You can’t manage what you don’t control.
This sounds logical doesn’t it? But when it comes down to photography, most of photographers just forget this and lose time making tests. The problem is that they have no way to be 100% sure if their guessing is correct or not. They have no control about their lights; they just have a look on the backscreen of their cam which is not calibrated. Besides, the pictures showed are not the RAW-files but jepg-s. And when you keep in mind that just a few use a colorchecker (see previous posts)… Famous fashion photographers like Joel Grimes say this is their artistic freedom to rely on the cam’s LCD-Display. But I don’t think it is correct. They want perfect exposure. And the only way to get it is the light meter. It gives you the perfect starting point for your creativity.
That being said, a light meter can much more than that.
Last week, Lucia asked me if I can take pictures of her. Or them. She is pregnant and her wish is to catch this moment of her life in a print. Of course I had to accept and so I did. But I had a kind of agenda’s collision on Sunday and we had to make the shots at home. But where? My house is full of furniture. This is when I started to think. I wanted a soft background, a kind of white-milk-ish one. And then I considered my huge window and its white curtain. I have decided to use it as a softbox by setting a strobe outside aiming at the window. As a light modifier I went for a translucent umbrella. The light hits the umbrella, and like an explosion, spreads all over the window. Inside, my white walls work as a huge reflector.
Well, it sounds ok, but how to make sure that the motives of the curtain and the garden won’t be on the picture and turn white?
It’s very simple:
1 set the strobe and places the model.
2 place the light meter close to your model’s face and aim it at the camera
3 Fire and read the metering and set the f-stop in your cam.
Now remember: 2,5 f-stops brighter than the correct exposure provides perfect white. So if the background’s light requires 2,5 f-stops more than the metering of the model, it will be perfectly white.
Above you can see a shot made at 1/500’s so it is way too fast for a good sync so you can see on this picture : up with strobe, down without.
More info about light meter ?
More to come…