Photography Cheat Sheet: Sunny 16 Guide Wheel

No budget for a fancy light meter? Today’s handy photography cheat sheet has you covered.

One of the most useful tools for your shoots is an ever-reliable light meter. This is especially the case when shooting with a vintage camera without a built-in light meter. However, if it’s not possible for you to have one at the moment, we think today’s cheat sheet makes a good substitute. If you have a shoot planned, this could be one of the things you can prepare beforehand.

The Sunny 16 Rule has been a lifesaver for many film photographers like Vienna-based Nicole Andermatt, and it now comes in an even more convenient form like the printable guide she shared on her blog. The Sunny 16 Guide Wheel, which also goes by the clever name No Budget DIY Light Meter, was put together by the folks of Swedish photography website Kameravaskan. Simply print and assemble, and you’re ready to go. All you need is a printer, paper, scissors, and a split spin. Easy to craft and hardly costs anything. No batteries required!

Download the printable Sunny 16 Guide Wheel printable PDF file here.

Nifty tools like this take the guesswork out of film photography for beginners. To use this, simply turn the inner wheel to align the slot to one of the weather icons under the ISO (100 to 800) of your choice. The icons are self-explanatory but there’s also a legend on the inner wheel. The slot will reveal which shutter speed you have to shoot with based on your set aperture setting. That’s it!

Nicole’s idea to print the two parts of the wheel in different colors makes the guide even easier to follow. So, you might want to follow her example and do the same if you decide to assemble one yourself.

Alternately, you may also want to check out the Exposure Mat paper light meter.

Looking for more photography tips and tricks like this? Do check out our growing collection of photography cheat sheets as well!


Photos used with permission from Nicole Andermatt