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How to Manipulate Exposure with Metering Mode for Better Picture Quality

What’s Metering Mode and Why Is It Important?

Metering mode is an important part of your camera. It allows you to control the amount of light and where it falls. These two choices can determine how good your photo is.

Metering Mode Helps You  Optimize Your Pictures

Lighting is an vital component of good photography. You must avoid too much as well as too little light. If you don’t get the lighting right, you will end up with a poor quality picture.

The Way You Distribute Light Affects the Composition

It’s not just the amount of light that matters but also where you are concentrating that light. Areas that you want to highlight should get more length and those that you want to keep in the background should get less of it.  Common sense, right? We are now going to see how you can achieve that.

Metering Mode – A Walkthrough

Notice that we have been using the word metering mode. If there are many modes, you should have the option to choose them. Let’s look at what options are available and how to select one.

What Are the Available Options?

You can select any metering mode from those available on your camera. The metering modes generally available are center-weighted metering mode, spot metering mode, partial metering mode, and multizone metering mode,

Center-Weighted Metering Mode

As the name suggests, in center-weighted metering mode, your camera concentrates on the central part of the object. The camera does this by analyzing the light received in the central part of the viewfinder.

Light in the Central Part Receives All the Attention

You must remember the entire viewfinder is available for analysis, and the camera receives all this information. It’s just that it gives much less importance to the lighting information from the peripheral parts under this metering mode.

When Should You Use This Mode?

Choose this metering mode if the object is right in the middle of the frame. You’ll find it useful for most portrait snaps, such as a sleeping pet.

Spot Metering Mode

In this metering mode, you can choose one or more spots to focus on. How do you choose these spots? You can see them through the lens of the camera. Most cameras allow you to select one or more of these spots to focus upon. Your camera will understand your selection and concentrate on the light on these spots.

When Is this Mode Useful?

Use this mode if you have identified a specific spot to focus on. You can also use this if the lighting in the surrounding areas is strong and attracts attention. In that case, you might like to blur out the surroundings so that your chosen spot is highlighted.

Partial Metering Mode

In partial metering mode, the focus of attention is also the central area.

How is it different from center-weighted metering mode?

In center-weighted metering mode, the camera gets the average exposure based on the analyzed value at the center. In the partial metering mode, the camera works out the lighting based on a larger area that you choose. Instead of averaging this out, it takes this value for exposure in the chosen region.

When Is It Useful?

If there is too much light on the whole object, this metering mode will help you to get good exposure of your chosen area. This may result in overexposure of the surrounding area. With this metering mode, you can control the lighting in your chosen area more precisely.

Multizone Metering Mode

As the name suggests, this considers almost all areas. The camera arrives at the exposure based on the lighting information it receives from the entire frame. When we say the entire frame, we mean all the points within the frame.

With More Points, You Get Greater Precision

The processor in the camera can make a more accurate analysis if more points are present. It also depends, of course, on the capability of the processor.

When Is It Useful?

You will find this metering mode most useful when the lighting on the object is more or less uniform and your focus is not on any particular point within it. You should avoid using this metering mode if there are spots within the frame that have abnormal bright or dark spots compared with the rest of the frame.

Here’s How You Can Choose the Mode That’s Right for You

If you want to highlight any part of the picture, you can use spot metering mode. If the entire object is evenly lit and you want to capture it all, use the multizone metering mode. If you find that the background is too bright, you can use the center-weighted metering mode.


You can see that lighting is a vital consideration if you want to get a good snap. In this article, we have introduced you to the basic principles. You can improve your skills using these principles as you go along and gain more experience.

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