Aperture Priority or Manual?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by jonj, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Over the past 2 years I have moved to more manual settings rather than using the aperture priority during my weddings. I would say I am about 50% Aperture Priority and 50% Manual, and my question is do I slowing things down by going with manual settings? I do spend a little bit of time metering and getting the right settings, but I find I get better results when I shoot in manual mode VS Aperture prioity.
    How often do you use manual setings vs aperture priority/shutter priority?
  2. manual only :: 100%
  3. It depends on what's changing from one shot to the next. Is lighting changing? Is subject reflectance changing (like switching between having a white dress occupying much of the frame to having a black tux occupying much of the frame)?
    If neither is changing, then any mode works fine, and it really doesn't matter. If the lighting is changing but subject reflectance is constant, then auto exposure is wonderful. If subject reflectance is changing but lighting is staying constant, then manual exposure is wonderful, because you can set it once and forget it, whereas autoexposure would require adjustment of exposure compensation to compensate for varying subject reflectance.
    In the real world, both factors will eventually change. So the really most important thing is that you always be aware of which mode your camera is in, and how you've got exposure compensation set if it's non-zero. So develop some sort of system and stick to it, and periodically double check your camera's settings. In some ways, it was easier back in the days when all cameras were fully manual, not because manual exposure is inherently better, but simply because in the days before autoexposure came around, you never forgot what mode your camera was in!
    If you're in manual mode when the sun passes behind a cloud, and you absent-mindedly think your autoexposure is going to catch it and make the adjustment, you'll have a problem. Or if you just used autoexposure for a bride photo and dialed in +1.5 stops to make that dress white, then you'd better remember to readjust exposure compensation when you shoot those black tuxes on the next shot of a bunch of groomsmen.
  4. Richard,
    I think my question is I have to constantly change settings while shooting in manual slowing down my flow or is this normal for most manual shooters. I feel I get a little obsessed with settings while I'm shooting manual, but that may be the nature of the beast.
  5. "do I slowing things down by going with manual settings? I do spend a little bit of time metering and getting the right settings, but I find I get better results when I shoot in manual mode "---

    .........quality vs speed ~! I still use a hand meter :[)
  6. Most of the time I'm shooting in manual, when lighting is changing quickly I'll often move to P mode.....shutter priority occasionally and rarely aperture priority. Between chimping and using the histogram, the process has become uber-easy with digital. The only time I'm pulling out my meter any more is to check my ratios for my studio lights.
  7. Shooting manual only slows you down if you are not sure where to put the settings. If the light is changing constantly, you most certainly will be slowed down unless you know what settings to use to follow the changing light. For instance, if a session has 'static' lighting, I use manual--either I know what the settings are without metering, or I meter. When in bright sun, I don't need to meter.
    When I have changing light but the changes are the same, such as bright sun to cloudy bright to bright sun and back again, I meter for the cloudy bright (I know the bright sun exposure), and I change accordingly, usually using aperture as the crux of the change.
    If I have fast and unpredictable action with the subject going in and out of changing light, I use aperture or shutter priority, whichever is appropriate. There is no way I could even think and move as fast as is required to keep up with that kind of action, particularly when I need to concentrate on where I have to move to next to catch the action, or try to anticipate the subject's next move. This is where you need to be familiar enough with your camera meter's response that you can pretty much work the compensations accordingly.
    When I am inside using flash, I am using manual, to conrol shutter drag and the ratio between ambient and flash EV.
  8. I use manual 100%.
    Before each sitting or after any change, I'll check my meter, adjust, shoot, check the histogram, then adjust if necessary before continuing.
    I just want as much control as possible. If the camera is making the decisions, all I'm doing is composing the shot and that's not all I'm being paid to do. I know Joe McNally and a lot of other big name guys are having the camera make shutter speed decisions, or aperture width decisions, but they can afford to. I wanna be able to take full credit for my images however humble they may be.
  9. All of my strobed shots are in manual, with rare exception. If I'm in one room with constant lighting, I've generally taken to shooting manual, unless I feel there is a compelling reason that would keep me from accurately exposing an important series of images if I stayed in M.
    When shooting available light I'll drop into usually aperture priority, or shutter priority every now and then.
    Outdoors I might even move to program and just adjust exposure compensation. Unless I'm using a strobe, in which case I move to shutter priority.
    Everything is where I need it - since the settings for each mode stay the same, I can change my game quickly and usually be on top of the exposure no matter which mode I pick. As long as I've 2x checked my settings in each new scenario, that is.

