Yes girl we know, metering modes on your DSLR can seriously be so confusing and so discouraging.

So, we’re here to break it down for you!

Metering is how your DSLR camera determines the correct aperture and shutter speed. If you step back in time, then you would see the best photographers using light meters and then making careful calculations to determine the correct aperture and shutter speed needed to take their photo. Thanks to advances in technology, DSLR cameras now have an automatic system to help you. Learning the various camera metering modes available on your DSLR camera will help you take your photography to a new quality level even if you choose to shoot in different camera modes like manual, aperture priority, shutter priority or program mode.

What are Metering Modes and Where do you Find Them? 

Many DSLR cameras have a metering scale at the bottom of every viewfinder image. You will see a plus sign on one side and a negative sign on the other. If you have too much light in the environment for the options that you have chosen to be properly exposed, then you will see the arrow on the plus side. If you have too little light, then the arrow will be on the negative side. Adjusting your settings including shutter speed and aperture until it reaches the middle will allow you to capture the best photograph. Some photographers choose to enter the menu on their cameras and set the metering modes depending on the type of environment they will be shooting in. Once you conquer these settings, you may want to change them often to achieve different results with your photography in the same setting.

Matrix Metering

Most DSLR cameras use matrix metering as their default mode, so if you are just discovering camera metering modes, then you may already be familiar with this one. The camera divides the image area into smaller areas in this mode, and it takes a sample from each image area to determine the best aperture, shutter speed or both depending on your chosen camera modes. When in doubt, the camera will attempt to determine your focus point. Then, it will give that a little more weight before making final decisions. Some manufacturers also compare your image to thousands in their data bank to determine the proper settings for your photo.

Center-Weighted Metering

Center-weight metering assumes that you have put the most important aspect of your photo in the middle of your image. Then, it measures that area to determine the shutter speed or aperture that leaves that area best exposed. If you are taking a close-up photo or have a large subject like a gorilla at a zoo, then choosing this one of the camera metering modes makes sense. Keep in mind, however, that if you take a photo facing the sun, then your subject will be correctly metered, but you may experience lots of blown highlights surrounding your subject.Often when people are shot using center-weighted metering, they become silhouettes.

Spot Metering

Spot metering allows you to set the focal point and the camera meters only for that selected area. This option works great if you want a small subject to be properly lit, and you do not care about the surrounding scenery. It is often a favorite of people who shoot birds and insects because they want to capture the detail of these small items. Likewise, it is often a favorite of people who want to capture rich detail of a single wildflower as it is starting to sprout in the spring. People photographing the moon often love this mode because the moon often takes only a small portion of the photograph.Keep in mind that spot metering usually covers less than 3.8 percent of the viewfinder. Some companies, however, offer a partial metering option covering about 8 percent of the viewfinder.

DSLR Tips for Application

Now that you understand the basics of what is metering, you are ready to experiment on your own. Different metering modes gives you different effects because the shutter speed and the aperture will be set differently. If you are operating the camera in manual mode, then paying attention to the metering scale will allow you to adjust so that the subject of your photo develops properly. Following these DSLR tips may help:

– Choose matrix metering when you want the complete scene to be correctly focused.

– Choose center-weighted metering when you want the middle of the image to display properly.

– Choose spot metering when you only want a small object properly displayed regardless of its position in the image.

Now that you understand what are metering modes, follow photography tips to take the best images. Learning photography tips like this one can make your hobby even more enjoyable.


Hey girl, want us to break down some more tips for you?

Than make sure to check out our Photography Fundamentals Course!

We’re breaking it DOWN for you! Check it out here.

If you’re looking to grow your netwrok join us & like our Facebook Page!



Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account