06. Measuring light and achieving the correct exposure

How do you best measure the power of the light from your studio lighting to ensure perfect results? Do you apply visual, theoretical, histogram or light meter readings for the best results? Find out more as Karl shows you the advantages and disadvantages of each method.


  1. That is it, I am not going to use a light meter as often. After watching this video I took a photo of a flower in a cup where I decided an f-stop of 2.8 and adjusted the light power and created an awesome photo.
    You explain it in such a way that it was easy to understand.

    1. Thank you Patrick, I’m happy to see that you can understand this way of working.

  2. Love the way you explain…Your understanding of light is phenomenol..:)..I am glad I am here..:)..I made a right choice to improve my understanding..

  3. I mainly use my meter when I need to create repeatable results, like head shots for a team program, but this is a great point of view for creative portraiture.

  4. Now I understand why my pics go too over or under . RIP SEKONIC 478 D

    1. Great stuff Mohan, i’m sure you will find it a better way of working as you get used to it.

  5. Having a calibrated monitor tethered into your camera in a studio is surely a great way to get the shot. A couple of points in favor of using a light meter could be in order I think. If we calibrate our meter to give us the look we want at f/11, then firing a couple of pops and adjusting the power using the remote is very easy and fast. The final verdict using a calibrated monitor is always right.

    1. Hi Chick, yes a light meter will always get you in the ballpark but calibrating it for one subject doesn’t mean it will be correct for the next as shown in the video based on each subjects individual qualities such as diffusion, reflection, colour etc. I’d say put the camera at f11 (if that’s the depth of field you wanted) and set the light to it’s mid power and then take a test and simply decide to go up or down based on what you are seeing.

  6. This is the most enlightening lesson I have seen on light meters and how they can ruin our own creative input. You are a great teacher, Karl!

  7. Really good lesson Karl. It forces me to keep my creative juices flowing, and I love your explanation….it is the lighting that you wanted, not what you were told to do. Really simple but profound way of thinking. Thanks!!

  8. Well two Sekonic light meters now for sale lol, well one, I’ll keep one for outdoors.
    Really found that informative I think as new photographers we may use a light meter as a “Comfort Blanket” believing it will give us all the answers when it is evident it won’t and will sometimes actually try and deceive us.

    Keep them coming Karl, I’m loving being part of this little clique.


  9. Karl,
    You just made me save around 600$ and change my mind to not to buy the light meter I was going to…

  10. Outstanding video. I’ve never used a light meter yet myself and always felt like I was cheating somehow or breaking the rules, so to speak. I totally agree with the complexities of how light interacts with surfaces, especially with multi-light/reflector setups. The artist must have creative control over the image, not the gear. Technology cant replace individual judgement and knowledge. Thats why we learn to turn all auto features off in the camera and shoot manual in the first place.

  11. I thought myself how to use flash without a light meter and then bought a meter and my lighting was all screwed up . The only time i use the meter now is if someone ask me for a picture and there press for time,
    But totally agree with Karl. Your eyes are the best light meter.

  12. Thanks! For me this was definitely one of those “aha!” moments and has made me rethink my own reliance on a light meter. I absolutely get the logic of this and can’t fathom why so many high-level professional trainers are still demonstrating using them. Can you please explain how you work this way when you’re not shooting tethered (experience, or using the LCD display?) – I noticed that the histogram for the first “correctly exposed” image of the dummy showed most of the tones were off to the left, so trying to gauge the exposure through interpretation of the camera’s histogram alone could be difficult, and personally I don’t find the LCD a particularly accurate guide to what the camera is recording.

    1. Hi Alistair, if it looks reasonable on the LCD screen and i’m shooting RAW then I know it’s in the ballpark enough that it will be OK, I keep an eye on the histogram just to be sure nothing is out of range.

  13. Amazing! This is really useful course that teaching people the true things.
    Thanks a lot! And I want to learn more and further from you.

  14. I started watching this chapter as someone who uses a lightmeter in the studio, due to lack of confidence, and by the end of the video I wanted to stand up and applaud. I’m self (YouTube) taught prior to this course and thought I had some understanding of light, it’s incredible how many things I was getting wrong and I’m feeling much more confident about using my lights.

  15. This is the best investment I have ever made. Without a doubt. Thanks for the special offer. This is more addictive than any TV programme.

  16. This is so great! as a beginner i always wonder, what if i want another aperture? or if always going to use the same aperture just because the light meter say so?. A friend told me to buy one because it help to improve the depth of field or to reach a better subject in focus, is this true or it has nothing to do about it?

    Your videos are amazing and makes me understand a lot of things.

    1. Hi Daniel, no please don’t waste you money on a lightmeter. Just keep following this course as you are doing and practise what is being shown and it will all start to come together. Cheers Karl.

  17. Hi Karl

    I have a lot of your DVDs and very nearly didn’t bother signing up.
    This video alone is worth it to me.

    I’ve just bought a couple of Godox AD200’s and soft boxes and I am looking forward to trying some of what you have shown in this video.

    Onwards and upwards

    1. Hi Malcom, thanks for signing up there is a lot more stuff to come and with our live shows, competitions and gear discounts we believe it really does make membership a bargain! Good like with your Godox and softbox tests. Cheers Karl.


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