Studio Photography – How to Use a Light Meter

Studio Photography - How to Use a Light Meter

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In this lighting tutorial, Jeff Rojas discusses how to use a light meter to learn more about light in your studio photography.

Camera Settings:
1/200, f/8.0, ISO 100 and 1/200, f/5.6, ISO 100

Lighting Details:

Main Light – f/8.0
Meter Reading on Background – f/4.0

Subject Height: 73″
Distance of Main Light to Subject’s Eyes – 39″
Light Offset to Right: 29″
Distance of Background to Subject – 22″
Light Height: 73″

Related Products:

Need a Light Meter? –
Camera –
Lens –
Main Light –
Umbrella –
Background –

20 thoughts on “Studio Photography – How to Use a Light Meter”

  1. I just purchased your book "Photographing Men", and just now came across your YouTube channel. Brilliant book, and this is a great channel! One question – why would you adjust aperture, and not the power of the flash or flashes themselves? If I have a model who is balding for instance, and I shoot at ƒ2.8 for a shallower depth of field, the aperture will be the constant and then the flash power becomes the variable, correct? I have already read your book cover to cover and see that in most cases your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are mostly the same for all photos, so it would lend me to believe the variable is flash power, no?

  2. I bought a light meter a couple months ago and I’ll never go back. It’s just easier!
    BTW, do you use a light meter outdoors too?

  3. I know people still use light meters, just for the life of me can't figure out why. Within two shots I can determine my lighting needs, and it takes at least two flashes to determine the right meter setting. the meter just makes no sense.

  4. My broddah, my broddah…as usual your calm, soothing way of explaining makes this seem so attainable! I appreciate you, Jeff! Aloha, t-

  5. I see you use umbrellas a lot for your work. I have a 170cm reflective silver umbrella with no difuser. I'm finding it very difficult work with. When shooting full body the light is very uneven with a bright hotspot in the centre. Is there a way around this issue?

  6. Couple things people need to know. First – shutter speed does not effect motion blur of the subject when using strobes, flash duration does (this is also assuming that ambient light is not playing a factor). Second – adjusting the settings of your camera, espesially the aperture, to get the proper exposure is the absolute last option you'd do. You adjust the power of the lights to match your camera settings, not the other way around. Only if you've hit the limits of the strobes where you can no longer adjust the power, is when you adjust the settings of your camera.

  7. also, sekonic can show you the dynamic range of your sensor, so you will know exactly if your ratio will fit into your sensor
    and then, because you shoot raw, you can recover the shadows and bring down the highlights, and that will mess up everyting and make the lightmeter useless
    that's for film or jpeg, or if you do not want to retouch for some weird reason
    it can get you faster in the ball park, but so does shooting thetered

    the lightmeter needs to be calibrated first to your camera, because different brands have different ideas about what iso 100 should be for example
    otherwise, a random reading like f8 1/250 iso 100 may give a complete wrong exposure if you did not calibrate first

    i will better make a video about that…

  8. what a helpful tutorial!
    what a beautiful video 😀
    thanks for sharing this with us
    i really really enjoyed watching this

  9. Excellent post Jeff. Spot on and if you wanted to get a 3rd more stop of light. Leave the bulb in instead of extended. An old film trick. This is how I meter for my film (your explanation), especially for my B&W. Seriously thanks for sharing. Can never have enough tutorials on how to properly use a light meter.

  10. Jeff Rojas I love your channel. You’re definitely my favorite living photographer. I love a lot of photographers. But I feel like my style is a lot like your’s. I love dramatic lighting, and a minimalistic style! You’re the only YouTube photographer that I consider capable and one of the only on YouTube that is actually highly skilled.

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