Understanding Metering and Metering Modes

Every modern DSLR has something called “Metering Mode”, also known as “Camera Metering”, “Exposure Metering” or simply “Metering”. Knowing how metering works and what each of the metering modes does is important in photography, because it helps photographers control their exposure with minimum effort and take better pictures in unusual lighting situations. In this understanding metering modes article, I will explain what metering is, how it works and how you can use it for your digital photography.

When I got my first DSLR (Nikon D80), one of my frustrations was that some images would come out too bright or too dark. I had no idea how to fix it, until one day, when I learned about camera metering modes.

1) What is Metering?

Metering is how your camera determines what the correct shutter speed and aperture should be, depending on the amount of light that goes into the camera and the sensitivity of the sensor. Back in the old days of photography, cameras were not equipped with a light “meter”, which is a sensor that measures the amount and intensity of light. Photographers had to use hand-held light meters to determine the optimal exposure. Obviously, because the work was shot on film, they could not preview or see the results immediately, which is why they religiously relied on those light meters.

Today, every DSLR has an integrated light meter that automatically measures the reflected light and determines the optimal exposure. The most common metering modes in digital cameras today are:

  1. Matrix Metering (Nikon), also known as Evaluative Metering (Canon)
  2. Center-weighted Metering
  3. Spot Metering

Some Canon EOS models also offer “Partial Metering”, which is similar to Spot Metering, except the covered area is larger (approximately 8% of the viewfinder area near the center vs 3.5% in Spot Metering).

You can see the camera meter in action when you shoot in Manual Mode – look inside the viewfinder and you will see bars going left or right, with a zero in the middle, as illustrated below.

Nikon Viewfinder

If you point your camera at a very bright area, the bars will go to “+” side, indicating that there is too much light for the current exposure settings. If you point your camera at a very dark area, the bars will go to the “-” side, indicating that there is not enough light. You would then need to increase or decrease your shutter speed to get to “0”, which is the optimal exposure, according to your camera meter.

A camera meter is not only useful for just the Manual Mode – when you choose another mode such as Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Program Mode, the camera automatically adjusts the settings based on what it reads from the meter.

1.1) Problems with Metering

Camera meters work great when the scene is lit evenly. However, it gets problematic and challenging for light meters to determine the exposure, when there are objects with different light levels and intensities. For example, if you are taking a picture of the blue sky with no clouds or sun in the frame, the image will be correctly exposed, because there is just one light level to deal with. The job gets a little harder if you add a few clouds into the image – the meter now needs to evaluate the brightness of the clouds versus the brightness of the sky and try to determine the optimal exposure. As a result, the camera meter might brighten up the sky a little bit in order to properly expose the white clouds – otherwise, the clouds would look too white or “overexposed”.

What would happen if you added a big mountain into the scene? Now the camera meter would see that there is a large object that is much darker (relative to the clouds and the sky), and it would try to come up with something in the middle, so that the mountain is properly exposed as well. By default, the camera meter looks at the light levels in the entire frame and tries to come up with an exposure that balances the bright and the dark areas of the image.

2) Matrix / Evaluative Metering

Matrix Metering or Evaluative Metering mode is the default metering mode on most DSLRs. It works similarly to the above example by dividing the entire frame into multiple “zones”, which are then all analyzed on individual basis for light and dark tones. One of the key factors (in addition to color, distance, subjects, highlights, etc) that affects matrix metering, is where the camera focus point is set to. After reading information from all individual zones, the metering system looks at where you focused within the frame and marks it more important than all other zones. There are many other variables used in the equation, which differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Nikon, for example, also compares image data to a database of thousands of pictures for exposure calculation.

Matrix Metering

You should use this mode for most of your photography, since it will generally do a pretty good job in determining the correct exposure. I leave my camera metering mode on matrix metering for most of my photography needs, including landscape and portrait photography.

3) Center-weighted Metering

Using the whole frame for determining the correct exposure is not always desirable. What if you are trying to take a headshot of a person with the sun behind? This is where center-weighted metering comes in handy. Center-weighted Metering evaluates the light in the middle of the frame and its surroundings and ignores the corners. Compared to Matrix Metering, Center-weighted Metering does not look at the focus point you select and only evaluates the middle area of the image.

Center-weighted Metering

Use this mode when you want the camera to prioritize the middle of the frame, which works great for close-up portraits and relatively large subjects that are in the middle of the frame. For example, if you were taking a headshot of a person with the sun behind him/her, then this mode would expose the face of the person correctly, even though everything else would probably get heavily overexposed.

