How to use a flash meter

If you want to do “studio type” shooting, set your flash power manually. On strobes you have to do it that way; on speedlights you can. Then use a flash meter.

This shot how-to helps you do that in that situation. Read on.

How? Here’s how.

  1. Set your camera to the desired settings. For instance, 100 ISO, 1/125th second, and f/8. These are pretty typical studio settings.
  2. Verify that a shot taken like this without the flash is all black. That means ambient light will play no role. If not, go to 1/200th second.
  3. Now set up your flash or flashes. Set the power to, say, quarter power for a start – or whatever you think might be roughly right. With experience, you will get this just about right.
  4. Holding down the the MODE button, set your meter to flash metering mode (the lightning symbol; not the sun symbol, which is ambient metering). Your meter now reacts only to flash.
  5. Set the meter to 100 ISO and to 1/125th second (if those are your desired values).
  6. Hold the meter, with the white dome extended, where the subject will be.
  7. Reset the meter with the side button – it now reads “0″ for aperture.
  8. Fire the flashes.
  9. Read the value. If the value is higher than f/8 (eg f/11), reduce the flash power or move the flashes away. If the meter reads lower (eg f/4), then increase the power or move the flashes closer.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 until the meter says f/8.

That is how you meter a studio, type shot like the one above. I usually meter each light separately and allow for that (e.g. two lights that both say f/5.6 will give you a total of f/8, if light from both hits the subject.).

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