Metering multiple lights

George wrote:

If I measure a main light at say F8 by itself, then measure a fill light at F16, by it’s self then do I turn both on to measure the final F Number? Thus could be greater than F8 couldn’t it?

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2 thoughts on “Metering multiple lights

  1. StudioLighting.netStudioLighting.net Post author

    George,

    You are absolutely correct. Light is additive, so when more than one light falls on the same surface, that surface gets brighter in the image. It is perfectly acceptable to turn lights off in order to get the ratio you want between them, but it is always important to take the final reading with all of your lights on. In a portrait, this reading is best taken just under the subject’s chin aiming the dome of the meter at the camera.

    Way to apply your knowledge George!

  2. Mike

    Many times I don’t have the luxury of time getting lights set. I will usually have a good idea of a starting power setting for my lights based on the arrangement of strobes and reflectors. In these situations I don’t have time to hop from light to light turning them on and off, so I will position my body between the meter and other lights and loosely cup my hand over the meter dome as sort of a hood in order to get the reading for the single strobe (or light from a reflector which is important to remember to meter too).

    I will do this for each light starting with my key continuing on to the fill, hair, rim and background lights. Tweaking power levels as needed. Once I have the ratios that I want, I will take the final, true-up meter reading of all lights at the subject using the method in the previous post.

    Also, this is important to me since I usually (unless there are other photographers in the area using wireless) wirelessly trigger my key light with a Pocket Wizard and run the others as optical slaves. I have a light meter that can fire the Pocket Wizard wirelessly so I need to leave my key on as I meter in order to trigger the slave that I am metering.

    Regards,
    Mike


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