Are light meters useless or am I just lazy?
I’ve been a photographer for over five years and not once have I felt the need to use a light meter. Disclaimer: I shoot mostly digital and when shooting film I don’t really shoot with flash, but I’ve always managed without it and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
If you’re shooting with one of the better mirrorless cameras, you can automatically see the exposure settings through the viewfinder or on the screen. Granted, if you’re using one of the best photography light kits, the flash will alter the exposure you see, but if you shoot regularly, you probably know pretty much what settings you need, and you can make adjustments. minor adjustments. For me personally, a light meter is an expense I can live without and I prefer to shoot a few shots to get the correct exposure.
• Read more: 10 pieces of photo equipment every photographer should have
Now, it’s not like I don’t understand their use. If I’ve shot a lot of movies with flash, the last thing I want to do is wait for the photos to be developed only to find they’re all under or overexposed. But if I shoot with my trusty Nikon FM2 or even my Canon AE-1 (which I don’t use enough) it’s usually in natural light and there’s a built-in light meter I can use to judge the right exposure.
For photographers who are almost strictly analog shooters, yes, use a light meter as you please. However, I mainly shoot with a Sony A7 III and have been in photography long enough to know roughly what to set my ISO/shutter speed and aperture to based on my flash output. I also find there is sometimes a fun element to the trial and error of getting the right exposure. You may end up with a look that you never expected, but actually looks better than you ever imagined.
In all walks of life, I’m a bit of a flyaway girl. Not once have I read a manual for anything (other than Ikea furniture because that would be a losing battle) and always managed to figure out what to do. It’s a bit the same thing with light meters. Why buy one when I can go straight to shooting? It really doesn’t take long to adjust the camera settings.
The best light meters aren’t exactly cheap, the popular Sekonic L-308X will set you back close to £200 – for me that’s several new backgrounds, money for a new lens, extra accessories for my photography of product or extra to spend. filming and development costs, which are on the rise.
Maybe if someone gave me one I would use it, but I’m inclined to think not. I love photography but I am a lazy photographer. I love exploring locations and planning complex collaborative shoots, but when I’m on set I like to cut to the chase and not worry about getting everything perfect first. The element of surprise keeps life exciting and that’s what I’m here for.
The best Sony cameras
Best film cameras
Best 35mm Film, Roll Film & Sheet Film
The best Sony lenses