Pesky Camera Settings: Metering

Winter break was great.  Had the best Thanksgiving and Christmas ever with wonderful family and friends.  Then spent a couple of weeks touring Cuba by bus from Santiago to Havana, with stops in Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Mantanzas.

Well it’s Spring 2017 and it’s back to the books/cameras.  🙂  It appears that every time I put my camera down for a break I have to refresh my memory on the autofocus and metering systems.  So this post is to put an end to how do I change spot to matrix metering, when, where and why?

What the camera’s meter trying to accomplish?  Correct exposure.  Correct exposure is indicated at zero on the camera’s meter equating to 18% gray. To the left is underexposed (dark), to the right is overexposed (light).


What are the metering modes on the Nikon D750?  There are  4 metering modes:


  1. Spot – The camera meters behind the very spot the auto focus point is on.  Thank god the Nikon meter follows the focus point.  I almost always use spot metering because of my portrait work.  Move the focus point with the directional dial.
  2. Matrix – This mode splits the scene up into different zones which are measured individually.  So this is an “intelligent” metering mode. Although it takes readings from all over the frame, it will be biased towards the active focus point.
  3. Center Weighted – This mode takes readings from across the whole frame, but weights it’s average towards the readings at the centre. A centre circle takes precedence of the readings compared to the outer frame.
  4. Highlight – New.  I’ve never used it but, it is the choice when you’re photographing a spot lit bride in her wedding dress, a dancer or singer on stage, or whenever you’re faced with uneven lighting and a background that is much darker than the subject.

How do I change the metering modes on the Nikon D750?

metering button

Push and hold the metering button (pictured above) found on the top right of the camera while turning the main command dial to cycle through the 4 modes.

And what do histograms do again?  

A well exposed shot will show in the histogram as having the peaks in the midtones, with no slopes up to the left or right. This is known as a “normal curve” or “normal distribution”.

Show me your Histograms

I’ve struggled with the concept of histograms and the associated Photoshop tools, Levels and Curves for quite some time.  This and the next couple of posts will demystify these topics beginning with histograms.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a Photoshop guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a lifelong student studying to understand the concepts that will make me a better photographer.  When in doubt Photoshop Help is the place to go.

What is a histogram?   

A histogram is a bar graph that illustrates how pixels in an image are distributed by graphing the number of pixels at each tone and color intensity level.  The histogram graph looks like a mountain peak, or a series of peaks. The more of a particular tone/color, the taller the peak.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 8.12.30 PM
Example of a Histogram.  X-axis represents number of pixels.  Y-axis represents range of tones.

Continue reading “Show me your Histograms”