4) Spot Metering

Spot Metering only evaluates the light around your focus point and ignores everything else. It evaluates a single zone/cell and calculates exposure based on that single area, nothing else. I personally use this mode a lot for my bird photography, because the birds mostly occupy a small area of the frame and I need to make sure that I expose them properly, whether the background is bright or dark. Because the light is evaluated where I place my focus point, I could get an accurate exposure on the bird even when the bird is in the corner of the frame. Also, if you were taking a picture of a person with the sun behind but they occupied a small part of the frame, it is best to use the spot metering mode instead. When your subjects do not take much of the space, using Matrix or Center-weighted metering modes would most likely result in a silhouette, if the subject was back-lit. Spot metering works great for back-lit subjects like that.

Spot Metering

Another good example of using spot metering is when photographing the Moon. Because the moon would take up a small portion of the frame and the sky is completely dark around it, it is best to use Spot metering – that way, we are only looking at the light level coming from the moon and nothing else.

Some DSLRs like the Canon 1D/1Ds are capable of multi-spot metering, which basically allows choosing multiple spots to measure light and come up with an average value for a good exposure.

5) How to change camera metering mode

Unfortunately, this varies not only from manufacturer to manufacturer, but also from model to model. On the Nikon D5300, for example, it is done through the menu setting (Info button). On professional cameras such as the Nikon D810 and Nikon D4s, there is a separate button on the top left dial for camera metering. Changing metering on Canon cameras also varies from model to model, but generally it is done through a key combination (“Set” button), camera menu or a dedicated metering button close to the top LCD.


  1. 1) Clipping Path
    February 10, 2010 at 1:51 am

    common things, but useful for beginners ..

    • 1.1) Antarctica
      May 3, 2012 at 4:01 am

      then why are you in a metering tutorial?

      • 1.1.1) North America
        February 20, 2013 at 7:51 pm

        Don’t belittle. I believe CP was recognizing that although this is a common thing, it is useful for beginners to have a good grasp of, and complimenting the article.

        Good info here, thanks

        • Debbie M
          May 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

          Very good info, and yes, thanks Nasim. I want more of a grasp of the whys and hows of the camera so I can do all I can to get out of the camera all that I can.
          Thanks Nasim.

    • 1.2) Michael
      March 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      But he spent his time writing that…hope he feels better.

  2. 2) sm
    February 16, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Nice article. Love your tutorials.

    • February 16, 2010 at 5:25 am

      SM, thank you! :) Please let me know if you have any questions.

      • 2.1.1) Shafi
        April 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        Hello there!
        Am a Nikon D90 user. I often get confused about right exposure while covering events as there are frequent changes in light. Please explain the relation between exposure and metering. Another issue i would like to ask. If i use assign AF/AE lock button to AE/AF lock Should i have to press that button until i release the shutter to get the desired focus and exposure? Or i can just press the AE/AF button once after i half press the shutter release button?

        • Shafi
          April 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

          Another point…what if i just half press the shutter in AF-S mode and recompose the frame and press it in full. Won’t i guess the same exposure as i gathered while half pressed? Or i have to press the AE/AF button?

      • 2.1.2) Muhammad Omer
        March 27, 2014 at 7:46 am

        I am confused about one thing. If I use spot metering, how do I chose which af point to use. Is the “spot” an af point? Please explain thanks

        • Riel de Bellefeuille
          March 31, 2014 at 4:09 pm

          @Muhammad Omer The three metering modes have no effect on your focus point. But if your are using Spot Metering, the spot will be the center of your focus point.

    • 2.2) Debbie M
      May 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Nasim, thank you so much for your tutorial. It’s been the most helpful one I’ve read about metering because you explained it so perfectly.
      All the questions I’ve been asking about metering were answered right here.
      I am a pretty new to the world of dslr’s and am having a blast learning all I can. Your explanation was thorough and to the point and yet explained exactly what I have been trying to figure out.
      Thanks again, and I look forward to reading the rest of your tutorials!
      (and re-reading this one again and again)

  3. 3) Liju
    February 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Till now, I was thinking the spot metering is done from the center of the frame. When I had to spot meter something, I usually set the focal point at the middle, take exposure and then recompose. You say that I can leave the subject in whatever area I want and then change the focal point to the subject and meter. That’s useful especially when using tripod.

    Thanks for the nice article.

    • February 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Liju, yo are most welcome! Give it a try – change the focus point to the corner and point it at a lamp and you will see that the camera will meter based on that focus point :)

      • 3.1.1) Simeon
        January 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

        Hi, Liju, Nasim,

        As I was reading the great article I was surprised to understand that spot metering worked with all AF points. Quickly I tried testing exactly what Nasim suggested with my Canon 550D just to find out that this was not the case. With the leftmost AF point activated and pointed at the lamp, the lamp got overexposed. Then, again with the leftmost AF point activated I pointed the center at the lamp and took the shot – the metering was properly done and the lamp was properly exposed.

        So, unless I have not missed something, I can say that not all cameras support all AF with spot metering and, sadly, Canon 550D is one of them.

