Correct Exposure with and without a Light Meter

Recording yep, there you go Oh Ready good three ways to meet her film and be right every time Special shout-out to our sponsor Richard photolab. They’re here in Southern California. They used to be down in Hollywood processed My film four years bill there that I know very well has developed a machine That will process the film give you exactly what you want thing pull and push and give you just really a beautiful negative and great Scan, so that’s the important part. You need a great scan. So check out richard photo lab comm Hi, this is JP Morgan today on the slanted lens. We’re gonna talk about metering for film I literally have exposed thousands and thousands of rolls of film For a new person who’s just shooting film the biggest and most important Hurley you’ve got to get over is how to get a good exposure most of the cameras that people are buying today, even the Pentek six four five series that internal camera meter is a reflective meter and it gets fooled a lot if you have a white dress in front of a Reflective meter, it’s gonna try to make that white dress 18% gray Which means it’s gonna become very dark if you’ve got someone on a black tux in front of that reflective meter It’s gonna try to make that black tux 18% gray Which means your image is gonna be really bright way too bright so that internal meter that reflective meter is not ideal for film It’s gets fooled too often it’s gonna give you the wrong exposure a lot of the time so you got to just get into a simple method on how you Can get an exposure when you’re shooting film for the purpose of our demonstration today I’m gonna shoot on portrait 400 Fuji 400 and the portrait 800 those really are kind of the three go-to films for C41 or print shooting color print shooting today and so we look at those three on how to get a good exposure on those three different film stocks and here are three methods That I’ve learned over the years that are everything from very simple No piece of equipment required to using a handheld meter, which is probably the best way number one is a sunny sixteen rule This is a tried-and-true method for calculating exposure that really was invented when film was invented It used to be engraved on a plaque on the back of a lot of cameras. That didn’t have meters So you can look at it and figure out what your exposure could be. So here’s how it goes. It’s very simple It’s based on the fact that the Sun is always f-16 if you put your shutter to match your film stock So if you have a 400 film stock set your shutter is close to 400 You can f-16 and that’s going to give you a correct exposure If you’re gonna compensate give it a little more exposure because c41 field wants more exposure It never wants to be underexposed. It wants to be overexposed So here’s the whole sunny 16 scale 16 and the Sun 11 if there’s a little bit of overcast 8 if it’s a little more overcast 5 6 if it’s a heavy overcast heavy overcast is 5 6 in the shade like we are today is f4 That’s what you have to remember from f4 to f-22 and the bright snow or sand. That’s your scale You can pretty much guess from there And remember always give your exposure a little more because your films gonna be happy about that This is not meant to be an exact form of mirroring It’s meant to get you very close and to get a good exposure very quickly So right now I’m gonna have Kristine jump in here with me and I’m gonna take us around and we’re gonna shoot in the Sun in the shade and different scenarios I’m not gonna use the meter and I’m just gonna shoot these Bam Bam Bam Bam Bam and see what we get We’ll put them up and just see how close we can get with a sunny 16 rule. Here we go Let’s look at how I hit my exposure with this sunny 16 rule first off The first one was in that open shade f4. It looks very good I mean, I’m getting good detail in the and the whites I think it looks very nice when I went outside into the direct Sun that negatives a little more dance I like that better The shade could have even used probably I have stopped to a stop more the stuff out in the Sun is the negatives dense you See great detail in the shadows great detail in that white dress that’s being hit by direct Sun That f-16 the same 16 rule worked perfectly in that exposure when I went to medium shade I think this could use another stop of exposure. This was an f8 probably should have gone to 5/6 I should have given a little more exposure, but they’re usable. They’re very very very usable I could correct these and make them work. Just fine like some of that close-up shots of her face just looks very nice It’s pretty in there Then I shot just a couple of frames at the end right just in the deep shade and these look very nice It’s just great detail throughout Really the Sun 16 rule worked fine here. I think it was in that kind of medium shade I miss the exposure probably by a stop. So I think the thing to learn from this is give it more exposure You’re way safer to give it more exposure than not enough. So there you have it the sunny 16 rule now I’m not yet introduced our model today Cristina Marie. She’s fabulous. He’s beautiful and you can connect on her instagram below so now let’s get