Light metering is the way the camera measures light and creates a well exposed photo that is not too bright or dark. Here are the most popular metering modes. Your camera may have all of them, some of them or different ones!
Here are the four key modes that are likely to be on your camera. The icon images may vary from camera brand to camera brand, so it is always best to check your camera!
This is similar to Spot focusing but reads the light from about 10% of the frame. It is not available on all camera brands.
This setting reads the light from the entire frame but puts the priority on the centre of the frame. It's best for when your subject is in the centre of the frame.
This setting splits the screen into four areas and reads the light from each of them, before taking an average. Best for when the light is similar across the frame.
The camera reads the light from 2-3% of the frame. Canon reads the light from the centre. Other brands can link it to your spot focus which makes life a lot easier!
The camera has read the light from each quarter of the photo and exposed for the entire photo accordingly. The sky is not too bright, you can clearly see the tree branches but the teddy bear is quite dark.
The camera has read the light from the centre of the frame and exposed that area only. The bear is now brighter. But the top and bottom of the photo is brighter too. There are less details in the tree canopy.
The camera has read the light from the bear's face and it is now well exposed. But it has made the enire photo brighter so there is less detail in the tree canopy and the sides of the photo are a lot brighter than Matrix or Centre weighted
You may be surprised to know that your camera does not understand jet black and pure whites? It thinks you want the black to a deep grey and the white to be a white-ish grey. But there is a way to overcome this using exposure compensation.
You will find exposure compensation on your camera via a button
featuring this symbol or perhaps a dial like this.
To help you camera make whites look really white, you want to select a + number. To get blacks looking inky black, you want to select a - number.