  4. 4) Richard Garrow
    March 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I just found this site today while looking at purchasing a D300S over my existing D90 you saved me some money today so thank you. This article was as some one said common but, it is great to go back and reveiw. Some us need to go back every once in a while to refresh our memory. So thanks very much.
    I am looking forward to your article on the difference between FX (full frame) and DX (cropped-sensor)

    • March 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

      Richard, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! I really appreciate your feedback and I’m glad that you have found some of our articles useful.

      I will try to post the FX vs DX article as soon as I get back, so stay tuned! :)

  5. 5) Sam
    March 27, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Just like the guy above, I got your website when I do research Nikon D300s. First of all, I would like to say Thank You very much for your website. It’s really helpful and easily to understand all your hints. I’ve read many websites about tutorial photograph but they do not explain clearly and detail like yours.
    I’m just a beginer, and I bought my first DSLR Nikon D5000 last year. At that time, I could not see the differrent between D5000 and D90. That’s why I end up with D5000. Now, I feel my D5000 is not functionable enough for my photograph such as: I want to get challenge using dual flashs (one build-in flash and one or more wireless flashs) I know I can do that with a commander flash; with D90 is already build-in i-TTL. On the other hand, I want to upgrade my lens, then I realize D90 gets more choices of lens then D5000 (NO build-in focus motor).
    Now, I need your advices that should I upgrade my camera or save money to buy good lens? If upgrade camera, what camera do you suggest? (of course, money is matter with me) : )
    Once again, thank you very much!

    • March 30, 2010 at 11:47 pm

      Sam, you are most welcome!

      In terms of upgrading your camera or getting a better lens, I would always suggest to do the latter. Unlike cameras, lenses are always a better investment. On top of that, here are two counter-arguments about what you’ve said about D5000:
      1) Use of built-in flash as a commander is not that great. Most people do not know that the flash actually has to fire, even if you set it to be a commander only with no flash power. It might not be visible on most images, but if you are taking a picture of something close, you will see a nasty reflection/shadows from the built-in flash.
      2) No built-in AF motor is a thing of the past. Nikon has released many new DX and FX lenses with AF-S that work beautifully on D5000/D3000. People used to complain that they could not use their 50mm f/1.4 and f/1.8 lenses and Nikon has already released an AF-S version of the 50mm f/1.4 and also released the Nikon 35mm f/1.8, which also works great on the D5000. So if you take into consideration what Nikon offers today in terms of lenses, having or not having an AF motor is not important anymore.

      Save up for a professional-grade lens instead!

      • 5.1.1) Sam
        March 31, 2010 at 6:10 am

        Hi Mr. Nasim,
        Thank you for your advices! It’s true. I should invest on lens. Right now, I have 3 lens: 18-55mm (come with camera), 55-200mm VR, and 35mm f/1.8G. Since, I bought lens 35mm, lens 18-55 seems useless : ). I use my camera for landscape and portrait to my daughter 5 months old. Do you think what a professional-grade lens that I should invest?
        I also have my amature studio room at home with 3 lights kit.
        Thank you again!

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          April 2, 2010 at 1:43 am

          Sam, you are welcome!

          Yes, the 35mm beats the 18-55 in sharpness and contrast without a doubt!

          In terms of a professional lens, what do you primarily photograph? Do you want a portrait lens, landscape lens or some other lens such as macro?

          Let me know.

          Also check out my “First Nikon Lens” article that I wrote a while ago.

  6. 6) mymy
    June 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I’m just a newbee with dslr and i bought the D90 but im always disappointed with the result coz most of the time i got overexposed picture…should i use the Matrix metering to improve my pictures? Thanks…This site is really great and helpful…

    • July 3, 2010 at 11:30 pm

      Mymy, certainly! If you are using spot or center-area metering, that could be the sole reason why your images are over-exposed. Matrix metering would definitely give you better overall results. You should only use spot or center-area metering for specific situations, as I pointed out in the article.

  7. 7) Kristie
    July 3, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you for posting this article on metering, it was a good refresher. I just became more serious about my photography about a year ago and started taking photography classes in the basics. I “learned” on my point and shoot though since it did have a manual mode, but then I quickly upgraded to the D5000 at Christmas time. I feel though that I’m in another learning curve. I thought I understood metering in class, but I’ve been frustrated lately trying to remember it all. I think I am getting myself confused between spot and matrix (I also learned on a canon p&S so I had to get used to Nikon terminology). I thought that my instructor said that spot metering was pretty good to use all the time, but now I am beginning to think he might have been referring to matrix because of what he showed me the other night at our camera club meeting. We were in a room that had mixed lighting. He had me point my camera (while in spot mode mind you) in one direction and meter for that area (actually had me meter for 1 and 2/3) and said that no matter where I would point the camera from then on in the room the lighting would be correct every time and lo and behold it was. I’ve tried this same technique since then at home and haven’t been able to replicate it. I’m wondering if I still am not understanding how to meter correctly or what I am doing wrong. Any suggestions?

