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Chapter Seven. Seeing the Light > Measuring the Light

Measuring the Light

As we saw in Chapter 6, “Digital Photography Foundations,” the proper exposure for a photograph is achieved through a combination of aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO sensitivity of the image sensor. A light meter, either in the camera or an external, handheld model, is used to determine the optimal exposure settings by evaluating how much light is being reflected back from the scene being photographed. Most cameras have built-in light meters that do a good job of calculating an adequate exposure setting, and higher-end cameras offer more sophisticated meters that produce excellent results. For photographers, this feature is definitely a case of “better living through technology”; you can concentrate more on the composition of the scene, while knowing that you can rely on the camera's light meter to do a good job in most lighting situations. Although you may trust your camera's light meter when it comes to exposure decisions, it's still important to know how the light meter evaluates light, so that you can better anticipate how the exposure settings it recommends will affect the image.


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