi you might have an assistant or somebody else hanging out and you know I have to tell them move fact in the promo video we had me telling somebody move erin I wasn't yelling at her she's here she'll tell you where it was ok, we got a lot of comments why are you yelling at people? I'm not so anyway uh make sure you're over here and then what we're going to do is to see how the light is falling I don't know you guys can see this we actually have our modeling light on now this modeling light it's just a light on the on the uh flash that helps us understand how the light is going to look when it falls on our model um sometimes you can shoot using modeling light as just your source of light and you know, aperture priority one doesn't think that we're just sort of has seeing what it's gonna look like on our model someone actually move you back a little bit I'm also breaking a huge rule right there so later on I'm going to tell you never to touch the model and you shouldn't have had specific permission to do that so we can make sure we just move right along so don't touch your model very bad don't do it um so I'm gonna meet her this ok? That's seven point one and this is firing so it shouldn't be we turn it off, okay? We're only gonna do one like here. Alright, seven point one we're good so probably the same things I was blocking this light so if you'll hold that and then I'm gonna grab my camera I'm gonna look at that was with live you I'm actually gonna take a picture and show you what this looks like this hand him just stand by the to take it from me that's good. Okay, let's, take this shot. I'm adjusting my camera here. Seven point one there we go and actually feel give me this there's something that I'm I'm I need to explain this camera is s o two hundred. I have this it s so one hundred because I'm using two different cameras here and so we probably teo switch that out so have a button on my meter says I s o one s o too. So I've I've made this where I can push push this button and it will tell me the correct setting for is a two, which is ten so that's better so we should switch out the cameras here in a second, okay, this is a d three hundred three so I might take a picture of this so that's ten great I mean good perfect you need to turn on my flash it would be good and now we get this flash you can see we have this side light here that's not really flattering ah we're just trying to do is illustrate the media ring so we haven't set the lights in any specific place but there you go the other thing you can see I haven't sent the color temperature and so we would do that usually in post and we'll get to that when we talk about color but that's monitoring one light so if you could hold that for a second job okay, now my meter again what did it he was my meter all right area so kelsey you're gonna be in charge of this meter so we can just keep going the second the media is going to get it to meet her two lights someone turned this second light here. Okay, we'll bring that out, make sure my modeling light is on it is there we go. Now we have carly sort of in this cocoon of light. Now what if I want one light to be a little bit brighter than the other um what I'm going to need to uses what's called lighting ratios now lighting ratios um I don't swear by them I just use him as a guide to help me be consistent in the way that I'm shooting so what a lighting ratio is is it helps us understand how much brighter or dimmer a light is in relationship to another light so normally with the two lights set up what we would have is we would have a key light and to fill light so we're going to pretend this is a key or the main light it's the one in charge so we're getting all this light on carly's face on this side I just want to fill in that a little bit and so a normal lighting ratio for that would be two to one other words, this is going to be twice as bright as this and we know that is one stop. So how do we need are these lights? So this one is exactly one stop brighter than this one. Well, on iconic meters, the seven. Fifty eighth e l fifty eight they have a function that is just amazing. So I want to do is walk you through the process of me during these so that we get this one exactly one stop less than this one. And so, kelsi, what have you come over here? Since you know this back? What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna make sure this light is got some juice to it does okay, someone of first meter this light and the way I'm eating this light is I'm gonna put the loomis fear down come to bring you forward here carly there you go just like that. All right, so this light the louis fears down I have everything set up here just like I had before I'm going to take a meter reading, but this time I'm going to intentionally block this light by standing between the light and carly I'm gonna point this loomis fear at that light with the loomis fear down it's very important that the hemispheres down because we just want to see the light from that meteor that bana both lights fired but I just got a reading from that and it says thirteen adjusted the power that's where that is not what I need to do next is I wanna put this in memory put it in memory. Is there there's a little button up here that says delta e v e let's go little delta from math class e v. Now I'll push that and here's the beauty of this now I can flip over here and move this just like that on blocking this light. I'm pointing to that light I will push and hold when I push on hold you know, if you see this, I'm still holding this that says negative one evey face got really, really, really lucky so I don't think you can see it, but it says negative one and what that is telling me that this light is exactly one stop less than this light, so we have an exact ratio and that never happens. I don't know how that happened when he got really, really lucky. Normally, what would happen is let's, move this light just illustrate what would happen is you would have something like this where I would push and hold. And this says that if you guys could see this says negative one point nine, which means that this at this place and this power, this light is almost two, stops less right as this, and so we would have a choice. We could either increase the power