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  1. #11
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I have never worked in a studio, but I know from experience that Lee knows what he's talking about.

    And, incident metering works all the time, regardless of what the lighting is. The key is to meter at the object, pointing the dome to the camera lens opening general direction. The idea is that your meter should see the light that your camera lens is photographing.

    It doesn't matter if the object is very bright, very dark, or if it's all mid-tones; the tones will be rendered correctly if you meter this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee L View Post
    If someone told you, or you read somewhere that incident metering doesn't work for portraits or close-ups, they didn't know what they were talking about.

    Hold the meter at the subject's position (or in lighting identical to that of the subject) with the dome pointed toward the camera position, and you should get an excellent exposure.

    In all the commercial and advertizing studios I worked in (about a dozen), this is the way metering was done for table top, portrait, and group photography. Checks were done on Polaroid before shooting film.

    Lee
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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  2. #12
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Yep, incident will work well for portraits. But....

    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    If you're shooting medium format or larger and using a handheld meter, don't forget to account for bellows factor at portrait distances.
    ...pay attention to this ^^^
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  3. #13
    ghostcount's Avatar
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    Should the dome face the light or the camera? I just saw Dean Collin's video and I believe he stated the incident meter dome should face the light not the camera. I assume if you have the light on the subject's side and you face the dome towards the camera, wouldn't the dome partially meter the shadow side also since it is not illuminated evenly? Wouldn't facing the meter towards the light give a more accurate reading since the whole dome is illuminated evenly?

    Just curious as I do not work in a studio also.
    “I drank what?” - Socrates

  4. #14
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    But which light? The main and the fill both contribute to the exposure, so to determine the overall exposure, I point the dome toward the lens from the subject position. To determine the contrast ratio, however, I would point the meter at the main, then the fill, and compare the readings
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  5. #15
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    The dome is a dome for a reason. It is a 3 dimensional representation of the subject and catches the light falling on, across and around the subject. The dome should point at the camera regardless of the direction of the light source.

    The disk, on the other hand, is a representation of a flat surface, such as a picture on the wall. It receives an even illulmination across the surface.

    In either case the dome or disk should point to the camera.

    I never worked in a studio either.
    Bruce Osgood
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  6. #16

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    You can use either method for most situations. Use the one that works best for what you want to do. I use both types of meters, myself.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

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  7. #17
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostcount View Post
    Should the dome face the light or the camera? I just saw Dean Collin's video and I believe he stated the incident meter dome should face the light not the camera. I assume if you have the light on the subject's side and you face the dome towards the camera, wouldn't the dome partially meter the shadow side also since it is not illuminated evenly? Wouldn't facing the meter towards the light give a more accurate reading since the whole dome is illuminated evenly?

    Just curious as I do not work in a studio also.
    Dome to the camera works well.

    Turning the dome to the light, just measures the light pointed at the subject.

    The dome "mimics" a face and measures the light the camera will be able to see.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #18
    ghostcount's Avatar
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    Hmmm.. I guess as long as you are consistent you can "chuck up" the exposure delta to be insignificant and film latitude can recover it.
    I wonder if you get more difference in exposure density due to film processing.
    “I drank what?” - Socrates

  9. #19
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Reflected readings isn't necessarily better than incident reading. it's all how you like to work. Incident readings aren't useful for the zone system though.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostcount View Post
    Should the dome face the light or the camera? I just saw Dean Collin's video and I believe he stated the incident meter dome should face the light not the camera. I assume if you have the light on the subject's side and you face the dome towards the camera, wouldn't the dome partially meter the shadow side also since it is not illuminated evenly? Wouldn't facing the meter towards the light give a more accurate reading since the whole dome is illuminated evenly?

    Just curious as I do not work in a studio also.
    Collins is most correct, and it is a damned shame that so many will unbudgingly argue otherwise without even thinking about it, because it is what they have always been told and what they have always done.

    It is simple to theorize, and easy to prove; in uneven lighting (i.e. not 1:1), if you point the dome at the camera, you overexpose. Plain and simple. This is because the dome is not measuring the actual light falling on the brightest side of the subject (which is what you should expose for to get a "proper" exposure), but is measuring less light, due to "dilution" with the reading from from the dark side.

    To get the textbook "correct" exposure, you should point the dome at the light that is illuminating the part of the subject that you want to be most properly exposed. This light could be a studio lamp; it could be the sun. It could be surrounding plant life – a field of grass, for instance; it could be a bounce card or a wall. All that matters is that you point the meter toward the thing – or toward the "general area," in many natural lighting situations, which tend to be much larger than studio sources – that is providing the most light to the part of the subject that you want to properly expose. The shape of the dome accounts for all other light that is illuminating that part of the subject, e.g. spillover/flare from other light sources, light skimming in from the sides, etc. This is the beauty of the dome, not that it is shaped like a human head for the purposes of averaging two lights in uneven ratio.

    If it is hard to visualize why this happens in theory, try it out on some transparency film or instant prints to see it in practice. Set up a 1:1 ratio, a 2:1, 4:1 ratio, and so on and so forth. For each different lighting ratio that you set up, make two exposures: 1) dome facing the main light, and 2) dome facing toward the camera.

    In totally even lighting, the 1:1 shot, you'll see that it doesn't matter where you point the dome; you're going to get the same reading.

    In the 2:1 shots, you will see that the shot metered for the brighter light has a correct exposure on the bright side of the subject, and the darker side is where it is expected to be with that lighting ratio. In the shot metered down the middle, you'll see that the brighter side looks about 1/2 stop too bright, and the darker side appears about 1/2 stop lighter than you would expect it to appear in that lighting ratio.

    In the 4:1 shots, you will see that the shot metered for the brighter light has a correct exposure on the bright side of the subject, and the darker side is where it is expected to be with that lighting ratio. In the shot metered down the middle, you'll see that the brighter side looks about 1 stop too bright, and the darker side appears about 1 stop lighter than you would expect it to appear in that lighting ratio.

    In other words, if you meter down the middle in uneven ratio lighting, you will overexpose by half the difference in stops between the two sides. This is easily overlooked with negative film, as the actual lighting ratio is not severely changed; you just have "global" overexposure of the image, which is naturally compensated for when test stripping. But do it with a Fujiroid, a transparency, or digital, and you've got a problem.

    If you want the most accurate representation of the lighting ratio that exists at the subject, you should meter the strongest light that is illuminating the part of the subject for which you want to expose. If you specifically want to average the main and the fill (i.e. deliberately overexpose), which you may want to do in order to prevent futzing about when working with negative film, then you can place the head of the meter on a line between the main and fill lights. In cases in which the two lights are on a plane parallel to the film plane of the camera, then yes, would be pointing the dome at the camera.

    And there is no difference in theory between outdoor and studio light. What differs are the specifics of isolation and control, and the fact that sources outside are generally far more broad. But light is light; it all behaves the same. It is either even or uneven, and you should meter accordingly in any situation. Outside there is always a main source of light (e.g. the sun on a sunny day, the grey haze on an overcast day, or the sky and surrounding objects when shooting someone in open shade); there is also a less intense light coming from other directions (e.g. reflected light from the ground, sky, and/or buildings). In the event that both of these have an equal effect on the subject, you can point the dome at the camera and get a textbook exposure.

    And, of course, you point the dome at the camera if the light is coming from the direction of the camera. That goes without saying.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 03-27-2011 at 10:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

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