on to our number two number two may seem kind of crazy to you, but a lot of photographers do this and that is just simply use a digital camera to Get the right exposure So here’s how to set up your digital camera first Set the ISO of your digital camera at one half the box speed of your film So if your film is a four hundred speed film set the ISO in your digital camera at 200 What that does is going to give us a denser negative We’re gonna be overexposed in by one stop Now you simply set the aperture for the depth of field that you want Then find the shutter speed that’s going to give you the correct exposure take a picture of your digital camera as soon as you like What you see on the digital camera transfer your shutter speed and the aperture over to your film camera and shoot away You’ll have a great looking negative. That’s about one stop denser. And that’s what we want number three is use on light meter This is the most tried-and-true and best way to get a good exposure and that is using an external light meter And here’s a more examples. Thank you Christina. I’ve got a tried-and-true old-fashioned light meter And I’ve got the new Illuminati I use both of these meters and I love them both for different reasons These are incident light meters which means they record the light that falls onto them. So they take an incident reading a reflective light meter records the light that bounces off from the subject that’s why cameras have reflective light meters because they can only record the light that bounces off from the subject whereas an incident meter you Want to walk into where your subjects at and take a meter reading after the subject pointed back towards the camera The problem with this one is you have to walk up your subject. Take your reading then come back where’s the loominatee instead of trying to stand on the side and it just Stays there and you can just keep shooting You can move that stand around and just keep working and just giving you a meter reading all the time So depends on how you want to work So let’s talk about how to set up our meter and take our meter reading and our subject Christina’s gonna help us out again and first off I’m gonna aim this at my study straight back towards the camera the bowl be in or out it’s interesting because everyone has this question if the bulb goes in it cuts your exposure by about a Third of a stop to a half a stop and I don’t think there’s any reason to do that. I leave the bulb out I don’t think there’s any reason to tilt this towards the ground because that just cuts up by a third to a half a stop as well if you’re gonna put the bulb in and Aim, this towards the ground. You’re basically making a shadow Meter reading. That’s what you’re doing So if you want to shout a shadow meter reading then put this in the shadow on the scene and take a meter reading You know, don’t try to pretend that. This is what it is. Do it. I aim it straight at the camera I’m gonna cut my ISO by one stop now the Fuji 400. I would probably cut it one more stop so I take my Fuji 400 and I would rate it at 100 and I would take my portrait 400 and rate it at 200. So let’s give them my Fuji two stops Just give my portrait one stop. It’s giving me a nice dense negative for both those film stocks So there you have it our three different ways to meter. We’ve done our film test now We’re gonna get back to the studio and examine that film test but we’re freezing out here. It’s California. It’s October how could it be this cold? We’re gone we’re back to the studio man So here’s the film test for the portrait 400. I started off with a 1:5 to a second at f/4 That was my normal exposure. I took a meter reading it gave me just a normal reading. I’m not giving it plus or minus I’m running exactly off from the meter So let’s look at the film test on the Fuji 400, you know people love the Fuji 400 That’s probably one of the most used films. I like the portrait 404 won reasons I see immediately when I open this up and that is the portrait 400 has a lot more contrast There’s a little heavier blacks, which I like I mean, I’m looking at this and the whites in her dress are just there blown out. I don’t see the wrinkles I don’t see the detail, but that’s the normal exposure Let’s take a quick look now at the other film which I think is incredible That’s the portrait 800 a lot of people use this. We’re going to shoot inside when you’re in tough situations This one has a lot of the same problems that the Fuji experienced The first thing I see is the fact that at normal exposure. I don’t get very good detail in this dress at all When I go to plus one I get better detail So there’s a look at three ways to Meter and to be able to get the exposure every single time and some film tests to be able to see what stocks gonna work Best for you. Remember more explosions better less exposure you’re in trouble. So keep those cameras rolling and keep on clicking. Oh One more time make sure you subscribe to the slanted lens here on YouTube. We have a comment We want to hear what you have to say also connect with us on Instagram Twitter all the platforms Facebook We want you to be a part of our family. So keep those cameras rolling and keep on clicking