on the pack, you're gonna talk about it later, or we can just move the light closer, and that gives us more light now moving lights closer and farther way has a big impact on how light looks and fall off in all kinds of stuff that we haven't gotten to yet. But that's, how you use this meter to sort of figure out what the ratios are now, if you don't have a fancy meter like this, you can always just do this. With the math in your head and meter the first light and figure out what the apple tree is meat of the second one see what the aperture value is and you can see what the difference is I'm not good at math so I would never be able to do that sixteen and this is seven that's how many steps I don't know so I love this little feature of doing this and the key is when we have multiple lights will be meeting this light the fill light the hair light the background like the kicker lights the lights on product etcetera we want to see if they're, uh if they're ratios are similar or not okay and so that's a really good way to do this they're the reason that we use ratios and this technique is in a commercial street you've got to be able to set up your lights meter them and then move on extremely quickly no client is gonna wait around were like uh see sixteen and ate and that's all you got to really be able to do that I see you have a question how do you know? No question okay, any questions about this so far specifically about meeting well to the point that you just said same cox was wondering must have model be present while meet oring could I prepare the lights before the model or client arrives? Very good question so let's, say carly's getting hair and makeup done, so pretend like you're over there. This happens constantly normally, the the, uh, the situation is your model is not there because if you're in a commercial shoot, you have to pay models by the hour and, uh, plus the studio you're paying by the hour assistance you're paying by the hour and so every hour, you could be in a situation where you're spending from a few hundred dollars an hour to a thousand or more dollars per hour, and so every minute can cost you a lot of money. And so you have to compress everything you have to be doing here and make up while you're setting up lights while you're getting set ready. So usually there is no model out here, uh, when you're doing that, and so what we do is, kelsey, I'm sorry chelsea hates this, but you're gonna have to have an assistant and they'll stand in place and you do all the media ring and take your shots and all that kind of stuff so you can ask anybody on the snap factory staff. They have all been the stand in model john was the standard model couple days ago, so yeah, the point of the ratios, it sort of brings it back. You'll have a plan on paper you'll see this is sort of what we want to deal we know you want this to be darkness to be bright and you'll sort of sketch that out and say this is what we think it's going to be and then you'll have your stand in you'll settle the lights meter, get the ratios and then you'll have a good starting point and then when the model shows up with wardrobe, then you'll tweak all of that stuff so that's a really good question, thanks for standing in. So, uh, you gotta have good staff is imperative, okay, any questions from you guys? Yes, sir. Um, I'm talking about the modeling lights, yes, is there a way that when you're doing, I'm going to do an artistic question when you're putting the model in there and you're trying to figure out what you're trying to do and I'm trying to get it right is your way to do the modern lights so that you can see what you're gonna get mohr less other than always having to go in check everyone and so must you talk about yes, I know you're talking about so most, uh, strobes have two functions for the modeling lights, you can have a modeling light on full blast and then there's another mode that you can have modeling lights that are proportional to the power that you have your flash set to in my experience that doesn't, uh those two things what you see with your eye and when you get the strobe, they never, ever look the same even if you have a pitch black room and all you see are the modeling lights, it still doesn't look the same, and the reason for that is the modeling like you're gonna give you an approximation and so, carly, if you come back out here, um, so we'll have you moved back just a little bit right here. There you go so we can see things like if their shadows falling on her face, that kind of stuff, but what we can't see is how much of the shadows they're going to be, and so in fact, I'll move the seeing people thank you. Does that better? Okay, so, yeah, we can see if for example, if this is going to be, you know, uh, we're gonna have shadows underneath here, and if this was a smaller, we could sort of see how that is, but until we actually pop the flash, so you're looking up the abrasiveness of the of the shadows themselves, which is looking for the shadows specifically on the nose day three we're going to get into that much more because we have to figure out how high this needs to be. How, uh, way this is gonna be at the camera or away from the camera, that kind of stuff. So there's modeling lights help us with that. But then we have to do that.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Snapfactory Color Theory
Snapfactory Lightroom Workflow
Snapfactory Workflow Example - creativeLIVE
Snapfactory Model Release
Snapfactory Commercial Shoot Workflow

bonus material with enrollment

snapfactory creativeLIVE overview
Snapfactory Purpose Worksheet
creativeLIVE plan

Ratings and Reviews

Brian Geoghegan

Mark Wallace, Brilliant at what he does, so clear to understand, he is amazing, well done Mark great workshop, I learned so much. Thank you, kind Regards, Brian from Ireland


Mark really knows his stuff. He was very well prepared and Mark did a great job teaching this course. Mark went through all the steps from beginning to end in great detail. He also answered questions from the audience an online viewers which helped fill in any blanks. Great course.

a Creativelive Student

I loved this workshop! Many things I struggled to understand about exposure and many other things became so clear! Just wow!

Student Work