    C Jo - I agree with your summary of quality vs speed. I do challenge the concept of 'quality,' as implied here though. Without speed, or at least a quick eye and good reflexes, it's hard to consistently capture emotional moments while working a wedding. I would much rather capture a technically flawed image that makes people gasp, or smile, or laugh, or cry, than get a well-exposed but boring capture five seconds too late.
  10. Manual indoors with flash.
    Aperture Preferred outdoors in most cases. I sometimes use AE lock in changing conditions by metering a mid-tone area and locking it.
    I hectic conditions, where I am not trying to create a shallow depth-of-field, I will occasionally resort to Program (modern cameras are pretty smart at figuring out complex settings in a nano second).
  11. I use AP 50% of the time, TV 30% and M 20%. I use a different setting at each location and its the same at every wedding.
  12. Me and My S5Pro:
    50% M
    25% A
    25% P
    75% MANUAL
    25% AUTO
  13. I use full Program mode mostly, letting the camera decide a balance of shutter speed and aperture, sometimes dialing in exposure compensation. I use Manual when I want to standardize exposure, or am struggling with difficult light, say subjects in front of bright window. I use Aperture or Shutter priority mode very rarely, if I happen to want some specific ap. or sh. speed.
  14. Another factor to bear in mind is that the exposure in non-Manual modes will change, even in the exact same lighting, as you zoom in and out (unless you are photographing a monotone wall, for example). Thus it is better to shoot manual to guarantee consistent exposures and easier/quicker post processing. I always use manual indoors, and a mixture of manual/Av outdoors.
  15. This is always a good topic. Av for me unless I'm using flash, then it's manual.
    But with no flash and indoors, I find full manual mode time consuming and depending on where I meter, I'm constantly riding all the controls until I find the right exposure. I haven't quite mastered full manual and maybe the following is similar to what the OP is talking about in that mode:
    1.) I set ISO to the lowest value I "think" I can get away with.
    2.) Dial in the right exposure with forefinger.
    3.) Shutter speed too low - open aperture by a full stop with thumb.
    4.) Repeat step #2.
    5.) Shutter speed still too low and I'm out of Av stops - increase ISO. Push button, move forefinger to dial.
    6.) Back to step #2.
    7.) Repeat step #5.
    8.) Take the shot.
    This process can take me up to 8 seconds to get right which is fine if you have the time. I think I'm too hung up on the ISO value and constantly tweak it. I know most everybody sets theirs once and forgets it but I'll take ISO 1200 over 1600+ any day if I can. Without using flash on a slow lens (f/2.8 and even f/1.8) and no IS, a shutter speed of 100-125 is pretty hard for me to get so I usually end up with an ISO of 1600 anyway. :)
    During creative moments, I just want a nice blurry background with a well exposed and sharp foreground. Av allows thiss more easily than any other mode for me. I just can't imagine doing the manual steps above for something like a, "first kiss" with no time to chimp. I also find that sometimes you just need the shot so if DOF isn't an issue then "P" pretty much does it all.
  16. 100% manual. The time you loose while shooting will be returned with interest in post production.
  17. RT--I use a hand held incident meter, and meter once without chimping. It takes very little time, contrary to what people think. This is becaise I know where to meter and know how I may keep or modify the resulting information before even shooting. I've done it this way for years. You can streamline your metering with the camera meter, perhaps, by doing the same thing--know where to meter and what to do with the resulting information without all the experimenting. Or use a gray card or find values similar to a gray card in the surroundings. Or use skin tone or some other reference value.
  18. I think the question that RT and Nadine brings up is very interesting and deserves it's on thread - "How to shoot fast in manual mode".
  19. RT--I use a hand held incident meter
    Hi Nadine. I researched incident meters a while back but admittedly have never used one. I always wondered how accurate they are under the changing light conditions that can crop up throughout a ceremony. Recently, I shot in a venue with nice big skylights but when clouds decided to roll in during the ring exchange I lost 2 stops of light I think. Or there are times when the couple moves from, "center stage" under nice soffit lighting to somewhere in the shadows to light a unity candle or pour sand. I would rather develop metering skills using with what I have in my hands and apply that from where I'm currently standing.
    Like I said, I don't think I'd have a problem getting the right creative exposure I want in full manual mode during low light conditions (eventually) - I just find fumbling in this mode too slow during the ceremony and I don't trust my fingers to move fast enough, "on the fly". I'm always awestruck by the, "100% manual" shooters I encounter who seem to just walk into a room, stick a wet finger in the air and their settings are done.
  20. Just before the ceremony starts, I usually walk to the altar area and meter various points--in the shadows, in the spotlight, etc. Then, during the ceremony, I use the settings appropriately. This method can be applied to the whole event. Whenever you get to a new location, do a walkaround with your meter and then shoot.
    If I don't do the above, I use aperture or shutter priority while working the comp dial or ISO control. I have a preset on my camera set for no flash, ISO 1600, 1/80th shutter priority. Many times, I just use the preset and dial in whatever shutter speed I might need, based on what lens I have on the camera and just go from there with the compensation dial.
    I am not advocating a hand held incident meter. I only use one because I'm used to it, and I fumble if I have to use the camera meter the same way, although I have used a gray card with it that way. It's just faster for me.
  21. I pretty much stick to manual all the time, except when using flash, then I let my trusty Sunpak 544 do the work.
    In many ceremonies, flash is not permitted so as not to detract from it, so it is beneficial to use a hand meter indoors and if your camera has the ability, set your white balance using a gray card.
  22. MANUAL and MANUAL in 99 percent. Even AF, only 2-4 percent of the time. I'm not a "Point and Shoot"-er. I figured, I can adjust camera setting faster in MANUAL mode ( 40 year practice) in critical lighting situation, then in automatic setting and fiddle with different compensation settings, buttons etc. My light-meter showing everything what I need. Including over or under exposure if it is required. Most of the time "Center Weighted' metering system, critical situation, Spot Metering.
  23. For some reason -- in my general shooting venues & years of experience .....the exposures seem to be always about the same 4 settings ?? > Pre shots ~ Church ~ Cocktail ~ Reception ........ Not much guess work ---
  24. I used auto for the first few weddings (learning from a guy that always uses auto, thank goodness for this site). Then after some experience I started using aperture priority. Now, with more experience, I just don't trust the camera, and am going to use manual the majority of the time. In my downtime, I'm shooting everything manual to get fast at it.
    I have a follow-up question for all you pros. During a typical wedding, how often do you end up changing your settings on manual? Also, when you make minor adjustments, which setting do you typically set?
  25. 100% manual, and with the expsoure latitude of print film, it really doesn't matter if I'm a stop or two off (when capturing the moment is more important). i usually overexpose by a full stop for weddings.
  26. I use both. Mostly, I use manual for more concentrated, focused shots. I use AV mode for more casual, "I don't know what I am going to shoot" method. Both get me great results.
  27. if you keep practicing it'll become second nature.
  28. "I have a follow-up question for all you pros. During a typical wedding, how often do you end up changing your settings on manual? Also, when you make minor adjustments, which setting do you typically set?"
    In bright sun -- Average :: ISO 100 250 @ 9.5 --minor adjustments would be in the flash settings
    In overcast day --- the camera exposure remains the same--the flash changes
    Typically if you are indoors for a reception -- the light never changes ( unless the subjects are lit by windows ) Average :: ISO 400 hand meter the ambient ... and set what you are comfortable with holding >> 1/30 f4 with bounce flash into a large white card -- occasionally direct flash 125 / 5.6
    The Church setting rarely ever changes --- about 1/8 @ f4 500 ISO
  29. The weddings I have shot; I use manual, adjusting the ISO as low as possible to get good background lighting at a decent shutter speed (depending on action) at a focal depth to make the shot (portrait or dancing; short or long). A book could be written on the lighting variables encountered at the average wedding. Your best friend is a flash and extender, so you can adjust the facial fills to get a good result, especially in daylight where the backlight will drown your subjects. In flash-less situations overexpose if necessary to get good facial histograms. Sorry to sound vague; ISO 200 to 800, shutter 1/25 to 1/320, f/3.2 to 11 sort of covers my normal span. The only point I wanted to make is get good facial exposure.
  30. I have the early Canon bodies ( 20/40d ) -- so never past 640 ISO ----- just use the flash to control more of the exposure than pumping up the ISO.
    "How to shoot fast in manual mode" . I don't chimp ~~ just the check the histogram , if in a tricky light . I use the C1, C2, etc. on the dial ----- preset to the average shutter & f/stop & ISO > for 90% off all situations. The subject moves from shade to full sun ~~~ just have to change my flash setting .......I use only one zoom lens.
  31. I decided to put my camera's aperture priority mode against metering and then shooting in Manual mode.
    Most of the images where buildings that had the daytime sky in the background.
    While in Aperture Priority I had the camera metering on the center rather than the entire frame. I found the camera still over/under exposed images in full sun light by 2 stops.
  32. Jonathan--what camera and what metering pattern? Are you talking about spot metering or averaging metering? In most matrix or even averaging metering patterns, the camera meter, in bright sun and shade, will overexpose the highlights. This is because it is doing what it is supposed to do--take all the values in the scene into account and compare them to middle gray. If matrix, not only does it do that, but factor in other things determined by the camera manufacturer. This is one reason I like the incident meter. Much less 'stuff' going on and by determining the placement of the meter head/dome, I know what is being metered.
  33. I am not a wedding photographer, but to me the main advantage of using Manual mode is when you are using Flash. It allows you to set a smaller lens aperature, but also drag the shutter at say 1/15 or 1/8 to get more background fill. In A or P mode, the camera would just shoot the lens wide open, and set shutter speed to a faster setting, such as 1/60. Manual mode therefore allows more depth of field without the background going black.
    Are ther other advantages or reasons to use Manal Mode, other than because it is Old School Discipline?
  34. Randall, your use of the term depth of field is unconventional here. The term is usually not applied to background/foreground exposure in dragging the shutter--just so no one gets confused.
    Also, I don't see that using manual camera mode is Old School. It merely allows you to control the exposure, rather than allowing the camera to control it through it's programs. Control is the reason to use manual mode. Consistency of exposure in a series is another good reason.
    It could be argued that to some degree, one can also control exposure using an automated mode, such as aperture priority, through exposure compensation. You just have to be really good at guessing how the camera's meter will react to a scene. Manual exposure mode still gives the ultimate control, however.
  35. Nadine,
    I use the spot metering with my Nikon D80 when shooting in Aperture priority not the full pattern metering. When shooting manual I use the same spot metering but meter the light off of a similar object. Like in this photo of a highrise building. I Used the Nikon's spot meter aimed right at the building and the digital meter inside the viewfinder showed 1/800th at f11 was the proper exposure, but that was to bright . So I metered off of a similar wall not in the full sun light I bracketed my images and 1/1000 at f11 was the correct exposure.
    So I guess even though you have the metering on "spot" the camera is still going to be off because it just doesn't know what you are trying to accomplish.
  36. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "to me the main advantage of using Manual mode is when you are using Flash. It allows you to set a smaller lens aperature, but also drag the shutter at say 1/15 or 1/8 to get more background fill. In A or P mode, the camera would just shoot the lens wide open, and set shutter speed to a faster setting, such as 1/60."
    There are many advantages to using Manual Mode, and each of those advantages is often quite personal and all about how the individual Photographer goes about their own work.
    I can use Manual Mode and another Photographer with equal intention and the same thought process can use Av Mode with compensation or override and we can both arrive at the same exposure parameters and for exactly the same reasons.
    What seems to be often missed in these discussions is the TYPE of in-camera metering being used.
    It seems to me that some Photographers do not understand what each metering pattern does, how it works and when and where each pattern is most effective.
    And IMO, this misunderstanding of the In Camera Metering Patterns combined with the inability to manually calculate exposures, is often the cause of missing the "correct" exposure - especially when there is a white Wedding Gown involved.
    RE The portion quoted in bold:
    Av Priority will shoot at the aperture preset by the Photographer.
    P Mode will select the "best" aperture according to a programme which is generally biased to prevent Camera Shake.
    Neither will necessarily be shooting “wide open” and a matter of simple fact.
    To the OP:
    I used M (Manual Mode) about 90% of the time. I use Av a little and P more often than Av. I can’t remember using Tv (Shutter Priority) at a Wedding
    But with Av and P, I would still ride the exposure dial.
    I also used an Hand Held light meter and I shoot in batches as much as possible, which is usually quite easy to do at a Weddings – thus containing similar lighting conditions to each batch – which is also useful for PP.