    • July 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm

      Kristie, your instructor probably showed you how to do spot metering. With spot metering selected, if you pointed your camera focus point at a bright source of light, it would properly expose the light and therefore underexpose the surrounding area, while pointing the camera at a dark part of the scene would properly expose the darker side and possibly over-expose the brighter parts of the scene. If you did not see any over-exposed or heavily under-exposed areas, then he might have been using matrix metering, which evaluates the whole frame for light and then tries to get the right exposure.

      Either way, each situation is different and I personally leave my camera on Matrix metering, unless I need to properly expose a specific part of a scene, in which case I switch to Spot metering.

  8. 8) David
    July 20, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Hi Nasim. Great tips. Ive been reading your tips for a while now and the result has been fantastic. Ive been able to take some good pictures albeit I still need to learn more.
    I am using the Aperture priority mode for almost all my pictures with auto metering. I am however wondering if moving the metering to center focus will help from a generic perspective ? What are your thoughts on it ?

    Also, I am right now on the kit lens ( 18-55).. very very tempted to go for the 35mm 1.8D.. but then again, is it worth the swap ? My pictures are not only portraits.. but landscape and all of that.. Please let me know.

    Many thanks

    • July 29, 2010 at 2:40 am

      Thank you David!

      In terms of metering, keep it in Matrix metering for most pictures and only switch to spot metering when you need to evaluate light based on the center point or your focus point. Matrix/Evaluative metering is great for 95% of situations.

      In terms of 35mm f/1.8G, if you like portraits and low-light photography, it is definitely worth getting one.

  9. 9) Nina
    July 22, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Love this site! I took a couple of photography classes this Summer and we covered metering but this actually gives me more information to add to what had been taught.
    Your site is the best!

    • July 29, 2010 at 2:40 am

      Thank you Nina, your feedback is truly appreciated!

  10. 10) Feodor
    August 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    This is a great site! Thank you for all the ideas.

  11. 11) Eric
    August 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I knew about the metering but always little confused about different meterings. Thanks for clearing that up! Great Article, Thanks Nasim!

  12. 12) Teng Chelsea
    October 24, 2010 at 3:51 am

    hello..Mr Nasim
    your web site is great
    can more understanding ~” photography & camera ”

  13. November 18, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Today, i’ve found this site, I had spent 3 hours and until now to read any topic of your articles..excellent site n great explaination from Mr.Nasim..keep it up the great work sir..the best!

  14. 14) Krish
    January 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Nasim, Have been browsing through this site and i found this to have an incredible amount of useful information.. thanks for all the comprehensive information posted in the site :)..

    Am a amateur photographer and i have a Nikon D5000 with 18-55 Kit lens and a AF-S 55-200 VR ED zoom lens.. am quite interested in macro photography.. can you kindly recommend an appropriate lens for this.

    Please keep up the good job.

    • February 25, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Krish, I personally really like the Nikon 105mm f/2.8G VR for macro.

      • 14.1.1) Krish
        February 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

        hi Nasim, Thx for the reply :).. shall check this out.

  15. 15) santosh shah
    April 27, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks a lot for your beautiful articles….Keep up the good work…..God bless you….

  16. 16) kjser
    May 10, 2011 at 6:35 am

    does Nikon D3100 has metering mode?

  17. 17) andy
    May 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Hey Nasim,
    Great work, but I am a bit confused. Does the spot metering work on the focus point you choose or only on the center?

  18. 18) Ansel
    May 20, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Very informative site Mr Nasim. I would like to ask something about spot and center weighted meterings. When using spot metering or center weighted, which part of the scene should I point at? Is it the brightest part, the darkest part, or the middle part, different hue brightness? Could you kindly give some sample images to illustrate where you focussed on for the different types of meterings? I love landscapes, portraits, and macros too. Thanks so much.

  19. 19) Aaon
    May 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I never understood metering till date even after having D80 for 3 years( kind of feel dump now). I used the default one most of the time but lost some nice shots till date. This article is amazing and I got it in one go. Very easy to follow. Thank you soo much.

  20. 20) Egypt Rai
    July 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    And after WAY too long, I finally understand metering. Thank-you! Before now, there had never been an article or person who could clearly explain it to me. Recently, I’d been noticing some of my photos were overexposed and not understanding why, and ta-da: I had my camera set to centre-weighted metering. Now, my camera manual and I sat down and I figured out how light metering works on my camera, and I must say I’m quite pleased. Thanks again!

