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This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

Are you unsure what incident light meters are and want to know more? Maybe it’s the first time you have heard the phrase and you are keen for more information? Or are you curious and want to know more? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answers for you!

Light meters can be tricky to get to grips with, especially for beginners. Before you know it, you can find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do or where to turn.

Well, no more! Today we are here to tell you everything you need to know about incident light meters. Keep reading to find out.

What Does Metering Mean?

Metering is the process of measuring the amount of light coming into the lens or sensor of a digital camera. This allows you to set the proper exposure settings on your camera.

Two types of metering are used: incident (which measures light reflected off objects) and reflective (which measures light reflected onto the object).

Reflective Metering Vs. Incident Metering

Reflected light meters are used to take measurements of subjects that reflect light into the camera. This is useful for taking pictures of people who are wearing white or silver clothing.

White clothing reflects the light from the camera lens, making it difficult to see what’s going on. By using a reflective light meter, you can make sure that the camera sees the person’s face and body, even if he or she is wearing white clothing.

A reflective light meter assumes that all subjects are of a certain percentage of reflectance, or have an average mid-toned gray. This leads to inaccurate measurements due to variations in color or tone.

Reflective meters measure the amount of light being reflected off of subjects. When used correctly, they can help photographers make sure that images aren’t too dark or too bright. However, when used incorrectly, they can cause problems.

For example, if a subject is more reflective (i.e., shiny), then the meter might think there is more light in the scene. This means the image could be underexposed. On the other hand, if a subject is less reflective (i.e. dull), then the meter might overexpose the image.

Incident light meters measure how much light falls on subjects. They’re most commonly used to measure the light falling on landscapes, buildings, and other items outside of the frame.

Incident meters don’t assume anything about the subject; they simply measure the amount of light hitting the scene. If you want to know how much light is hitting a particular part of the image, you’ll need to use an incident light meter.

What Is An Incident Light Meter And How To Use It?

Why Should I Use An Incident Light Meter?

An incident light meter will give you more accurate readings than a reflective light meter. It also gives you more control over the final results.

With a reflective light meter, the camera only knows how much light is bouncing off of the subject.
The camera doesn’t know whether the subject is darker or lighter than its surroundings. A reflective light meter won’t tell you this information.

If you want to get the best possible shot, you should always use an incident light meter whenever possible.

How To Use An Incident Light Meter

To take an accurate measurement, you must first place the incident light meter at the same distance as the subject you wish to photograph. You may want to use a tripod so that you can hold the meter steady while you take the reading.

Then, turn on the meter and point it toward the subject. Make sure it’s pointed directly at the center of the subject. Don’t move the meter until you’ve taken the reading.

Once you’ve read the meter, look at the LCD screen to find out how many f-stops the meter recommends. For example, if the meter says 1/2 stop underexposure, that means that the subject was half as bright as the background.

You can adjust your settings based on the number of f-stops recommended by the meter. To do this, just follow these steps:

1. Set the shutter speed to the lowest value recommended by the meter.
2. Set ISO to the highest setting recommended by the meter. This will allow you to capture the brightest possible picture.
3. Adjust aperture size according to the number of f-stop recommendations from the meter.
4. Focus on the subject using manual focus mode.
5. Take a test shot with the new settings.
6. Check the histogram for any clipping. If there is any clipping, increase the ISO setting. If not, lower the ISO setting.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until you reach the desired brightness level.
8. Review your pictures and see which ones were properly exposed.
9. Save them to your computer.
10. Delete all the images except the one that met your exposure requirements.
11. Print the image and keep it safe!
12. Enjoy your success!

What Is An Incident Light Meter And How To Use It?

Tips For Incident Light Metering

Check out some of our helpful tips below!

Remember to set the shutter speed to the slowest value recommended by the meter before taking the reading. Otherwise, the meter might be fooled into thinking that the subject is brighter than it is.

When the meter reads too dark, try raising the ISO setting.

Be careful when changing the aperture size. If the aperture becomes too small, the depth of field will become very shallow. This could cause the subject to appear blurry in the photo.

Try to shoot in RAW format. RAW files contain more data about each pixel than JPGs. This allows you to make adjustments later without losing quality.

Keep in mind that the amount of light hitting the sensor depends on several factors. Some of these include the type of lens used, the focal length of the lens, the aperture setting, and the color temperature of the ambient lighting.

If you’re having trouble getting an accurate reading, try placing the incident light meter at different distances from the subject. The closer you get, the darker the scene will appear.

It’s also important to note that the incident light meter measures only the light falling onto the sensor itself. It doesn’t measure the light coming through the lens or bouncing off objects in front of the camera.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on what an incident light meter is and how to use it to accurately measure how much light falls on subjects and take better photographs.

It’s important to understand the different measurements you need to take to be a successful photographer and take great photos, and the many different devices you can use.

You can take a photography course or watch some online tutorials to learn the ins and outs of photography and become a photo prop.