    Outdoors and with moving clouds or in and out of shaded areas, is the most difficult and the batch shooting idea goes right out the window.
    For in camera metering, I mainly use spot metering, or centre weighted average and I often get in close to use CWA as a very tight reflected reading. I usually manually calculate from the camera’s readings. I do not use Flash that often. If it looks like it is going belly up with time and I need the shot: “P” is my answer – it is very useful, and warrants consideration for some scenarios.
  37. Jonathan, the spot meter shows exposure relative to middle gray. So in manual you want to take into account what you are metering to decide what the meter should show. Only when spot metering a subject that has the same tone as middle gray should the exposure meter read zero (the "needle" in the middle).
    For instance pointing the meter on a white subject you want the meter to show +2 to +3 stops. In your shot above you could have pointed the spot meter at the darkest shadows and placed the exposure at -3 stops (compared to middle gray). That way you know that the shadows have enough exposure and the rest of the scene will then fall where it may. Actually there are many ways to spot meter depending on what in the scene is important to you so this is just one example.
  38. Pete,
    During Weddings and portrait sessions I meter off of the face of the B&G or someone who is in the similar light. I would not meter off of a gray subject and then shoot the B&G. I often shoot someone sitting in the front pew and fire off a test shot. If all is well with that setting then I lock it in and shoot that portion of the wedding using those settings. Here is where it gets a little hectic during the Ceremony I'm often at 1/60th f2.8 iso 800 and the processional is under way as you follow the B&G out the door it's almost impossible to shoot manual from the Sanctuary, to the Lobby, and outside to the Limo, and then inside the limo! That's when I have to switch to Aperture Priority and that's why the second camera is ready for the Processional.
  39. I shoot Manual 100% inside, outside with good light, I always use P Mode. If you know how your camera meters you can work with it to get good exposure. As said already, inside in low light condition, M mode allowes you to drag the shutter to get some ambient light along with flash. V/r Buffdr
  40. Jonathan,
    I know from your profile that you are an accomplished shooter but I was confused by your previous post on how you spotmetered the building. That's why I posted how it is the photographer that decides how bright or dark something appears when using the spot meter. Most people place caucasian at +1, so one stop brighter than middle gray. If you spot meter the bride's white dress +2 to +3 depending on the camera would be reasonable.
    Regarding the exposure I know that fast changing light may be challenging. But if you know the light level it's not as difficult though, aside from actually spinning the wheels on the cameras fast enough (aperture ring is faster IMHO).
    Maybe taking a look at previous wedding will give you some pointers? For instance 1/60th f2.8 iso 800 is EV6 so that's pretty normal indoors. Outside you'll might have EV15 on a sunny day and about 2 stops less if it's cloudy or backlit. So if you are at 1/60th f2.8 iso 800 and let's say you are using flash outside (1/250s) you need to hit something like 1/250s, f/11, iso100 if it's sunny. Obviously as you go into the limo it will get darker, probably 2-3 stops. I think if you know where you are heading exposure wise you will find that you can do it faster. Check your exif info.
    Also try to spotmeter other things besides faces, like clouds, grass, asphalt, white churches, white dresses, your hand and what not.
  41. Jonathan, forgive me if you already know this, but I'm making sure, because it sounds like you may not. When you use the spot meter, whatever value is 'under' the spot is compared to middle gray by the camera meter, and the 'suggested' exposure is based on the spot contents being middle gray. So, taking your building, depending upon where, exactly, on the building you metered, the suggested exposure would vary, because if you 'jumbled' the contents of the values under the spot, you would end up with a single value (like putting the values into a blender). The meter assumes it is middle gray. If it isn't middle gray in reality, the reading will be 'off'.
    Now, I could have told you what the exposure would be for this shot because bright sun is very consistent. At ISO 100, it is f11, 1/250th, which at ISO 400 (what you shot), is f11, 1/1000th (2 stops different from ISO 100). I would not have metered this shot. That aside, I would say that indeed, the camera doesn't know what you have in mind. This is what I mean by knowing where and how to meter to get the information that (in your experience) tells you what settings to use to accomplish what you want. I always say, you take the information the meter gives you, and then apply your brain. You also have to understand how the meter works and how it is giving you that information. No meter is going to read your mind. There is also no exact 'correct' exposure. Within a certain range, correct exposure can vary.
    I will attach an example which shows an image I shot, and describe a method taught to me by a former photography instructor. What you do is defocus your eyes, so that the values begin to swim together. You will end up with a single value. Now remember, that value is what is 'called' middle gray by the meter. So if that value is lighter than middle gray, you will get underexposure, and if that value is darker than middle gray, you will get overexposure. The contents of your spot in your example above, must have been slightly darker than middle gray.
    So, if you are using aperture priority with the spot meter, what you are looking to do is to either quickly evaluate the values under the spot in the viewfinder for comparison to middle gray and adjust accordingly, or look for values that are close to middle gray, meter it, hold the exposure (the * button on a Canon), and then shoot. Now color confuses things. So on the right half of my example, you see a chart of colors that have been corresponded to stop differences from middle gray. The colors in the 0 column require no compensation. The colors in the +1 column (vertical) require one stop compensation, etc. You look around for objects that have similar colors. Obviously, this is not exact, but it will get you darned close, if you get good at it. Green grass in open shade, for instance, is very close to middle gray.
    This is what I do when I rely on automated camera modes. I use the center weighted averaging metering pattern and judge the overall value of my scene (this happens very quickly), compensate the exposure and shoot. There are other things besides value that affect automated camera metering, such as backlighting, but I won't go into that here.
    Re your spot metering off someone in a pew--if you spot metered on a clear area (I am assuming you are using a telephoto lens or you will not have enough skin to meter a clear are), you usually need to open up a stop--Caucasian skin is about 1 stop lighter than middle gray. If you are using the spot meter on a lot more area than a clear section of skin, you need to evaluate what is under the spot before accepting the suggested settings.
    As for your example of running in front of the couple during the recessional, and out the door toward the limo--shooting manual can be done. I usually stop the couple just inside the exterior doors to give me a minute to make a change, though. Not only for exposure reasons but to perhaps adjust the flash head, and possibly to give a few simple directions. I find, if you don't give some direction (I know this may be frowned upon by PJ style photographers), the couple may not be in a good position relative to each other when they exit. Sometimes, they aren't even side by side.
    Anyway, if, for instance, you are bouncing flash inside using ISO 800, f2.8, 1/60th as your example, and outside, it is bright sun. As you pass through the exterior door, change to ISO 100, f11, /250th (or wider, if you like your sunlight shots over by a little). You'd have to also put the flash head forward and perhaps comp the flash.
    Personally, I do not think it is a sin to stop the couple for a few seconds to make the change, but that is my opinion. I would think if you had several custom settings, you could have one of them be bright sun settings, but you'd still have to comp the flash. This is where you might be manual inside, but switch to a custom setting or an automated mode when you pass through the doors, but bright sun is a hard one for automated camera metering--overcast or diffused shade would be much easier as far as getting you in the ballpark with an automated metering mode.
  42. Manual? I thought M stood for Manly?? Old guy, in manual, spot, adjust as recompose. shoot. For me its faster than half click, adjust ev, shoot, chimp, darn, adjust ev, shoot, chimp. I like Nadines pre-scouting the areas of the room for exposure with an ambient meter. Great suggestion. In fast paced situation, if I can anticipate the location, spot there, set and wait for action to reach it. I also agree with her on the guessing- in non manual, camera guesses what the average is, then you guess at the compensation on what you see in difference between the scene and average. Hopefully, two guesses makes a right. Spot metering on a known tone, I can adjust accurately, for me less guessing, fewer re shot, and ready for next shot sooner. If I do chimp, I am not thinking about deciding on adjustment for a second shot, usually just confirming I got it. I prefer that mind set.
  43. Nadine,
    In the past I have used gray cards with similar results I found that the results were better when I used the " center weighted" mertering on a subject up-close. What I mean is when I do Bridal portraits I walk up to the bride and see what the camera thinks the proper exposure should be. I back off and recompose the shot and of-course the camera has now jumped up several stops from the original suggestion it gave when I was up close with the bride. I set the camera to the original set points based on the up-close metering and tend to get great results.
    With this photo I metered her face at 1/200 f3.2 iso 100 with an 85mm f1.8 up close I recomposed the shot and added fill flash.
  44. I use both M and Av.
    I like the way I work with both and would not consider it good or bad/right or wrong to use one or other, unless the results were bad from either.
    Using Manual when the bride passes from shade to full sun would kill your exposure if you were not prepared. Being prepared is great, but it also takes planning and time to accurately assess what will be needed and when. It will also require you to remember to jump your exposure as the action happens. If you use AV in this situation, you can use the spot meter and it will (on my cameras at least) use the focus point selected to read the spot. If you simply follow the brides face, it usually means my results are better than a manual exposure where I did not jump (forgot) for the transition to sun (when not using fill). Of course, if you are simply exposing for the brights, and using flash to fill the shadows in that scenario, the M is the better bet.
    The advantage of M is that you will control all parts of the image. The disadvantage is the speed at which you will have to keep up with any changing light (not to mention the need to simply remember to change settings).
    If you have a static lighting situation, or are using flash to balance, you can set manual exposures and be done with it largely. But I don't care as much for the results I get employing that method. I prefer to ride the exposures to create darker looks, and brighter looks, more environmental scenes and more isolated scenes. Using light to help affect those desired looks, for my purposes, means getting more adept in the use of AV.
    I do use two bodies most times, so that makes it easy to play too. One is always in M, the other in Av.
    Horses for courses I guess.
  45. Jonathan--again, forgive me, but it isn't obvious to me that you understand what the meter is doing. First, if you spot metered the bride's face and didn't open up by 1 stop or more, your settings would have been off (underexposure), even if you kept those settings upon comparing them to the suggested settings when you pulled back. Secondly, if you add fill flash but didn't pull it back, you would get overexposure (light is additive). Thirdly, it is impossible to tell much about the exposure at capture from an online image which has been processed. To me, the dress is blown out and the overall effect looks overexposed. Now, if that was your goal, that is fine, but the example does not help me understand your metering.
