Metering for the Brightest Object

Compensate for a misled reading

When taking a light meter reading from the highlight area within a scene, keep in mind that meters used thusly can produce the equivalent of medium gray and underexpose the image in areas of the scene that reflect less light.

Here's a rule of thumb: When using the brightest object methods, open up (overexpose) two or three f/stops from the indicated exposure to produce a good average exposure.

Acapulco gold: Metering the brightest object in the scene will often create silhouettes, which was exactly the effect I wanted to achieve with this Acapulco beach scene. The near sunset exposure with Canon EOS 5D was ISO 400 was 1/2000 sec at f/8. ©2006 Joe Farace

Joe Farace is co-author of "Better Digital Available Light Photography" along with Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Barry Staver. It was published by Focal Press and is available in all the best bookstores, including Barnes & Noble and


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