DSLR Metering Modes Explained

The exposure controls on a DSLR can be complicated to anybody new to photography. ‘Metering modes’ are yet another hurdle to understand before you can become totally confident with your camera. To help you understand what the various metering modes do and when they’re most useful, I’ve written the following explanation over on my photography tutorials website We Are SO Photo. There’s also a video of me talking you through the different options for those who prefer listening to reading.

As always, here’s an excerpt, but please click the banner at the bottom to head over and read the full article. Thank you.


All modern DSLR cameras have a selection of different metering modes. They all work to assist the photographer in obtaining the best exposure for the scene they are photographing. Understanding the difference between them and when to use them is essential to taking better photos.

What is Metering?

Essentially, metering is a method used by the camera to assess the amount of light in a scene. The camera then uses this information to adjust the shutter speed, aperture and/or ISO in order to correctly expose the photo.

The human eye is a very complex and versatile lens. When presented with a scene of varying levels of light, your eye can adjust itself to expose very accurately for all of them. Let’s say, for example, you are standing in front of a friend who has the sun directly behind them. Your eye can simultaneously adjust for the direct sunlight while also correctly exposing their face, even though it is in shadow.

In comparison, a DSLR camera can only adjust exposure for an entire scene as a whole. Therefore, the user needs to tell the camera how to meter the scene. Do you want it to expose for the direct sunlight, or expose for the face, or perhaps you want to expose somewhere in the middle of the two extremes? How about manually selecting a point in the frame to correctly expose for?

To read the full article, please click the banner below to head over to my photography tutorials website. Thank you.

We Are SO Photo