  21. 21) Sid
    August 3, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I use Canon 500D but never fully understood the Metering modes and when to use what mode.
    I have experimented different modes to see the quality of the photos.
    This document explains what I needed to know and how to apply in different conditions.

    One other thing I would like to know; what metering mode should I select when taking a picture of a white/grey glacier or a snow capped mountain? I dont want to over expose the glacier/snow.

    Thanks for this document.

  22. 22) Sumit
    August 28, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Hello Nasim,

    I am a newbie in the world of professional photography (but, i m very passionate for it); I have just bought my baby canon 550d and, i am trying to learn all the functions of it using 18-55mm lens. I must say your tips and, comments are very helpful for me, I am a biggggggggg fan of your photography and, treat you as my Idol. I want to be a good professional photographer(close to you :). If you find some time please suggest how can i make maximum use of my 18-55mm lens since, i want learn everybit of it before i purchase any other lens.

    Looking forward for your guidelines :)

    Thanks & Regards,

  23. 23) Thiago Casteliano
    September 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Great tutorial! Very helpful and you are a great professional and open-minded person to share your knowledge all over the web.
    Best Regards from Brazil.

  24. 24) Jo
    September 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for this website and all your help! I am an Australian photographer and I think you are amazing and wish we had more mentors like you here in Australia.

  25. 25) penny
    September 25, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you so much, I can’t tell you how much I have been struggling because people assume that you should know what to look for through the viewfinder, now I know! Thank you

  26. 26) Francois
    October 19, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Hey Nasim!

    Beautiful and clear article, as always!!!

    My own experience is that the centre-weighted metering works slightly different than explained here. Also dpreview says something different. It looks at the rest of the frame also, just gives a higher weight to the centre. To quote from dpreview’s summary of the Nikon D3:
    “Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 8, 15, or 20 mm dia. circle in center of frame or weighting based on average of entire frame (default 12 mm)”

    I also noticed that there are issues with other cameras. The Nikon D80 and to a lesser extent the Nikon D7000 almost always chooses to underexpose when using centre-weighted metering – independent of where the light-source is in the frame. On the other hand matrix metering has a tendency to slightly overexpose if the light-source is away from the currently selected focus point. In this sense it seems almost reversed! (except that where they don’t coincide matrix gives priority tot the focus point, not the centre). Maybe something I should blog about. But I think it’s already been blogged about.

    • 26.1) Francois
      October 19, 2011 at 1:19 am

      Oh my excuses – I see you did say “prioritize”. It’s only the picture that threw me off. Maybe if you could have added a light-pink tint to the rest? But then it would have been less clear, I guess. :)

      • October 26, 2011 at 2:56 am

        Francois, thank you for your feedback! Yes, I did not want to complicate the article with technical language, so I tried to make it as simple as possible with illustrations. I am aware that center-weighted metering looks at the rest of the frame as well :)

  27. 27) Vinh
    November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Nasim. I am a newbie, I have one question about focus. I’m having D90 using with Matrix metering, every time I took picture in manual the object always out of focus, background always get clear and sharp then object. Do you you have any idea?


  28. 28) Viv
    January 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you so much! I just bough my camera and I am learning to use it. Your tutorials have been VERY helpful!

  29. 29) Dean
    January 19, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Thank you! very helpful!

  30. 30) Babu G S
    February 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Awesome once again…explained very clearly…thank you sirji

  31. 31) Vipul Kapadia
    February 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Your explanation and write-up is so simple even a novice can understand it. You kept it nice and simple and that’s not so easy! I can’t wait to try these modes out now! Thank you.

  32. 32) Jeff
    March 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Wow what a great article! I never could figure out how people get the moon to not be weird shaped or over exposed like mine turn out. Thanks, your articles are drastically improving my photography! Jeff

  33. 33) pankoj das
    March 17, 2012 at 5:28 am

    thank you, it’s really helpful for me. thanks alot

  34. 34) Bryan
    March 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Great Explanation :-) Thank you so much.

  35. 35) Heang
    March 27, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Very Good, And thank so much, I love my Nikon D90 :D

  36. 36) Prashant
    April 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you for posting this great lesson/tip.

  37. 37) Mark Bown
    April 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I have an issue with my nikon d5000
    It has suddenly started over exposing my pictures,,,say if I put the camera into “A” mode and went from f5 to f8 the picture would be greatly over exposed and if I went all the way down to f36 well it would be totally white.. This happens in most settings that use the flash or the flash can be used.

    Is this fixable or is it time for another camera?