  46. I think the smartest approach is knowing what to use in any given situation and why its the best thing to use at that moment. A camera is like a toolbox, there are many different problems it can solve if you choose the right tool and know how to use it effectively. Here are some of the decisions that go into what I choose and when I choose it...
    • Always when shooting flash, because the camera's meter is easily fooled, regardless of what kind of metering you're using.
    • During a consistent lighting situation where there's little to no change in the brightness or quality of light, so that I'm in constant control of depth of field and motion blur.
    Aperture Priority
    • When in a variable light situation where light quality changes from shot to shot, like the getting ready room where one moment may be near a bright window and in the same breath, a reaction may be across the room under tungsten light.
    • During sunset, when I simply want to focus on getting the best images during those last few moments of golden light without worrying about changing my exposure every 3 minutes due to the dimming light.
    • In high contrast situations where moments need to be nailed and isolated in both shade and sun without time to switch exposures.
    Shutter Priority
    • When I don't have time to meter or think about depth of field, but want to grab a quick shot of something in motion using super slow or super fast shutter.
    • When I'm feeling too sick, tired, or lazy in the moment and am willing to do a lot of post-production correction. (Usually the thought of all the post-production is enough to make me want to snap out of it and use the gray matter floating in my head.)
  47. My thoughts on metering... you're best off sticking to patterned metering so that your spot metering doesn't slip and expose for something you weren't planning on having it expose for. With black tuxes and white dresses, it's far too easy to have something completely over or under exposed with just a slight tilt of the wrist. You're much better off having your camera meter the whole scene and then using your knowledge of light to adjust exposure compensation from there.
  48. P mode when you are horribly challenged and are willing to do a lot of photoshop but M mode always saves the day. I second Anne!!
  49. The biggest challenge is metering a shot in a wedding. The TTL is cool as long as you are willing to post-process the same constructively!!
  50. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Metering doesn't expose the shot, the Photographer exposes the shot.
    Choosing any one Metering Mode, (such as spot metering as an example) doesn't exempt the Photographer from using their Brain Box and taking responsibility for managing where the Spot Reading(s) are taken and then adjusting the exposure for the particular scene, or set of shoots in the same lighting conditions.
    Similarly (as another example) using Pattern Metering does not exempt the Photographer from using the Brain and understanding that with certain cameras the Pattern Metering Matrix can be fooled with strong Backlight, or a wide bright scene and a relatively small side-lit or back lit Subject, off centre. In both these examples the Photographer will most likely need to make adjustments to the exposure the camera is suggesting they use.
    In both these examples of Metering Mode (Spot or Pattern), there will always be shooting scenarios which will require both thought and intervention to adjust the final exposure selection.
    IMO, choosing one Metering Mode over another as a “normal working” or “default” is very personal and goes somewhat to defining the style of Photographer and the Photographer Style: much of which is based on the Photographer’s mechanical technique, at the time of shutter release.
    Using Spot Metering is akin to using only the Centre AF point and employing Focus and Recompose.
    Obviously, after taking the Spot Meter Reading, and then recomposing the shot, the subsequent meter reading in camera (when the centre spot is moved) likely will bear no resemblance to the exposure parameters which the Photographer will use.
    But, by the same token, after using Centre Point Focus and recomposing . . . the centre of the frame might not be in focus, either.
    It's my opinion that one is never best off, sticking to any one Metering Pattern, nor to any one Camera Mode, just because that is what someone else uses. On the contrary, it is best to understand all the Camera Modes and all the Metering Modes and then decide what the advantages and disadvantages are for one's own style and shooting techniques.
    It is very important to first understand what each Metering Mode does and how it does it.
    Knowing these things (and making lots of practice with each) will allow the Photographer to then choose when a particular mode will likely give an erroneous reading (such as the Pattern Metering) or how another Metering Mode needs a particular technique (such as the Spot Metering) so that using it doesn't result in erroneous exposures.
    Also it is erroneous to believe that any particular Camera Mode (such as Manual Mode for one example) will save anyone's bacon.
    Similarly, it is trite to suggest that any particular Camera Mode (such as Programme Mode) is to be reserved for the horribly challenged, unstable or incompetent Practitioner of the Craft.
    IMO, broad sweeping and emotional sentiments which allocate getting the correct exposure to the CAMERA, or one of its SHOOTING MODES, are just silly.
    The Camera is only a tool, many folk just never learn all of it.
    Then again . . . nor do many learn the knowledge of light, either . . .
  51. Obviously, after taking the Spot Meter Reading, and then recomposing the shot, the subsequent meter reading in camera (when the centre spot is moved) likely will bear no resemblance to the exposure parameters which the Photographer will use.
    Before you move the, "spot" just crank the exposure dial to the middle. Then recompose and shoot.
  52. I shoot manually most of the time. Only in very rapidly changing lighting will I use one of the automatic settings and I would guess it is less than 1% of the time. Anticipation of lighting will remarkably speed up your manual shooting. In the studio I use my external meter. Nearly everywhere else I use the camera metering.
  53. It is interesting how automation has confused the issue of measuring the light for any given scene. For many that grew up with strictly manual cameras, and often printed their own negatives, it became second nature.
    One thing that made it crystal clear for me while gaining experience, was learning the Zone System (invented by Ansel Adams), since it breaks it down into simple math ... Zone 1 (black) through Zone 10 (White). While invented for primarily B&W film, and includes more advanced and complex notions, the Zone breakdown portion is still completely valid.
    Take a quick peek here:
    Note that Zone 5 is the middle grey (18% reflectance). The light meters in ALL cameras are standardized to Zone 5, and try to average out any scene to this middle tone.
    If you spot metered a black card it would indicate shutter/aperture settings to make it Zone 5. If you spot metered a white card, completely different settings would also result in a Zone 5 rendering. Properly printed the Black card and the White card would be Zone 5 ... middle grey, not white or black.
    Average Caucasian skin is the lighter Zone 6 not Zone 5 ... and pale skin is Zone 7 ... a straight spot metering off skin will always result in an underexposed image. A wedding dress would be Zone 8.
    When in a rush, I often meter off grass in full sun which is pretty close to Zone 5 and tweak based on how the sun is hitting the subject. You do learn what things are generally a Zone 5 tone.
    Once you become familiar with what constitutes a Zone 5 tone, or something close to that, it doesn't matter what metering mode you use in the camera ... in AV you can lock it in ... (that's what the AE button on the camera is for), or you can use manual ... the result is the same.
    The one concept that always threw me when learning this was that to get something white to render as white not grey, you had to let in more light not less ... it seemed counter intuitive, and I had a heck of a time remembering that simple notion ... LOL!
  54. P mode means POST --- :) a hand meter and manual exposure( & what Ansel taught me ) will keep you away from the dreaded post work ...
  55. Ansel taught us to learn to see those Zones in B&W -- we all carried around a Wratten #90 dark amber filter -- you learned to spot Zone V --- Chimping took about a day back then :)
    Like Marc says :: you just get used to middle grey and what to meter.... once you know that all cameras meter the same ,,, no wild exposures.
  56. The Camera is only a tool​
    William, I somewhat disagree. I think the camera is (should be) an extension of the photographers body and mind. And it should be operated at a unconscious level.
    That's what I strive for at least and I find using different modes of exposure and metering disruptive to that process. So while it is good to know how everything works I think there is also benefit in sticking to one option. Even thought that option may actually be suboptimal in certain cases. Those cases would then be mitigated by increased skill, knowledge and practice.
  57. Apologies if my post was written with too much generalization. I was trying to stay brief and I also naturally speak in big picture terms rather than detailed technicalities. I shared the ways in which I think and what works best for me throughout a wedding day based on the original question posed for the thread, but I would expect that everyone makes their own decisions based on their knowledge and experience. That's what this is all about, right? Not determining that there is any best way, but rather, how many different ways there are of accomplishing similar goals. Everyone thinks differently, perceive the world differently, and takes action differently. There are many ways of thinking and doing - none is right or wrong, but something can always be learned from the ways that others accomplish the same goal through different means. ;-)
  58. For me, it depends much on whether I'm encountering a lot of movement in the scene. I generally do not photograph scenes involving fast motion, and personally I prefer aperture mode. In this setting, creative control over aperture is easiest, and I find it easy to adjust exposure with the EV/exposure comp button. Thinking in terms of +/- EV is the way I operate when it comes to exposure. I realize that this gives me little control over shutter speed without going out of my way to adjust other settings, but in the majority of situations where I do not need to think too much about shutter speed, it's a very simple and usable system.
  59. Nadine,
    I didn't just devise this way of determining my exposure on my own I wanted to reference an article by (David Parris) which does a better job explaining how to determine exposure when photographing a bride. Basically if I followed your direction and opened up one additional stop after metering her face I would be close to overexposure. If you note what David says you can meter the dress then add 1.5 - 2 stops. This would work, but I prefer to meter the brides face then re-compose the shot and yes I do go for a higher key image, but this is more the norm in today's wedding photography.
    David's Article
    Example #1. Imagine taking a portrait photo of someone with the sun shining behind them. Automatic metering is going to take an average reading, take the brighter background into account, and underexpose your subject.
    Instead of relying on auto, take a manual reading from your subject. Move in closer, or use the spot meter setting if you have one, so there is no bright background in the frame, and take your exposure reading. Set the aperture and shutter speed manually, then move back, re-compose and take your shot. Now your subject will be correctly exposed, while the background may be overexposed and lose some detail.
    Using the same scene you might want to change the look of this image and expose for the background instead of the subject. Take your reading from the background, excluding the subject, and reset the aperture and shutter speed. This time the background will be correctly exposed and, depending on the range of brightness, your original subject may be underexposed or be silhouetted against the light.
    In either case you have decided on the look that you want, instead of waiting to see what the automatic settings gave you.

