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The Beginner Photographer’s Crash Course

Lesson 15 of 24

Metering Modes & Remote Control Options

Khara Plicanic

The Beginner Photographer’s Crash Course

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

15. Metering Modes & Remote Control Options

Lesson Info

Metering Modes & Remote Control Options

Let's talk about Metering Modes because all of this exposures stuff is based on metering. So metering is how the camera measures light and then decides what to do with those exposure settings in the triangle that we talked about in the very first segment. So it turns out that there's different ways that the camera can calculate what would make a good exposure and these icons represent some of those modes. Now the icons are slightly different. If you're a Canon, or a Nikon, or Sony, or whoever. I don't know. They're all slightly different, so these are Canon cause that's my world, but they operate basically the same way and the idea is the same. So we're talking ideas here and not the super picky details, okay? So let's talk about this first one here. This is called Center Weighted Average Metering and it's really confusing, honestly. Like I even have to reference my manual to be like, "I don't remember which icon is what "because they don't make sense to me." But this one, Center Weigh...

ted Average Metering, that means that as I tried to depict with this little graphic that I made, the camera is gonna measure the whole scene like light falling across the whole scene. It's gonna average the readings together, and it's gonna give some extra attention, it's gonna weigh more heavily, the measurements that it gathers from the center. So it's averaging the whole scene, but it's giving more weight to what it finds in the middle. Does that make sense? Okay, so that's Center Weighted Average. So a scene that's photographed using this metering might result in a different exposure than the same scene photographed with one of these other modes, okay? So the next one would be called Spot Metering. So no more averaging. It's just measuring the very center and whatever is there, that's what it's gonna base the whole exposure on. So Spot Metering is really helpful in those back lit situations where your subject is in front of something bright because the camera is then not gonna average in the brightness and mix it with your subject. You can just meter right on your subject. So that will increase your chances of getting a better exposure right away without having to fiddle with exposure compensation. So there's a lot of advantages to changing your metering mode. The next one is called Evaluative Metering. It's basically just average. It just averages the whole thing. Nikon, I think, calls it Matrix Metering, so there's that. And then there's Partial Metering, which is like Spot Metering but a bigger spot. (laughs) So there you have it, those are your meters. Some people change their metering modes constantly depending on what they're doing. I personally leave it... I don't even know what it's on. I think it's just Evaluative, which is the default. And I just leave it there cause I've just learned through practice and trial and error, I know when it's wrong because it's a back lit situation and so I just compensate in my head and then I compensate with my settings. But, you know, it's whatever works for you. Whatever makes it easiest and gives you the most consistently great results, that's what I suggest. So, of course, check your manual to see the specifics of what your icons mean and all that. But that's the idea behind it. The Self Timer is a really cool feature that I guess we use it maybe on our phones somewhat when people take selfies but they are truly by themselves and need to have the camera not in their hands. So cameras all have a timer somewhere. It might be a button, it might be in your settings. Usually, depending on your camera, it'll usually have several things you can control. You might be able to control how the delay is gonna be. Like 15 seconds from when you press, or, excuse me, the top one, the self timer, that's the one from when you press the button until it takes a picture. So it might be 10 seconds in this case, or two seconds, or it might let you set a custom second. The next one, Delay, that's gonna be between shots. Cause you can also tell some cameras to take three pictures, for example, and maybe you want 15 seconds between each shot, but you want 10 seconds, you know, at the beginning or whatever. So there's a lot of different options. All the cameras are different, but they're really handy to have some different choices. So here's just a silly picture that we took with the timer years ago when we were on vacation and were like, "Oh, we need a picture, put the timer on." So there's that. This, yes it was a slow shutter speed and I was standing right there, but I put this on the timer, on the two second timer, because I was using a cheap point and shoot camera on a cheap little tripod and by pressing the button it was gonna wiggle the camera, which would, on a long exposure like this, long being two seconds, on a two second exposure it would blur it. So I didn't want my movement of pushing the button to screw up the photo, so I put the camera on the two second setting so that by the time the camera actually took the picture, it was done wobbling and we got great results. Some cameras also have a Remote Control function. So a lot of DSLRs have that. So the icon looks something like this and if you access that, then there's a family portrait that we took. And I don't know where we were hiding the remote, but we got it with a remote (laughs). So it's just another way that you can control the camera. Or maybe you're in a place where, you know, you're taking wildlife photos or something and you don't want to scare the animal. You can have a remote trigger. So it can be really handy.

Class Description

A new camera is an adventure waiting to happen. It’s an invitation to explore and a tool that opens doors to awesome experiences. Learning your way around a DSLR for the first time doesn’t have to be daunting. With a little guidance, you’ll be confidently calling the shots in no time.

Pro photographer and educator Khara Plicanic will help you understand your camera like never before (whether a dSLR, compact point-and-shoot, or even a phone! ) and get you taking better photos fresh out of the box. Join Khara for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How exposure works and how each setting creates a different effect
  • The basics of different shooting modes (Auto, Program, Shutter/Aperture Priority, Manual, etc.)
  • How to make use of your camera’s functions - flash, white balance, exposure compensation, timer, and focus points.
  • How image size and resolution work, and why it matters (or doesn't)
  • How to choose and use different lenses.
  • The best resources to download, backup, and share your images. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus Video - Shooting In Natural Light HD

New Camera Setup

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Kate Ambers

Khara is awesome! She really breaks down how the camera works, photography terminology, and technique. She does it all with a fun and entertaining personality and really makes it easy to understand what you are learning! I love this course!!! So worth it!

Holly Cooper

Loved this course and have recommended it to a friend who is looking to purchase his first DSLR. This course is perfect for beginners or someone who is self taught and who has picked a few bits up along the way; Khara then puts all these little bits of information together. I feel like the pieces have come together for me and I have taken my best/favourite photographs after watching these videos. Thank you CL and Thank you Khara x


I’ve taken a number of excellent courses from Creative Live, and this very thoughtfully organized, well taught class took me from “I love photography but I’ll never get how to do it” to “wow I get it!” It created a huge shift (finally!) for me. There is an intelligent simplicity that really does make for lightbulb moments. I’m extremely grateful for this class. Now I can go back and watch the others courses again and they will make much more sense and I can apply what I learned here.