Do I need a flash meter with a one light setup?

Ryan wrote:


I love this site and the podcasts! I am getting ready to purchase my first studio light kit. I think I am going to go with the AlienBees Beginner Kit. Is it neccessary for me to also be looking into flash meters? Do I need a meter for just one light or should I wait until I have multiple lights?

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One thought on “Do I need a flash meter with a one light setup?

  1. Post author


    You’ve asked a great question. As Ed and I discussed on E021 of LightSource, there are several reasons why it makes sense to own a light meter when you shoot with a single light.

    The most important being that you should do your best to get the right exposure of your portrait and a light meter will help you do that. Without a meter, you will be guessing about proper exposure or using your LCD preview which can be risky. Digital sensors can be very unforgiving of improper exposure.

    Another reason you may want to purchase a light meter is for the calculation of light ratios. Though you have one key light, it is probable that you will soon begin to introduce secondary lights in the form of reflectors or bookends. At that point, it will help to be metering the light that they are adding to the scene.