    Example #2. Ever tried taking a close up photo of a bride in a white dress? If you did this with your camera on automatic you would probably find that the whole picture came out much darker than the original scene. This is because your camera was assuming that the white dress was an 18% grey. It underexposed the shot and made the whites look grey.
    If you set the camera manually you can compensate for the white dress or any other large area of white or light tone in the picture. You could do this in a couple of ways; either take a reading from another area, near the subject, with the same lighting conditions but a more average range of tones, or, if that's not possible, take a reading from the dress and make an adjustment to allow for the lighter tones. In this case I would probably open up another 1.5 to 2 stops to get a good result.
  60. Jonathan--David P.'s instructions are your typical instructions for spot metering or even, center weighted averaging metering or reflected metering, using a reference value. Almost everyone who talked about how a meter works in this thread has said the same thing. Read about it by researching the zone system. Your claim that if you metered the skin and opened up one stop, the subject would be overexposed goes against this typical set of instructions. White dress--open up 1.5 to 2 stops, yes, very typical. Caucasian skin--open up 1 stop, again, very typical. Realize that skin tone varies, of course, so 1 stop is a 'more or less' kind of measure, just as 1.5 to 2 stops is a 'more or less' kind of measure.
    Your description of how you metered your shot doesn't follow these typical instructions. From what I read, you metered the skin and used that exposure. This is why I questioned it. Your image, which I am not criticizing for being bright for artistic reasons, is not a good illustration for your metering technique, as a lot of the highlights are gone and the general value of the skin is at a much lighter value than is probably 'for real'.
    Now, it could be that what you spot metered wasn't a clear section of skin. Perhaps it had features in it--eyes, nose shadow, red lips??? If so, you don't have a 'clean' section of Caucasian skin, and you might have had overexposure in this case, had you opened up 1 stop--I don't know.
  61. 90% I do manualy now . I'm not do wedding photo yet but I belived it's two part for them portait sutdio ceremony & social party . 90% manual for ceremony part it right but social party maybe not realy need just IMO . manualy is very powerful & realy taseting photography otherwise you're just enjoy 50% feeling how to love shooting picture
  62. Anyway, Jonathan, not sure posting the image or examining your metering technique will add to answering your initial questions.
    As I said, most people who talked about how metering works, talked about using a reference value of some kind, because the meter (any meter) uses a reference value, which is middle gray. There are many methods of metering, and no one, single way is necessarily better than the other, but each must make sense, when it comes to how that middle gray figures in the arrival of the suggested settings. For one to use that information, one must understand how the meter makes this comparison and also how to apply the information to your scene.
    Now, if you consistently meter the same way and get the same results, even if your method does not follow convention, you most certainly can continue to do so, but if you do, understand why and how your method differs, so that on the day that you get inconsistent results, you might know why.
    Also, you might switch to using your palm to meter off. You can figure out exactly how many stops your palm differs from middle gray, and since your palm is always with you, you have it handy... :^) Plus you're always close enough to get a clear patch of skin.
  63. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Anne R,
    I thought long and hard about the way I worded my comments. My comments too were meant to be quite general and answering a boarder question, which was not asked in the original post i.e. that of Metering Mode. (Camera Mode was the question originally asked.)
    I think I introduced the topic of Metering Mode in my first post, and I commented upon the importance of understanding the different Metering Modes, because the way I think, Metering Mode is important and its choice (for me) is often linked to the Camera Mode I will choose.
    The reason I thought long and hard about the wording of my post was because, firstly it followed yours, and secondly I took examples from your thoughts to make some of my message.
    It was clear to me that I agreed with your comments.
    Moreover, I understood that yours was a broad brush explaining how Pattern Metering can be used and used well. And, importantly, you made mention that when using Pattern Metering, one must make use of their knowledge of light and compensate.
    For absolute clarity, I was extending that thought and amplifying how it is necessary to use one's brain box and also the understanding of light no matter what Metering Mode one chooses to use.
    As to anyone's method being the best or not, I was always of the opinion that Anne R never meant that her method would be the best, only that it would be the best for her. Further, it was obvious to me why that would be so. Even within the brevity of her answer, the major advantages of Pattern Metering were clearly explained.
    I took the opportunity to use Anne R's example of Pattern Metering and my previous example of Spot Metering, to expand on how various methods are useful to various Photographers. To be clear I was not arguing, but rather imploring the OP to learn each function and work out what is best for his situation by knowing all the strengths and weaknesses of each Metering Mode and not to just follow anyone’s suggestion, blindly, without understanding the “why”.
    . . .