33 thoughts on “Correct Exposure with and without a Light Meter

  1. I generally can guess my exposure pretty spot on but I just got one of those tiny Sekonic Twinmates which works great, before that I would use my phone to get a good baseline reading.

  2. I mostly shoot slide films I must work on what I want to expose and because of the narrow exposure slide film has compared to the more tolerant c41 I don't have the luxury you did when taking those photos!
    With my black and white rolls i overexpose half a stop.
    I would love to have your "cold" weather now, Sweden has entered its cold and dark season and we will not see any of your lovely California light until March/April ish time!
    I meter using my dslr on the dumb cameras.

  3. As a film & a digital shooter who learned exposure with the Sunny 16 Rule and EV Scale, I still override internal metering on numerous occasions. A number of my film cameras don't have any metering so if I'm in the field and either of my handheld light meters' batteries die I'm still going to come back with usable negatives. In my opinion, too many photographers today rely on their camera to provide correct exposure without thinking about what's happening & then try to fix it in post-processing. Learn to create the best image in-camera possible and then you'll find post-processing much easier to do in less time. Great comparison video!

  4. So you are basically exposing to the right, to get the most out of the DR and details of the film? Cool, thank you.

  5. 2 Things. I thought you were going to show the model's link to her instagram so we could contact her.

    Secondly, I find it interesting that you didn't include a known value, like a gray card, to help determine the accuracy of your exposures. You could measure the value in post and see how close you got, as well as using the camera zoomed into see only it, to use the camera meter. If you are going to carry a second camera, it is just as much work to carry a gray card or even one of the folding gray cards.

    My go to method of metering is a hand held light/flash meter.

  6. I just picked up 2 flawless camers. An om1 and mat 124g.. waiting on batteries but I think I'll be fine with these methods. Already loaded portra 400 and 800. Thanks for your videos.

  7. You can definitely use a hand-held light meter to take an ambient light reading without having to put the meter next to your subject, pointed toward the camera. Wouldn't you want to meter the ambient light of your scene by holding the meter next to the camera, pointed at your subject? Using the meter next to your subject, is taking an incident light reading that you might do when trying to determine optimal flash power output, not necessarily when metering ambient light of the scene. Metering ambient light of the scene with a hand-held meter you would want to include the reflected light off your subject wouldn't you? Especially in the case of your video where your model had a very bright white dress on.

  8. Once I got back to using film about 10 years ago, I used a Sekonic Twinmate L-208, almost exclusively in reflective (I'm lazy, as will become apparent). I still use that Twinmate (don't let anyone tell you that cheesey little plastic thing isn't durable. I also used a Sekonic L-328 with a spot attachment. The thing is, I'd get impatient and lazy, and shoot away, using sunny 16 without the meter, even though I carried the meter with me. One day I ended up out shooting on the street in Highland Park without a meter (I went there to peruse soon-to-close-for-good Highland Park Camera's remaining inventory, but the reclusive lady wouldn't let me in). I had brought my Super Ikonta to try to find some filters for it, and it was loaded with Provia 100. It was late in the day, and the lighting was challenging, but I shoot up the roll anyway, using sunny 16. The pictures came out okay. That's when I pretty much stopped using any metering for film (knowing no one will ever care about one's photos is very freeing). I am so lazy, I even gave up control of shutter speed and aperture to a great extent, by shooting mostly with 100 year old No. 2 Kodak Brownies. These things only cost US$10 or 15 so I have a number of them (the 1910 Model C is best). I load them up with ASA film speeds ranging from 25, 50, 100, 200 & 3200, and bring out the one that seems to fit the lighting condition best using sunny 16.

  9. I always have shot Portra and Pro 400h at ASA 200 and 100. Your video has been helpful in clairifying why "overexposing" works. Next time I shoot Pro 400h I'll use ASA 100. Also, thanks for the tip about Richard Photo Lab. I think a drive out to Valencia from my home in Ventura County will be more fun than packing up my exposed rolls and mailing them to Parsons, KS.

  10. Key Point @1:38 – This advice is for Color Negative (e.g. C-41) film – specifically the film emulsions mentioned (i.e. Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Portra 800, Fuji Pro 400) ONLY and NOT for Color Positive / Slide (e.g. E-6) film like Ektachrome or Black & White Film.

  11. I prefer kodak Portra (Fuji) has cyan cast When I was a working wedding & portrait photographer kodak portra was my favourite film my metering method incident light for colour and reflected light for black and white

  12. Great video, thank you. I shoot mostly these same 3 films, would really love to see you make a video on night photography metering as well, I guess may be slightly different due to film reciprocity but that is easy to factor in with film data sheets.

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