The Phoblographer Answers: What Metering Mode Should You Generally Use?

One of the most common questions that many photographers ask is what metering mode they should be in. It can be confusing to many people and generally, a lot of photographers tend to get their camera in evaluative mode and shoot it in that without batting an eye and adjusting it according to what the camera’s light meter states.

But here’s a little bit of information that can help you out even more.

The general rule here is:

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D7100 golden hour and bar samples (6 of 13)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 4.0

If you are capturing a scene: it’s often best to do evaluative metering.

Capturing refers to street photography, landscape photography, wedding photography, photojournalism and any sort of work where you’re just documenting a scene with little to no interaction on your end. The reasons why is because it will generally give you a good enough metering setting based on what you’re shooting.

In contrast, if you are creating a scene, you’re truly best off using spot metering.

When you create a scene, you’ve got intent. You’re messing with specific parts of a scene to make it all your own. This includes commercial and editorial work, portraiture, some forms of landscape and architecture/Real Estate, etc. It involves you specifically interacting with the scene or subjects. You’re manipulating things.

The reason why you use spot is because you’re typically being very specifically focused and emphasizing an area in the scene. Metering off of that area will put the biggest emphasis on it.