    I make particular mention of these points, because, in my experience, the written word is often a poor conduit for nuance, tone and feeling (emotion).
    In this regard, if any of the "apology" was as a result of my comments, then such apology is not necessary as I was expanding your points and not arguing with them, nor attempting to “score points” from your comments: I was direct and literal with my comment and I did not imply. I appreciated your comments and your thoughts stimulated me to add to them.
    RT J:
    Yes. If using Spot Metering then that is the way I would meter and then recompose if I were only taking one meter reading.
    One of the reasons I use Spot Metering is because (for me) it is useful in complex lighting scenes and I take more than one meter reading and then manually compute. This multi-metering technique might not be suitable (or required) for some Wedding situations, nor might it be suitable for many Wedding Photographers’ styles, but when using a TTL meter it is my preference. I also think whether or not one intends to use the JPEG file, with minimal PP, is a factor to consider.
    Pete S:
    I agree and extension and to be operated on an unconscious level and without thinking – just like my Piano Teacher wanted me to play Moonlight Sonata (still practicing, but alas not enough) . . . but the camera is still a tool.
    IMO the two thoughts can co-exist, happily – perhaps it is just semantics we are debating as I believe the meaning, we agree upon.
  64. I almost never use any other mode but manual. But as WW rightly points out, you need to understand what the other modes do in order ot make an informed decision... :)
  65. To the OP
    Why not set the camera's AE lock function so that the button "toggles."
    That's how I work. A mode always. Static light, measure and AE lock, and shoot away. Dynamic lighting, unlock AE lock and shoot away. Light static but has changed for some reason, AE lock off, remeasure, AE lock back on.
    Fast, easy, best of both worlds.
  66. I just want to mention that I may be the only photographer on the planet who uses Tv mode (on occasion). It seems I never see it mentioned in threads like this which means that I'm a person of limited intelligence or a genius (who am I kidding... I'm a frickin genius!)
    (I just want to point out that this is the second time that this forum has censored my use of the word "idi*t" and both times I was using it to describe myself. :)
    I shoot in manual mode almost all the time but if I must use another mode my first choice is Tv, not Av. The reason is that, in Tv I still control the aperture because it adjusts automatically to the shutter speed I set. The worst thing that can happen is that the camera can't set an aperture wide enough for the shutter speed I have selected, resulting in an under-exposed image. In Av mode, the worst thing that can happen is the camera selects a shutter speed that is too slow and you get camera shake. An image that is 1/2 a stop too dark can be saved in RAW but an image that is blurry is a loss. In Tv mode, if the camera can't get the right aperture, the aperture value will blink. In Av mode, if the camera selects a shutter speed that is too slow (say 1/5) it doesn't warn you at all. I know I should be paying attention to the values on every shot but I think the whole point of using the "auto" modes is to free you from scrutinizing the settings on every shot (as you would in manual).
    Again, I rarely switch out of manual but when I do it's usually because I need to work fast in changing light and when that is the case I am much more concerned about the shutter speed than the aperture. If I am in a low-light situation I know that I can set my ISO to 1600 and my camera to Tv, then set the slowest shutter speed that I can hand-hold at, and I will be fine.
    I should also point out that, if you are chimping, it's much easier to spot an image that is undexposed than one that is a little blurry.
  67. Booray--I am like you. If and when I use an automated mode, it is usually TV. I think there has been (and it has gotten bigger) a big emphasis on aperture priority due to the popularity of selective focus and shallow DOF, for good reasons and not so good reasons. For me, the use of an automated mode usually means I'm trying to follow action, where selective focus and shallow DOF are not all that important, relative to getting the action. I would think that selective focus and shallow DOF are more important to consider for static shots where one has time to use manual mode (but that's me).
  68. I also bring up another issue that some of us have discussed before--it is ironic that to fully utilize an automated mode like aperture priority or shutter priority still means the photographer has to be more than just casually knowledgeable about exposure. What I mean is, if you don't already have a feel for what ISO a certain light level will 'need', given the kind of shutter speeds you would need to stop action or to use flash outdoors, etc., you can run into the kinds of problems described by Booray pretty quick--'running out of' f stops or shutter speeds to go with the desired setting. True auto ISO kind of helps, but then one could end up using some extremely high ISO (with it's resulting narrower dynamic range, etc.) when it isn't necessary.
    This whole thing goes against the idea of it being easy to just plug an automated mode into the camera and let it rip. Even Program will run out of options for successful images at some point. I know that aperture priority still seems to be the popular choice for intermediate photographers. When I've trained wedding photographers in the past, the first thing every one of them does is to put the camera in aperture priority and expect to shoot that way all day. When I ask them why, they say, 'to control depth of field' (probably what the instructor said in the last photo course). Now, it is 'for shallow depth of field', or something similar.
    Manual camera mode seems to be something frightening, and I know why, because I went through this myself. It takes a while before one realizes that there is no one, correct exposure for a subject. That the photographer can control how the subject appears and one of the controls is exposure. Also, that the camera isn't somehow coming up with the magical, one perfect exposure for each shot--in reality, it is coming up with differing exposures when one, single one would have been more consistent, shot to shot.
    It is puzzling to me that photo schools don't teach photographers (or online information) to pull back a little before diving into f stops and shutter speeds, and look at the big picture--light levels, whether expressed as EV or not. I never really studied EV, and I probably should. Instead, I just have, in the back of my mind, a set of 'known' settings for lighting situations that I run into over and over. I believe it was C Jo that said there are about 4 settings for all the situations one runs into. While I would be nervous to just use 4 settings for everything, I understand what he is saying when he says this.
    Looking at Pete S.'s advice above re the recessional to limo run, EV is mentioned, and the method is a good method for supporting an all manual camera mode exposure system--one knows from experience what light levels are like, and can anticipate and be prepared for them, taking very little time, the prize being--consistent and on target exposure.
    Anyway, I, for one, am going to read up on EV and light levels more, and take my meter outside and experiment.
  69. Just about every shot is manual with me. There are some circumstances where I'll shoot AV or TV, but for a good part of the day it's all manual.

