Film Photography with Strobe Lighting


Lesson Info

Metering Overview

As film photographers, we know that metering is very important. Right? It can absolutely make or break an image, and it's the foundation for creating that really good negative. So I talk a lot a lot a lot about metering, in my one-on-one class, and so if you're really confused about like the fundamentals of metering, please check that class out. But, just quickly, I just want to reiterate, that any time you're metering, no matter what kinda light you're in, it is your meter's job, your meter's always looking for middle gray. That's what meters do. So what is middle gray? Well, middle gray is in the zone system, that perfect middle spot between absolute black and absolute white. That's what that term means, middle gray. And, again, every meter out there is designed with that in mind. It's your meter's job to find middle gray, but it's your job, as the artist, to decide where you want that middle gray reading to be in your scene, okay? So, we do that with metering. And again, when we're ...

setting up our meter, we want to put in two of the three dotted points that make up the exposure triangle. Usually when you're outside you're working with natural light, you put in your ISO and you put in your aperture. But again, because we know shutter speed is so important when using strobes, when you're setting your meter up to work with strobes, you put in your ISO and your shutter speed. I personally always rate my film, whatever film I'm using, at box speed. So, the film comes, it has a number on it. Portrait 400, Portrait 800, Fuji 408, whatever that number is, is the box speed. It's the ISO that has been given to that particular film stock by the manufacturer. I always just shoot my film at box speed. I don't rate my film something different, and I know a lot of film photographers do, I don't. And again, if you want to learn more about why, totally check out that one-on-one class cause I talk about it for days. But, for now, when I'm shooting, I'm gonna put in the box speed of the film that I'm using and I'm gonna put in my shutter speed, which is my camera sync speed, because I know that that is so important. And then I'm gonna take a meter. A meter reading. Now, there's two kinds of metering that you can do. There's reflective metering, that means your meter is reading the light that is bouncing off your subject. It's taking that reflective metering. And this is a great method when you are out, you're doing landscape. I know Daniel Gregory talked a lot about this in his class because he shoots landscapes, tree photography, that kind of stuff, and he uses spot metering. It's great for that. I don't, I prefer incident metering, and certainly when working in studio with strobes, it's always incident metering. So what incident metering is, is it's measuring the light that is falling on your subject, as opposed to the light that is bouncing off your subject. So that's what we're going to do today. We're gonna talk about incident metering with studio strobes and we're gonna start with metering for color film.

To get the best portrait straight out of camera you need to control your light. Family and Newborn Photographer, Sandra Coan, walks through how easy it is to use lights with your film camera for the most control over how your image ultimately looks. In this course, Sandra will talk about how to approach your photo shoot by thinking about not only your subject but also the film and the light you want to create.

You’ll learn:

  • How to sync the flash with your film camera
  • How to meter for your subject and the light you’re adding to the image
  • How to choose the best film based off what you’d like the final image to look like

Throughout history, photographers have been using flash with film cameras. In this course, Sandra will cover everything to give you the knowledge to start taking portraits with your camera and strobes.



  • Out of all the classes I own on Creative Live, Strobe Lighting with Sandra is my FAVORITE! She is an incredibly kind and gifted teacher. She explains everything on a simple level and then gradually build to more complex issues. I am 100% happy with this course. Thank you Sandra!!
  • Sandra Coan is a lighting genius! I loved watching her high-energy and super informative class. I learned way more about studio lighting than I ever thought was possible. I'd definitely recommend this class to literally any person in photography, not just studio photographers. Thanks Sandra!!
  • Do you own a film camera? Then you NEED this class. I knew I *kind of* wanted to try shooting with a strobe, so I bought this class as some encouragement. But honestly, I half expected to do the class and not actually buy the strobe (because strobes are scary!). But as soon as I finished this class I IMMEDIATELY bought a strobe, umbrella modifier, a backdrop, and seamless paper (in Storm Grey because I basically want to be Sandra.) I felt so empowered to shoot with strobes and film and suddenly what had seemed terrifying now seemed doable. My very first test roll turned out great after following Sandra's easy tips. Now that we're in the winter months, I can shoot indoors with my film camera and strobe! Thank you, Sandra, for so generously sharing your knowledge with us and for being such a great teacher! And to anyone even remotely considering this class, DO IT. There's no way you'll regret it.