What is Metering in Photography

A DSLR Camera has a built-in light metering sensor that takes the light reading. Metering is one of the photography basics. It measures the brightness of the scene to be photographed. It divides the image into multiple areas and measures their brightness separately. Accordingly, it sets the Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO to make a correct exposure.

Different Metering Modes include Evaluative or Matrix Metering, Center-Weighted Metering, Spot Metering and Partial Metering. You can select the Metering Mode according to your creative purpose and create amazing photographs.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Metering, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Metering.


When to use different Metering Modes in DSLR Camera

Matrix/ Evaluative/ Segment/ Honeycomb Metering

This metering mode is the default metering mode in a DSLR and is apt for most scenes. If you have a Nikon DSLR, it will appear as Matrix Metering and if you have a Canon DSLR, it will appear as Evaluative Metering. In this mode, the metering sensor divides the entire scene/frame into multiple areas and reads the light and dark tones of each area. Then, the metering sensor compares the autofocus point/ the area where you have set the focus with rest of the areas and decides the appropriate exposure required to create the image.

Ideal for Landscape photography.  

Center-Weighted Metering

In Center-Weighted Metering, the metering sensor measures the brightness of the entire frame but gives more emphasis/weightage to the centre of the frame than the rest area. It doesn’t take into consideration the corners of the frame. Hence, it is best suited when your subject to be photographed lies at the centre of the frame.

Ideal for Portrait photography. 

Spot Metering

In Spot Metering, the metering sensor measures the brightness only around your focus point in the entire frame/scene. It covers a very small area. It can be anywhere from 2% to 5% of the frame; however it will vary depending on the DSLR camera you are using. Based on this spot area, the metering sensor determines the exposure. Hence, you can use this mode when your subject does not take much of the frame.

Ideal for Bird photography.

Partial Metering

You’ll find Partial Metering mode in some of the Canon DSLR cameras. There is not much difference between Spot Metering and Partial Metering; except that Spot Metering covers 2% to 5% of the frame whereas Partial Metering covers a little bit more area which is approximately 8% to 10% of the frame in the centre.

Ideal for bright backgrounds especially with backlit subjects.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein Jo experiments with different Metering Modes and succeeds in mastering Metering.