Camera Exposure Modes Explained for Beginners

Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.

Learn exposure metering modes on your camera and what they do

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Exposure & Metering Camera Settings Explained

Understand Exposure and Metering and How They Work On Your Camera Settings

Wondering what the heck is exposure and how do I use it? You’ve come to the right place! There are many aspects to your camera settings like exposure metering modes that will help you as a beginner photographer.

Exposure is one of the many technical aspects of photography that is important for beginners especially to understand. You need to know how it works in order to take really amazing photos!

The team at Art of Visuals teaches these quick video tutorials and this one is all about what exposure is, how to use it correctly and how to use a meter to measure exposure.


Exposure is Important to Understand; Here’s What You Need to Know

What is Exposure and Metering?

Exposure is the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor, giving the camera the visual light data it needs to take the photo.

Metering is your camera’s automatic process of looking at the scene and deciding what the exposure levels should be. Some camera’s have this built in, where it examine’s thee brightness of the scene to adjust the exposure to the correct level. 

There are generally a few different modes you can set for exposure metering except in manual mode. But even in manual mode, you will see the meter at the bottom of the screen alerting you if the scene is under, over or correctly exposed.

Exposure modes on your camera

Exposure Metering Modes: Multi-pattern Metering

This metering mode for exposure divides the scene into multiple regions and then decides the correct exposure. In this mode, if there are many light parts the camera might underexpose, or many dark parts might overexpose.

You can always use the exposure compensation dial on your camera to adjust the exposure after the auto metering mode has set a level. 

Just turn the dial towards the + to make it brighter, or towards the – to make it darker.

Multi weighted metering


Exposure Metering Modes: Center-Weighted

This mode for exposure settings measures the brightness of the entire scene on an average, and emphasizes the center of the screen most.

Center weighted exposure


Exposure Metering Modes: Spot Metering 

This mode measures the spot in the middle of the screen. The exposure is sept and decided upon what the middle spot of the scene looks like, and nothing else is taken into consideration.

This is useful if the subject is backlit or there is super high contrast (difference between light and dark) between the subject and the background.

Spot metering


Exposure Metering Modes: Entire Screen Average

This metering mode measures the average exposure over the ensure screen and sets the camera’s exposure to the appropriate level.

This exposure level will remain stable even if the composition or the position of the subject is different.

Entire screen average exposure metering


Exposure Metering Modes: Highlight Metering

This mode measures the exposure of the brightest parts of the scene and makes sure those aren’t overexposed. It’s a highlight priority mode almost for exposure settings. 

Special highlight metering


Get out with your camera and try out these different Metering Modes!

Try the metering modes out on your camera and see which ones you prefer. 

Looking to keep improving your photography as a beginner? Check out this guide for photography skills!


Which of these Exposure metering modes will you be most likely to try out THIS WEEK?

Comment below!

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