  38. 38) Noel A. Flojo
    April 23, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m a beginner in photography using my newly bought Nikon D7000. Your explanation really helps me a lot in understanding the basics in photography. It is very very clear. Thank you for your unselfish sharing of your wide experience. I learned a lot from you…
    Just two questions , how can i make use of my 18-105 mm lens that goes with my unit? what is it’s best for? What kind of lens do you think i should buy next? ( I take a lot of family pictures for special occasions)


  39. 39) Noel A. Flojo
    April 23, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m a beginner in photography using my newly bought Nikon D7000. Your explanation really helps me a lot in understanding the basics in photography. It is very very clear. Thank you for your unselfish sharing of tips and your wide experience in the field. I really learned a lot from you… though i still have to practice more often.
    Just two questions , how can i make use of my 18-105 mm lens that goes with my unit? what is it’s best for? What kind of lens do you think i should buy next? ( I take a lot of family pictures for special occasions)


  40. 40) Daz
    April 24, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I am a beginer photography and enjoy reading your articles. I have a Nikon D7000. I seem to have a problem with my D7000 when shoting in Manual mode under low lighting using matrix metering I am unable to adjust the exposure settings. The bar is always to the far right, and none of the dails work. However in Shutter or Aperture mode it works fine. Am I doing something wrong?

  41. 41) T. Perez
    April 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article..I am using a canon 50d for about a year now. Its my first
    dslr…i noticed that alot of the “feedbackers” are using “nikon” cameras. Aswell as yourself.
    Through your experience, why is it alot of begginers tend to choose “nikon” over “canon”?
    I only ask becuase i have always had a thought in image quality..between the two.. My daughter
    has a Nikon pocket camera and the images are nice and sharp!! and its just a point & click camera.
    well thanks for your time…T.perez

  42. 42) J. Nguyen
    May 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I’ve pretty much done everything this tutorial has asked but there is one slight problem…..my images come out very dark.

  43. 43) lim
    June 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for such a good tutorial on metering. i tried to read camera manual and other website, the more i read the more i am confused. Too technical for a layman. I find your tutorial is informative, simple and takes care of beginners like me and good photo illustration. I hope Nikon will copy your tutorial into their operation manual. Thank you and appreciate your good deeds.

  44. 44) Linds
    July 25, 2012 at 8:54 am

    This was a great article that explained it very well!! Easy to understand and simply stated! thanks for not overcomplicating an issue that some people find confusing!

  45. 45) Ravikiran Patil
    July 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks. Explained very well.

  46. 46) Teecy
    July 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Well explained and easy to undertsand . Thank you very much. Hope to read more article from you .

  47. 47) Leon
    September 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm


    Regarding spot metering, you said that it meters only the focus area of the scene. Does it mean that if my focus is not on the middle will it still work or should I recompose? (because spot metering is just on the center of the screen).


  48. 48) krispradez
    September 27, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Nice article. I was trying to shot M on my shiny bnew D90 (will invest on lens than D7K), and couldn’t figure out how to balance ISO/Aperture/Shutter other than trial and error.

    I never thought there’s that metering built-in and available only through the viewfinder :-)


  49. 49) Rohit
    December 7, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks …good tutorial.

  50. 50) Mike
    December 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to write this.
    I’ve bookmarked it for reference. : )

  51. 51) nessie
    January 23, 2013 at 4:21 am

    You have given me the best explanation. So so clearly and well explained i have totally understood metering the the modes. Thank you for that, really well explained with no confusion at all.

  52. 52) Johnny
    February 4, 2013 at 3:13 am

    I have read a few of your tutorials and they are just great !! Well explained and easy to understand – Thank you.

  53. 53) Vasanth
    February 15, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Your making article with crisp but well explained… thank you

  54. 54) Lawrence
    February 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    As someone pointed out a common thing for beginners, but very difficult to master.
    I’ve always struggled to use the correct metering modes for my photo-shoot.
    This article has made it so much clear for me.
    Thanks :)

  55. 55) Laurel
    February 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you for your informative instructions I am learning photography almost entirely by web and I have found yours’ to be excellent. I print the lessons to refer to them as needed (a lot) and because of that, wish I could print just the text. Is that possible? If not I’ll just keeping printing and buying more ink. Thanks again for all your work.

  56. April 5, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Thank you for this article, so easy to understand. I really appreciate it.

  57. 57) TONY
    April 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for this article, simple and easy to understand. very helpful and greatly appropriated.

  58. 58) Noel Flojo
    April 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Nasim

    It’s nice to review the articles you have posted.Its a great help.


  59. 59) Jishu Jacob
    April 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Very helpful article. Simply said. Thank you very much!

  60. 60) Chirag Save
    May 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Hello, nice article!
    Just a quick question. If we are shooting a bird at a zoo where a bird can take up a substantial space in the frame, should we use matrix or spot is still better?

  61. 61) protorob
    June 7, 2013 at 2:34 am


  62. 62) saman
    July 15, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Thank you very much, i read many articles about metering modes but i only understood yours.

