A light meter is a handy tool to measure brightness, for you to then adjust your camera accordingly.
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What is a light meter?
A light meter is a device comprising different sensors and a display screen that shows the measurements taken. The correct amount of light impacts the final photographic result and the lighting triangle (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) must all be in balance in this regard. The issue is that adjusting everything manually takes up quite a lot of time, so a Sekonic or Gossen light meter can simplify things.
Light meter components
A light meter comprises a display screen surrounded by various sensors that each have a specific function. The globe at the top of the measuring sensor ensures the light is spread evenly across the sensor. This is often rotatable, making it easy to turn towards the light and to measure the light incidence on the subject. Some models, besides the measuring sensor at the top, also have a measuring sensor on the side, making it possible to measure light in a very small area. Some light meters can be attached to a flash via a sync connection, to enable the flash to go off as soon as the measurement has been taken. The key aspect in gaining true insight into the brightness is the display. This displays all the measurement results, which you can then use to adjust your camera settings accordingly.
Now that we have looked at the components of a light meter, we'll examine what a light meter has to offer a photographer. Put simply, a light meter determines the ideal brightness for your footage using sensors, and in doing so indicates the correct settings to use. The ISO value must be given in advance, along with the aperture or the shutter speed. Based on this input, the light meter indicates the setting for the other component. The designated aperture or shutter speed is often a highly accurate reading given by the meter. Naturally, this all changes if multiple flashes are used to take the photo, or if sunlight plays a pivotal role. In this instance, you can play around with the varied functionality the light meter has to offer. A light meter's functionality truly comes into its own when you use multiple flashes in a studio. Firstly, you set everything up and switch the lights on. You then measure the values at the various places of light incidence, which then allows to you to tweak both flash capacity and the camera's settings.