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How to use a Sekonic Light Meter

Without light, there is no photography. It’s a good idea to get an understanding of how light works and how to expose for it. The best tool for that job is a good old fashioned light meter! By using a handheld light meter, you have the ability to read the light that is falling on your subject. If you’re using the light meter that’s built into your camera, you’re reading the light as it’s reflecting off of your subject and your camera can easily be tricked into giving you an exposure that you’re not looking for. When you’re using a meter in a specific area of your choosing, you’re getting a more accurate reading and you’re in total control of your exposure.

If you’re shooting with a digital camera, you can always check your LCD screen and histogram to see if your exposure is correct… But wouldn’t it be nice to know your exposure is correct right from the start so you can focus on shooting? If you’re shooting film, it’s crucial that you’re exposing properly because you don’t have that safety net of the LCD screen! Using a light meter is a tried and true method that’s been around forever. And for good reason!

Not only is this an effective way to get exposure, but it’s a great way to get familiar with reading light on your own. When you start to read the exposure of light in all different scenarios, you start to understand just how strong the light is from scene to scene. If you’re ever in a pinch and you don’t have a meter with you, you’re more likely to know what your exposure is just based on previous experiences. Always be ready!

Watch this video on how to use a Sekonic Light Meter!

The KEH team would like to thank Matt Day for creating this blog (including images and video). To view more of Matt’s videos, please visit Matt Day’s Youtube channel.

View available Sekonic Light Meter’s on keh.com.

Matt Day

11 Comments
  • Richard Allen

    November 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm Reply

    Excellent presentation. Caused me to remember how versatile the light is and the results that you can achieve.!

  • Michael May

    November 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm Reply

    Loved it. Thanks

  • Jack Melangton

    November 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm Reply

    Tremendous presentation Matt! Thanks

  • John Leonhardt

    November 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm Reply

    excellent, I bought a sekonic 10 years ago and I never have felt comfortable using it. this helps a lot

  • A. Ravett

    November 22, 2016 at 2:07 pm Reply

    Thanks for the tutorial . I have two suggestions:
    1. Use the term “incident” earlier in your video and also include the term “reflective” to distinguish between an incident and reflective reading.
    2. Many people watching the clip do not have that meter. Perhaps you could insert a cut where we see the interface . The camera is too far away.

  • Jill Bochicchio

    November 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm Reply

    Good presentation.
    However, I would’ve liked to have seen the meter, close up, so that I could see which button you were talking about. Otherwise it was a good presentation.
    Thanks

  • Bill Ward

    November 22, 2016 at 4:51 pm Reply

    Thank you so much, Matt.
    I’ve had a light meter for years, which I seldom think about. Your tutorial reminds me of how useful it can be.
    I especially liked the idea of carrying the meter with me to take readings as a learning device. That’s something I can certainly put to use.
    Well done.

  • Rosemary Holusha

    November 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm Reply

    Thank you, it was great to hear about film again. It was very informative.

  • John parola

    November 22, 2016 at 8:57 pm Reply

    Great to see Matt Day doing a video for KEH

  • Chuck Knapp

    November 23, 2016 at 8:59 pm Reply

    I usually used the spot meter in the camera and a Kodak 18% neutral gray card placed in the scene. You’re still reading reflected light by this method, but metering the card factors out the variations in reflection of the elements of the scene, giving the light meter the level it is calibrated for. Old fashioned, but I liked it because I only had to become familiar with one meter. However, this video was very helpful.

  • Frank Hayes

    November 25, 2016 at 9:40 am Reply

    Thank you for the very thorough explanations of using this meter. I have used mine with my cameras meter sometimes out of curiosity as to which gave the better reading. Hands down, the photo taken with the seconic adjustments was better than what the camera said!

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