  63. 63) Ajeesh
    August 2, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Awesome tutorial on Metering…really helpful.

  64. 64) Carlos
    September 19, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Excellent Article! Thank you for helping me understand.

  65. October 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Piece of writing writing is also a excitement, if you know then you can write or else it is
    complex to write.

  66. 66) Bianca
    October 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Great tutorial! You made it very simple to understand. Thank you very much :)

  67. December 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Hi – I enjoyed your post very much. Over the past year I have been shooting in Manual mode – but I never tried changing the metering. There are times when I think I should – because sometimes my pics come out too bright or dark…so this post was very helpful. I have a Nikon D3100.

    I sometimes have to tale picture of window treatments that I have done for a client – and so I am shooting directly at the window. What would you suggest for those pictures? Maybe not spot metering – because I would really want to capture the entire window (unless I was just focusing in on a small part of the window treatment – like a tassel or the trim). Should I change the ISO (most times I have it on 400…could be my problem).

    Thank you for any help/suggestions!


    PS – it has helped me to look at other interior design images online – to see the properties/setting of the shot. So, I will be looking at those for references as well

  68. 68) NA
    January 1, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Thanks for the very helpful and clear explanations – so useful to me as a beginner photographer! This is the most clearly and thoroughly written photography site I’ve come across so far, thank you so much for your help and what you do! : )

  69. 69) Manoj Immanuel
    January 13, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Loved the article. Simple and clear explanations. A few more sample photographs of good and bad metering would have really added an even better explanation.

  70. 70) Ravi R
    January 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Inadvertently there is a hidden gem in this article.

    “How to photograph the moon – Use spot metering, unless you want other objects in the background”.


  71. 71) Thoufeek
    January 16, 2014 at 2:39 am

    This is one of my favourite website since i decided to buy my first DSLR. After a through reading i bought Nikon D5100. Every day am visiting the website and learning something new. This website is my school for photography . Each and every article is explained in a beautiful way which can be understandable by a small kid.

    Hats off to the effort and i will be reading continuously (first let me cover up the existing ocean of articles :)

    i had shared the link of this website to all the photography groups in FB where am a member of.

    Thanks again…you people are doing a wonderful job……………….

  72. January 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Thank you for this. It is useful information that I was previously ignorant of. I have a book, but I didn’t quite understand what metering meant until I read your tutorial. Thank you, again. :)

  73. Profile photo of Lakri 73) Lakri
    March 10, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    It’s so awesome you point out even practical usage of each metering , thank you ! Helps a lot !

  74. 74) Kush Master
    March 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Good info. Even though I’ve owned a DSLR for 5 years now, never bothered to learn metering. This should help me out a lot in tricky light situation.

  75. 75) Sarah
    April 13, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Help! I was reading the tutorial and thought i would give it a try. I was using a Canon Rebel T2i and aimed it at a bright light, and the exposure changed. Now, every picture I take comes out dark and you cant see anything in it. I need to fix this asap… any suggestions?

  76. 76) Prajyot K
    April 29, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Nice tutorial!! very helpfull.
    Thanks :)

  77. 77) FreeJomeo
    May 9, 2014 at 7:32 am

    This explained the different metering methods really well. I’ve trawled through different blogs and discussion sites for clear explanations but it seems to me that many people are just as interested in sounding knowledgeable as they’re about actually imparting knowledge. Clear and simple here. Thank you.

  78. 78) ali nawaz
    May 19, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    i worak with a news paper i have D700 please tell me witch is the best mettring for quecik foucs. Thanks for the nice article

  79. 79) Yogesh
    May 20, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Hai Nasim
    i am a wedding photographer. i used a nikon d3100 with 18-55 lens for photogrphy .my question is please suggest me which camera is better for wedding photogrphy and which lens used for a night portrait, closeup shots in wedding photogphy . please help me sir.

    • 79.1) Sudar
      June 16, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Hi Yogesh,
      Though i am not a pro photographer but night potrain and better wedding photos, I would suggest prime lens esp nikon 30mm f1.8, the appeature plays a important role in night potrain but dont forget to use tripod / monopod

  80. 80) Khashayar
    May 23, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Great! Like the other posts.

    Thank you so much.

  81. 81) Bharath
    June 26, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    thank you sooooo much…. i am a beginner. it really helped me alot.

  82. 82) Ben Bradley
    July 9, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Just bought my first DSLR and didn’t think it would be this hard to figure out. After some searching I found this website… THANK YOU for your beginner break down! I’ve read most of your articles and have a decent grasp on my camera now.

  83. 83) Ben Bradley
    July 9, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Just bought my first non point and shoot camera and didn’t think it would be this hard to figure out. After some searching I found this website… THANK YOU for your beginner break down! I’ve read most of your articles and have a decent grasp on my camera now.

