Metering using an incident meter from the camera position
Rather than going to the subject and pointing the sensor toward the camera position, can I just stay where I would take the picture, place the meter in front of me using an outstretched arm, turn the meter so it faces away from the subject (toward the camera position) and take a reading?
With street photography, I don't have the luxury of approaching my subjects and then running back to the place where I want to shoot from.
How do most people who use incident meters remote from the main subject take readings? Can you be specific in where to aim the sensor.
In a backlit subject, if you were also in the same lighting situation, could you just turn with your back faced to the subject, take a reading pointing away from the subject?
If the light conditions are the same: yes, as long as you point the little white sphere towards the lens.
However, if you measure in the shade and your subject is in the sun, you will have to adjust for that.
As an architectural photographer I have the luxury of being able to walk around and take my readings first.
For back lit situations: yes, see my first line.
I use the Luna Pro F. Most of the time I just hold it over my shoulder and point it more or less on a tangent from the subject. It's fast, easy, and accurate.
I once saw a photographer busy doing what photographers do.
Some, though, in different ways than others.
In a very public place, he was setting up to take a picture, making a big show of it.
Big production too, apparently, with no expenses spared. Even an arm lift with platform at his disposal, which he used as a camera platform.
Sun beating down, drowning everything in light.
Then the man did something that demonstrated that he was more show than anything else.
He moved the platform towards his subject. Couldn't get close enough, so he climbed the railing of the basket he was in on the end of the arm, and then started leaning out precariously, stretching out his arm as far as he dared, trying to hold his incident light meter as close to his subject as possible.
He apparently thought that, with the sun being as close to his scene as it is (what? 150,000,000 km?), the extra 6 meters or so would make or break his exposure.
Gave me a good laugh.
So just remember what Peter said, and that alone will make you a better photographer than that strange fellow.
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Of course you CAN... however, if the amount of light falling on the subject is not the same, you will not obtain a useful reading.
Originally Posted by ymc226
A truly accurate way to go would be spot metering, although this is also dependent of the amount of light reflected back from the subject - 'light' subjects require less exposure, and the time involved taking multiple readings might well be phohibitve.
"Reflective" metering would probably be best, simplest, fastest, and with a little practice, acceptably accurate.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Incident light metering when your subject is in different light requires judgement.
You can create your own shade, so when you are in the shade and your subject is not is not a huge, difficult problem. But how deep 'your' created shade is, and how deep the one your subject is in, needs to be judged by eye.
Reflected light metering always takes the same sort of call. Except when metering off something known to be 'middle grey', the reading needs to be adjusted by an amount you will have to estimate.
So not much difference there.
Incident light metering generally is the easiest and most acurate method.
It bears reminding, perhaps, that what it does is meter light. Not a subject. So you do not need the subject (or be near the subject - why, the subject does not even have to be there when you meter) to get a correct reading.
Reflective light metering also meters light, of course. But only after it has bounced off a subject that (unless it is flat) not just has bright and shaded bits, but also has its very own reflective properties.
Works great too. But always depends on your judgement, and takes more practice to get acurate results.
I find with incidental metering and backlighting the white dome of the lightmeter can't see round the subject to take the backlighting into consideration, I use a method called the Duplex System in which you take one reading from the subject position to the camera position in the normal way and note the reading, then take a second reading pointing the dome at the Sun, then average the readings by setting the camera between the two readings .
The reflectance of the ground beneath your feet compared to the reflectance of the ground beneath your subject is what will throw off incident metering, if you don't meter at the subject. If it's grass under your feet and you're taking a photo of a tree in the same field, then what the heck.
And don't hold the meter in front of you, with the bulb sensor towards you and the light behind you, for obvious reasons.
Overcast days can't miss. If your camera has a built-in meter an 18% gray card can work. Personally I prefer a hand held spotmeter.