    Look, if you were a race car driver, an expert driver handling a high performance machine going 200 something miles an hour around a tight bend, you wouldn't have an automatic transmission. Why not?

    Same thing.
  70. I just want to point out something that is being overlooked in this discussion and I, for one, am woefully disappointed that no one has brought it up:
    Nadine mentioned me by name twice.
  71. Its such an interesting name, Booray... Am I being too serious again?
  72. Nadine,
    EV is not that hard. It's really just a combination of aperture and shutter speed rolled into one. When combined with an ISO it can be used to express light levels.
    EV equals stops and are nowadays usually given at ISO 100 unless otherwise specified.
    For instance is sunny 16 the same as EV15 (at ISO100).
    To go from EV to a specific exposure or back you can use these tables:
    Shutter speed => Time Value
    1s => 0
    1/2s => 1
    1/4s => 2
    1/8s => 3
    1/15s => 4
    1/30s => 5
    1/60s => 6
    1/125s => 7
    1/250s => 8
    1/500s => 9
    1/1000s => 10
    1/2000s => 11
    1/4000s => 12
    1/8000s => 13
    Aperture => Aperture Value
    f/1.0 => 0
    f/1.4 => 1
    f/2 => 2
    f/2.8 => 3
    f/4 => 4
    f/5.6 => 5
    f/8 => 6
    f/11 => 7
    f/16 => 8
    ISO => Speed Value (based at ISO100)
    100 => 0
    200 => -1
    400 => -2
    800 => -3
    1600 => -4
    3200 => -5
    6400 => -6
    To get an EV you just add the values together.
    So something shot at 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO800 is 5+3-3=EV 5
    Good thing about EV is that as a wedding photographer you're really only concerned with what you can shoot and that will mostly fall in the EV3 to EV15 range.
    EV4-5 will be typical reception night light levels or dark ceremonies. EV10-15 is the outside range you will work with.
    Most (all?) incident light meters can read in EV (don't forget to set it to ISO100) so that is the easiest way to go around and learn a few EVs typical for your shooting. You could also have a look at the exif info from a few weddings you shot and calculate the EV from that.
    Actually some exif viewers show the EV without any work from your side. It's for instance called Light Value in exiftool.
    You can also go the other way from EV to an exposure. For example let's say I know that sunsets hit about EV10 where I shoot. I want to expose the sunset properly and maybe hit the B&G with off camera flash. Let's say I want ISO100 for good image quality so that means I could for example shoot at 1/60s and f/4 (adding these together we get 0+6+4=10).

