Peter - Hi Melissa, when you're metering, are you covering the bulb with the lumosphere or are you using a true reflective metering and uncovering the lens?
Melissa Jill - Hi Peter -- I do have the lumosphere slid over the bulb when I'm metering. Sorry that wasn't clear!
Leslie - Hmmm.. point the meter at the person. I took Erich McVey's workshop and he meters for the shadow as well. But he told us to point the bulb AWAY from the person and hold down at a 45% angle. Thoughts?
Melissa Jill - Hey Leslie! I'm definitely not going to question Erich McVey -- haha! But it's probably relatively the same outcome as long as the sun does not directly hit the bulb. I like to point it toward the person so I'm getting a reading from the light bouncing off the person and I'm not getting the sun hitting my bulb. But the important thing is to be consistent no matter what you do and then just talk with your lab a few times at the beginning to find out if you are properly exposing or if they are seeing inconsistencies. Hope this helps!
Jessi - Hi Melissa, I have the sekonic 308s as well....and I don't know if I am doing it wrong but I don't have much luck in nailing my exposure (still a beginner on film)...so I wanted to ask you, that if you place the meter below the client's chin, is the bulb facing towards the client and the back of the meter towards the camera? I have been trying to find a sample image online on how people hold the 308s when metering a subject but I have no luck:(...thanks
Melissa Jill - Hi Jessi! Yes, that’s correct — bulb towards the skin so it’s getting an accurate reading of the exposure of the shaded part of the skin. The important thing is that you make sure the sun doesn’t hit the bulb directly or that will skew your reading.
Steve - Hi Melissa Good article. Problem with Colour Neg film is you need someone who knows what they are doing with scanning. Here in the UK there is no Richard Photo Lab or Indie Film Lab. Most labs scan badly. Default settings on scanners with no profiling options for you. I've found it almost impossible to get the image I want from a lab, no matter how I have rated or exposed the film. With incident metering, measuring the light falling on a subject is obviously different from reflective metering or spot metering. Have you noticed any real difference in the quality of your neg or scan if you use both methods? What about added contrast or colour saturation/shift when rating films different, rather than compensating for shadow or highlight by adjusting exposure compensation? I have a more modern meter and have found the bulb in/out issue to be a valid one, as Ive tried bulb in and metered the same as you only negatives have been under, even rating the film box, 200 or 100 with 400h. So im not confident with that technique. Always found spot metering far better and precise. Ive read a lot of photogs actually rate their fuji 400h at 100 when in flat light because the negative needs to boost in contrast. It looks dull and flat otherwise because that film has to be used in sunny light. thanks Steve
Abby - Hi Melissa! I have the Sekonic L-358 and I've always held it under the subjects chin pointed back toward the camera. Is there an advantage pointing towards the subject instead? Is there a setting that I need to change in order to point towards the subject? - incident vs reflective- does this even matter??? Thanks! Abby
Melissa Jill - Hi Abby! Yes, there is. You want to make sure the sun isn't directly hitting the bulb, because that will skew your results. Better to point it toward the skin and meter the light bouncing off of a shadowed region of the subject.
Amy - Hello Melissa, Can you clarify why you rate a 100 for backlit and sunny and then 200 for cloudy or overcast? I thought that if there is not that much light, we would need to let more light in to get proper exposures. I would think that for a sunnier day, 200 is good and then 100 for backlit or cloudy because both situations require more light? Thanks so much for sharing all of this! I just read your DOF article.... super helpful! And then could you also share more about Portra 800 and how you decide between 400 and 640. Thank you...
Melissa Jill - Hi Amy, Remember that while you are rating your meter, you are still metering, so the meter will adjust for the amount of light that you actually have, whether it is sunny or cloudy. I overexpose LESS when it is cloudy because the colors tend to be washed out more when you overexpose in cloudy conditions. Skin tones hold up really well in bright conditions when overexposed. When using Portra 800, I ideally want to rate at 400, but if I’m in lower-light conditions, I will rate at 640 because I just need that extra stop of light. Hope this helps!
Sandra M - Hi Melissa! Such great information here! What do you normally rate your film at in backlit conditions? I've been shooting mostly in overcast at 200 with good results. I had a backlight situation and rated at 200 as well (fuji 400h) and they came back muddy, underexposed.
Melissa Jill - Hi Sandra! I rate fuji 400h at 100 in backlight or sunny situations. I just make sure I meter for the shade under the subject's chin and that the sun isn't hitting the meter bulb. Hope this helps!
Gurinder - Hi Melissa! LOVE your blog. How do you meter for when you are shooting indoors? Say your subject is sidelit from window light and you are shooting Fuji 400H? Ive shot indoors but my shadows were very hazy in my scans.
Melissa Jill - Great question Gurinder! For the window light situation you mentioned, I would put the meter under their chin on the shade side of the face, making sure the window light doesn’t hit the bulb. I don’t have much luck, even near windows, having enough light to shoot Fuji 400 indoors, so I mostly shoot Portra 800 in these situations.
Leon (wedding photographer singapore) - Thanks for sharing, Melissa! Interesting stuff. So it must be quite a pain for those sun-in-sun-out situations. Do you ever have couples that start to look impatient from all that metering interruptions? Or do most of them actually appreciate the slowing down?
Melissa Jill - Hi Leon -- I haven’t had any issues with this yet. I think most people trust me to lead the pace of the shoot and do what needs to be done to get them some great photos!
DAN WARD - This is really good of you to share info like this, a lot of people wouldn't. What I really have gained from this is that I need to get off my bum and start shooting film! ha
Rennai - Thanks for sharing Melissa! So when you say you rate 800 at 400 and will go to 640 in low light, what you're saying is you normally over expose it by a full stop, but in low light when you aren't able to over expose it by that much, you will raise the rating and only over expose it by 1/3 stop instead?
Melissa Jill - That’s correct Rennai! Full stop is optimal.