  84. 84) Dude
    July 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    This was awesome I’ve figured out just about everything except metering until now, this helped me immensely

  85. 85) Manan
    July 27, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Thanks for sharing great tutorials. I really enjoyed your this article and increased my knowledge about metering modes :)

  86. 86) Naveen
    August 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    You are awesome, you explain things in a clear manner and how exactly they are going to affect the photo taken by a dslr.
    I just love reading your article. Just bought a dslr and this pages have been the most important lessons to start with.

  87. 87) valancio
    August 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I have been reading this blog for quite some time , started of with understanding the 3 pillars to photography, every article is explained so well, Now i understand my Camera.
    Thank you for taking the time and explaining the physics of photography, I love reading this blog…..

  88. 88) Liane
    October 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you so very much. As a new photographer that is progressing rapidly, I am thankful for your input. your blog is so helpful. Once again Thanks.

  89. 89) S.DEE
    October 13, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Nasim, I love your tutorials. Very helpful. I am a beginner, purchased Nikon D3200 as recommended by your site for beginners. I also bought AF-S 50 mm f1.8G. I am loving it and after exploring i feel that it was a right choice. I was very confused before buying this camera. Thank you so much. You are sharing knowledge which is very useful.


  90. 90) Amol Deshmukh
    October 16, 2014 at 2:57 am

    Respected Sir,
    i am from India,regular follower of ur articles. i still cant understanding more about metering. i have canon 1100d DSLR camera.
    can u please explain in brief about canon cameras?? please help

  91. 91) Kathy Baxley
    November 10, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I take a lot of photos of appliqued/embroidered shirts that I sew. Typically the shirts are white and they are lying on a vinyl backdrop resembling a wooden floor. The shirts always seem overexposed and the background is underexposed and when I adjust in software, I loose detail of the thread, stitching, and any print on the fabric. Would changing the metering mode help and if so which mode? Thanks

  92. 92) Lisa
    November 20, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I have been photographing mostly outdoors for the last 4 years but have taken some classes in studio lighting as well, but now have a small studio set up with a couple strobe lite strobes from Westcott. My space is approx. 18ft long to work with. At the moment I am using a Nikon D7000.My question is, Other than my 18-105 Nikon VR lens AND THE KIT 18-55, 55-200. The only prime lens I have is a 50mm 1:8. I am considering upgrading to better quality lenses of course within a budget but from my understanding a 50mm is not actually that on my camera. Can you explain what exactly that means as well as give me some advise on lenses that may be better suited for studio work. Most of the time I photograph children, babies and Senior portraits, but on occasions I get a family as well. Any help would be appreciated. Also I had them take the florescent bulbs out, but I do have some florescent light into my studio from the two studios on each side of me and because it is an old warehouse with high ceilings I can not ever get a complete dark room to shoot in. What do you suggest to set my WB at in that situation, because I also use strobe lighting as well?
    Any suggestion greatly appreciated.

    • 92.1) JC
      March 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Your camera has a 1.5% crop factor. Basically it doesn’t see the “full frame” of what a 35mm sensor would. Your 50 is really the equivalent of a 75mm because of how it “crops” out some of the scene. As for your WB question, I would use auto. I also have an expo disc that I use to find the actual WB and set it. If you’re shooting raw, which I highly recommend, then you can tweak it much better in post that if you shoot only in jpeg.

      Lenses for studio work vary and depend on preference. I shot anything from 35 prime to a 70-200. You have to find what works best for you.

  93. May 12, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    This was so helpful! Thank you for writing it. I don’t know if you can help with this, but I have a Nikon f/1.8 50mm lens that I love, but it’s very hard to take picture with it in direct sun. I understand that it’s a portrait lens and therefore, is going to let a lot of light in. I was just wondering if there was a way that I could shoot with it in direct sun without having to change the aperture. I really like my backgrounds to be blurry.

    • 93.1) Paul A
      May 24, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      You have 2 options for that scenario. Very fast shutter speeds or buy a ND filter.

  94. 94) Sunshine Deb
    June 5, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Every once in a while I read this over again, and I “get it” more each time. So much to learn and yet you explain it so well! Thank you for making it easier to understand.

  95. 95) Lady Lee
    June 18, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Thank you so much for this, very helpful.

    Question… In #4. Spot Metering, you wrote : “Because the light is evaluated where I place my focus point, I could get an accurate exposure on the bird even when the bird is in the corner of the frame.” How would you do that? I am guessing…. Set the camera to One-Shot AF and Spot Metering > focus > recompose > take the shot…. Am I in the right direction here, or are you doing it differently?

  96. 96) Paul Lehman
    July 3, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Great explanation in a “language” I understand. Many thanks!

  97. 97) Hilary
    July 28, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Finally, a clear explanation about metering and metering modes! Thank you so much.

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