Camera Basics: Which Metering Mode to Use When? (VIDEO)

Many inexperienced photographers make a simple mistake than can compromise the quality of their photos, and that’s thinking of a camera’s metering-mode options as a set-it-and-forget-it feature. If you’re guilty of this common error, the video below is for you.

The reality is that different subjects and situations call for different light metering modes if you want optimum results. For example, an eagle perched atop a tree requires a totally different technique than a landscape scene, a portrait, or an action shot.

This important explainer from one of our favorite nature and wildlife shooters will help you understand how various metering modes work. More importantly he explains which option is preferable for a variety of situations.

Canadian pro Simon d’Entremont specializes in nature and wildlife photography, but the techniques he explains are appropriate for all sorts of outdoor photography. He provides several beautiful images to illustrate how his tips impact exposure, and how to put them to best use for exceptional photographs the next time you’re out in the field.

All DSLRs and mirrorless cameras offer a selection of metering modes—commonly known as Spot, Evaluative, Partial or Center-Weighted. By choosing the right one, and understanding how to use it, you’re well on your ways to nailing exposure ever time.

Be sure to watch this episode until the end, where Simon explains how to use your camera’s meter when shooting in Manual to consistently get perfect exposures without making test shots or even removing your eye from the viewfinder.

This is what we’d call an essential episode for photographers who want to take their work to the next level. And once you get, you’ve got it!

There are many more outdoor photography tips on Simon’s instructional YouTube channel, so take a look and subscribe.

We also encourage you to check our recent tutorial on another important aspect of configuring a camera, explaining several important custom settings for making great landscape photographs.