    BTW, I've read that in 1960 there was actually an ASA standard that suggested that the aperture and shutter speed scales would be replaced with these number instead (the ISO scale started at ISO 3 though). This to aid in manual calculation of eposure values and estimation of exposure. As light meters started to get used it was never really put into widespread use. Supposedly the use of Tv and Av on Canon cameras comes from the standard that was called APEX.
  73. Yikes, Pete--thanks for the lesson. I had no idea. Now, if my teachers covered EV in photo school, I must have been sleeping. It all sounds brand new to me. I'll have to print this out and think about it. I like to take this kind of system and distill things down to info I can either memorize or have a short enough cheat sheet that I can easily refer to--for just the situations I tend to run across. I have noticed the EV numbers on my meter and on the Hasselblad lens rings. Thanks again.
  74. Nadine,
    I guess it's based on how you get to your end result. I find the best results with the D80 and D200 is to meter the face of the individual then recompose and add fill flash. I do agree with one of the other posters who stated the camera is an extension of yourself. I have nerver been obsessed by theroy of photography rather I believe in picking a camera and learning how to use it.
    I would say I am product of Photo.net and prior to becoming a wedding photographer I used to post some really bad photos here. Now I do 20+ weddings a year and have learned a great deal from this forum.
    So if you are new to Photo.net stay with it becasue it's a great place to learn.
  75. Jonathan--as I said above--if you can get consistent results with what you are doing, even if it goes against the theory, that's great. However, it is always good to understand the theory for the day (and it will come) that your results are not consistent, and you don't know why. Without knowing exactly how you are metering faces, I can't tell you why opening up a stop gives you an 'overexposed' image. I can tell you that Caucasian skin is 'more or less' one stop lighter than middle gray, which is the meter standard.
    Learning by doing is great. Nothing like it, and I am certainly not against that. However, there is a reason there are systems and theories. Such as the EV theory which Pete so kindly explained the basics for above. When I went to photo school, I was afraid of theories and numbers. Over time, I forced myself to become 'unafraid', because I recognized that I couldn't take my work 'to the next level' without really understanding some of the basic science that supports photography.
    For instance, this EV system. Would you not want to learn it and how you could apply it to shooting weddings if you can become lighning fast at using manual exposures? I do. I already use manual most of the time, but if you could accomplish that recessional to limo run without stopping using manual camera mode and getting all 'very close' exposures, would you not want to learn the system? As I said above, knowing the theory even helps one use the automated modes to the fullest.
  76. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    “When I went to photo school, I was afraid of theories and numbers. Over time, I forced myself to become 'unafraid', because I recognized that I couldn't take my work 'to the next level' without really understanding some of the basic science that supports photography.
    For instance, this EV system. Would you not want to learn it and how you could apply it to shooting weddings if you can become lightning fast at using manual exposures?”

    Pete S: I loved your post.
    Yes: the APEX system used the lower case "v" to denote "value". (Your Ref to Canon Nomenclature), I have no idea if Canon adapted it though.
    Yes: the APEX System begins at ISO 3 (actually 3.125) which equals a value of zero (see “Sv” in the list below).
    Then ISO 6.25 = Sv1; ISO 12.5 = Sv2; and ISO 25 = Sv3, etc.
    The APEX system is the basis for the EV Method you describe, or visa versa, as I have no idea which was first “written down” as a "System".

    The measurements and values denoted in APEX are:
    Time Value - Shutter Speed (Tv);
    Aperture Value - Aperture (Av);
    Speed Value – ISO, formerly ASA (Sv)
    Brightness Value – Luminance (Bv)
    Incident Light Value – Illumination, of the scene (Iv)
    Exposure Value (Ev)

    We were taught the APEX at College, (1974 ish), and the similarities to the EV Method you describe are obvious: basically the EV Method you described uses ISO100 as the reference ISO – as you mentioned is the common method now.

    Because the APEX System uses Base2 logarithms, a doubling of any number “value” equals One Stop – and most of the computations are simple addition or subtraction, once one knows the “values”.

    Old habits die hard: we might notice that on some comments here I might write “Tv = 1/60s” or “Av = F/5.6” . . . Strictly speaking this is wrong, as I should actually write Tv = 6 and Av = 5 . . . but if I did, likely there would be few other persons who would know what I was talking about.
    (BTW 1/60s = Tv6 and F/5.6 = Av5 were my memory aids at College for the Shutter Speed and Aperture values, when I first began to commit all the values to memory; because they are both in the middle of the range and as such are often used . . . and to remember them there is a "6" in 1/60s and there is a "5" in F/5.6)

    Also, (RT Jones), my comment in my answer above to you, about taking more than one Spot Meter reading and then manually computing the final exposure might make more sense now, as it is very easy to average two or three simple numbers when using either the APEX System or the “EV Method” which Pete S. described above.
    Also, I often use Ev, when using an Hand Held Lightmeter and taking multiple readings - my meters are set at ISO 100 for reference, so I use the exact numbers Pete described above for all computations.
    Also, it is common parlance here, amongst Photographers (my age), to ask a colleague someting like: "What Light do you have?" or "What Light do you read?"and the answer will be given as a simple number, which is the Ev (based on ISO100).

    P.S. Booray, you just have to know the trick to get around the computer’s filter for the word “idi0t”
  77. William, I actually didn't know about the APEX system until a few days ago when I stumbled upon it by mistake. So it was very interesting to hear that you learned about it in college :)
    And I can understand why they wanted the APEX system to become a new standard for naming apertures, f-stops and ISO as the numbers we use seems quite arbitrary at first.
    I started to use EVs myself when I got a Sekonic light meter a couple of years ago and read about it in the user manual. As I walked around trying to guess how much light certain scenes have and then check with the meter it was much easier to use and remember EV than to use an ISO/f-stop/shutter speed combination.
    Since a shutter speed of 1 second and an aperture of f/1 is EV 0 and an increase of one EV is one stop more light it was easy to come up with the numbers for each f-stop, shutter speed and ISO.
    The numbers I've memorized are:
    1 s or ISO1 00 or f/1 => 0 (start)

    1/2 s or ISO2 00 => 1 stop

    1/4 s or ISO4 00 => 2 stops

    1/8 s or ISO8 00 => 3 stops

    1/16 s (rounded to 1/15s in the camera) or ISO16 00 => 4 stops

    1/32 s (rounded to 1/30s) or ISO 32 00 => 5 stops

    1/64 s (rounded to 1/60s) or ISO 64 00 => 6 stops (all 6s)

    1/256s (rounded to 1/250s) => 8 stops (colors in jpeg)

    1/1000s => 10 stops

    1/4096s (rounded to 1/4000s) => 12 stops (colors in 12-bit raw)

    f/1 .4 => 1 stop (both are 1s)

    f/2 => 2 stops (both are 2s)

    f/2.8 => 3 stops (2.8 rounded off is 3)

    f/4 => 4 stops (both are 4s)

    f/5 .6 => 5 stops (both 5s)

    f/8 => 6 stops

    PS. The reason I write EV and not Ev is because that seems to be the de-facto standard today.
  78. Sorry about the strange formatting of ISO numbers. Photo.net seems to inject a space automatically after you make something bold. Like this fo r ex amp le.
  79. Preference for AV verses TV is simple ... Depth of Field tends to be a bit more important than shutter speed at a wedding compared to say action sports photography. It isn't just to accomplish narrow DOF, but to swiftly control what is and what isn't in focus ... sometimes making the DOF deeper to get a group in focus ... or the B&G and alter behind them all in focus. When shooting outdoors with AV, shutter speed selected is rarely the issue. I use manual indoors so there's no issue there.
  80. Which goes to show that it depends on how the automated mode is being used and when. When outside, I usually am not using any automated mode except for shutter priority, and only when the subject is moving fast in differing light, meaning I want to keep my eye on the shutter speed and it is action I am shooting--not sports action, but action nonetheless. For groups and the couple in front of the altar, etc., I use manual mode. Again--various methods can all be completely valid if the person behind the camera knows what they are doing.
  81. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    . . . a Flower Girl or Page Boy (Ring Bearer) coming out of the gate and running down the Aisle at a Garden Wedding can look like a Sprint Start sometimes . . . LOL !


Share This Page