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About Metering
Old 12-08-2003, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Mr. Warren commented in another post about metering lights individually. Having no really formal training in photography regarding metering, this is how I've understood the process to be.

However, not having much experience with metering and not truly understanding my results when I have, I have often wondered about the qualities of light. Is it not true that if I flash the beam of one flashlight onto the same spot of the wall as the beam of another flashlight, that the light where they meet is brighter?

So if I have a two light setup, is the spot where the lights overlap going to be brighter than where the light doesn't overlap? Don't I want to meter for the brightest light to prevent blowing out highlights and such?

Thanks.
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Re: About Metering
Old 12-08-2003, 06:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The metering is often done for each light by itself so that one can set the lighting ratio on the subject. The ratio will control the shadow play in thephoto among other things. If the lights both cover the exact same area, and are the same distance and same power, then there would be no need to meter them seperately. But that is almost never the case in traditional lighting setups.
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Well, yes, but ....
Old 12-08-2003, 09:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That's usually correct, but there are several other factors involved, primarily the strength or power of the two lights. For example, if you shine two lights on the same spot, the light intensity will increase, but this is where the variable come in. Two 'identical' lights focused on the same area will not double the light (one f-stop), instead the light will be increased only one and one half times. That ratio is further confused by lights of vsrying strengths, differing reflector shapes, light to subject distances, as well as the use of umbrellas, softboxes and other light modification devices. With 'hot' lights, it's further confused by the relative age and color of the bulbs.

Yes, when more than one light is used the lights should be metered individually, one at a time while the others are turned off. That establishes their individual areas of converage and where shadows fall, but also their relative intensities, thus showing their 'ratios'. Finally a final light reading should be taken with all lights on to establish the working aperture. That should be done with a hand held incident flash meter - never a conventional light meter. No conventional light meter can measure that 1/500thor 1/1000th burst of light. An in-camera meter works a bit differently, usually by measuring the light to subject distance for a camera mounted light. It can't begin to handle multiple lights.

There is absolutely a learning curve to be considered when learning studio lighting. I found all of the books to be terribly confusing and not very helpful. Since you are finding the basics to be confusing (as I did), my best advice would be to find someone in your area to sit down with you and help with the lighting basics. I've done that with several people and they generally found it to be helpful. Second to that, find a good "teaching" workshop in which lighting techniues are both explained and demonstrated. That's what I did and it's been just a matter of gaining experience since then.
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Re: About Metering
Old 12-09-2003, 08:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yup. You need to "feather" the lights, so that the overlap falls within the edge falloff of the two lights, then meter for the same reading in the center and all four corners. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: About Metering
Old 12-09-2003, 11:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Mr Warren???? Geez, Dave -- make me feel like the "old guy" in the group!

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Re: About Metering
Old 12-10-2003, 12:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hehe...sorry, Didn't know if I should address you as Robert, RJ, Bob or what.
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Re: About Metering
Old 12-10-2003, 03:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bob is fine! I also answer to "Hey You" and any number of less complementary general addresses!
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