Useful Photography Tip #133: Meter off of Your Hand When Doing Street Photography

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer GM5 Panasonic hand (1 of 1)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.8

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While many street photographers tend to shoot with their cameras in shutter or aperture priority, lots of street photographers shoot in manual mode. If you’re looking to give this a shot, then we recommend a very handy trick (literally) to make metering a scene and people in the scene even easier.

When you point your camera at someone, it’s bound to try to meter for skin or for the person. In that case, a good place to start is to point the camera and lens at your hand, take a meter reading and adjust the shutter speed, ISO and aperture based on this. Then depending on if your scene is more dominated by shadows or highlights, you fine tune the exposure from there before even putting the camera up to your eye to shoot.

By metering off your hand, you’re exposing for a similar subject in most likely similar lighting and you’re that much more likely to get the exposure correct the first time around. Plus, folks don’t think that you’re posing a threat to them.

Go ahead, try it out the next time you go to shoot street photography.